[CFP] Legal translation and interpreting in a technologized world

A special issue of Revista de Llengua i Dret/Journal of Language and Law. Abstracts due: 1 January 2021.

Guest editors: Jeffrey Killman and Christopher D. Mellinger, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The ubiquity of technology and its often-touted benefits are sources of potential friction in legal and regulatory environments where translation and interpreting activities are carried out. Concerns have surrounded its ability to influence, constrain, or alter the implementation and quality of T&I work, thereby resulting in somewhat slower adoption rates in the field. Yet despite technological advances, this trepidation may persist, given the ever-expanding range of technologies at the disposal of legal parties and translators and interpreters who enable plurilingual encounters. Additionally, socioeconomic and policy factors complicate what is currently possible, with increasing attention paid to not only which tools are used, but how, when, and why.

It is now more important than ever to investigate the impact that these technologies have in legal translation and interpreting contexts across a range of variables, including productivity and quality metrics, ergonomic and physiological measures, as well as other indicators related to language access and rights, language policy, technology adoption and use, and more. Here, we broadly consider technologies that not only have been developed specifically to aid translation and interpreting professionals (such as machine translation, translator workbenches, glossary/terminology management tools, remote interpreting platforms) but also tools that have been adapted for use in these specific contexts (such as video conferencing or telephonic technologies, tablet computers, document and data repositories, audio equipment, corpora). The performance of the technologies can and should also be the subject of investigation, to understand how they are used by legal translators and interpreters, how they might be improved, or how their implementation might differ depending on contextual variables of their use. These performance indicators are of particular importance with respect to less-resourced and minority languages, since these languages are often counted among those within the long-tail of localization and have been secondary to development efforts, while simultaneously representing an area of increasing need to facilitate language access. Conversely, more still needs to be known about how the use of technologies in legal contexts affects the communicative environment in which they are employed, including the influence on how and to what extent various parties interact and where and when multilingual communication is possible with certain technologies. Even the means by which technologies are evaluated within legal and regulatory areas require critical reflection and study, not only in relation to majoritarian languages, but also when working with less-resourced languages and their intersection with language policy and planning.

This special issue seeks to bring together a broad range of studies related to the use of technologies in legal translation and interpreting domains. Such a topic has received limited treatment to date and is relevant in a wide variety of legal domains such as legal institutions, law enforcement, corrections, private law practice, immigration, asylum, or quasi-legal settings that occur in any sector that interacts with the law, such as social services or education.

For this special issue of Revista de Llengua i Dret, Journal of Language and Law, we welcome contributions from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, including but not limited to, translation and interpreting studies, applied linguistics, information and communication technologies, legal studies, and technology studies. The issue comprises both theoretical and data-driven empirical work, or a combination thereof. While by no means exhaustive, the list of topics below would be of particular interest:

· Impact of technologies on legal translation/interpreting quality for both majority and minority languages
· Influence of technologies on legal communication in multilingual contexts
· Legal and regulatory frameworks that influence the use of technologies in legal T&I contexts, including language policy and language planning
· Use and development of technologies for dfferent language pairs, including less-resourced languages
· T&I technologies developed specifically for legal contexts
· Big data and legal T&I technologies
· Legal, economic, or ergonomic factors that influence technology adoption and use
· Role of technology in affordance or impediments to language access and rights
· Intersection of technology, language planning and policy, particularly as it relates to the documentation and development of less-resource languages in legal contexts
· Standards development and implementation for technologies in legal environments
· Legal T&I pedagogy and its intersection with technology
· Technologies and transcription/translation practices
· Historical development of technologies in unique legal T&I contexts


CFP issued 6 August 2020
Abstracts (400–500 words) due to guest editors 1 January 2021
Submission of full manuscripts 1 June 2021
Decisions to authors 1 September 2021
Final versions to guest editors 1 May 2022
Final versions to journal 1 July 2022
Publication of issue December 2022

Submission Information

Abstracts for consideration should be sent to both guest editors (jkillman@uncc.edu and cmelling@uncc.edu) by 1 January 2021. Abstracts (400–500 words, exclusive of references) should be accompanied by a tentative title, set of keywords, and a bionote/affiliation for each author, as well as any cited references.

Additional information about full manuscript submissions will be provided at a later date.

Editor Bionotes

Jeffrey Killman is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he teaches a range of topics including legal translation, scientific and technical translation, translation technologies, and translation theory. He has also taught translation practice courses at the American University and the University of Texas at Brownsville. He holds a Ph.D. in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Málaga, Spain and is state-certified as a Spanish court interpreter. Killman’s research centers mostly on legal translation and translation technologies, and his publications have appeared in various edited volumes (e.g., AMTA, Routledge, Palgrave, Comares) and journals such as BabelPerspectives, the Journal of Internationalization and Localization, and Translation and Interpreting Studies. He currently serves as the vice-president of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association (ATISA).

Christopher D. Mellinger is an assistant professor of Spanish Interpreting and Translation Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Mellinger received his Ph.D. in Translation Studies and M.A. in Translation (Spanish) from Kent State University. He is the managing editor of the journal Translation and Interpreting Studies (John Benjamins), co-author of Quantitative Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies (Routledge, 2017), and co-editor of Translating Texts: An Introductory Coursebook on Translation (Routledge, 2020). He has co-edited special issues on community interpreting and technology (TIS, 2018) and on translation process research (Translation & Interpreting, 2015). In addition to his teaching at UNCC, Dr. Mellinger is a state-certified court interpreter (Spanish-English) and has experience teaching translation, interpreting, computer-assisted translation, and localization at the graduate and undergraduate levels at Kent State University, Wake Forest University, and Walsh University.


Crida d’articles/Call for papers/ Convocatoria de artículos: La traducció i la interpretació jurídiques en el món de la tecnologia