[CFP] Food and Foodways special issue: Translating Food Production and Consumption

Guest Editors: Saihong Li & Myriam Salama-Carr

Language and translation have an important function in determining the production and reception of texts that circulate in Food Studies and in the global food trade sector. They are also key to the shaping and circulation of food narratives. The objective of this special journal issue to is examine the role of language and translation in shaping perceptions of food, its production, and its consumption in the new millennium. 

Food Studies has inspired researchers to explore the interlinking concepts of food culture, society, and translation, and their combined impact on human behaviour: ‘Language shapes our perception and tasting of food’ (Temmerman 2017, p.162). Language and translation enhance our understanding of the evolving practices adopted by food industries and also increase our socio-environmental awareness as consumers in the era of globalization. This is because food has a fundamental symbolic and cultural value in its consumption and preparation in different religious and cultural contexts, and also because it is a system of communication that can be used to exchange knowledge, to promote social values, and to reaffirm personal and ethnic identities. 

Translation itself is a multi-dimensional phenomenon which can express messages from written texts, pictures, and sound to live multi-media presentations. Surprisingly, the important role played by language, especially by translation, seems to have largely been overlooked by the food industry despite its pivotal function in its development and in global trade (Cavanaugh et al 2014; Karrebæk et al 2018). This is evidenced by recent publications that discuss food mislabelling and inconsistent labelling that recur in different industries around the world, especially the seafood sector, and this raises serious ethical concerns about the identity, value, and safety of sustainable food (Gambarato and Medvedev 2015). 

It has been suggested that researchers have so far ‘tended to neglect, ignore or overlook the conceptual connections and familiarities between food and language in different societies and cultures’ (Chiaro and Rossato 2015, p.241). Only The Translator has published a special issue on food-related translation research (2015), which emphasized the importance of tackling ‘the “grey zone” of food translation’ (Chiaro and Rossato, 2015). Although food-related terminology and translation research is still arguably in its infancy (Cronin 2014), the increasing demands and ethical and environmental challenges of the global food trade indicate that there is an urgent need to address systematically the communication issues affecting food culture and society from Translation Studies perspectives. 

This special edition on food-related translation welcomes contributions from diverse theoretical backgrounds and subject areas. We encourage interdisciplinary approaches that incorporate food-related translation methods and insights on translating food culture and society and its cross-cultural communication. Contributions from all areas of food-related studies in translation are welcome, including but not limited to:

  • Theoretical perspectives concerning the translation of food 
  • Food translation across time and space
  • The role of ethics in food-related translation research 
  • Food translation within cultural discourses and narratives
  • Food translation in post-colonial contexts 
  • The translation of food as cultural appropriation
  • Translating food safety and environment-related terms
  • Food mislabelling, misinterpretation, mistranslation, and food adulteration 
  • Translating food in the context of health and wellbeing
  • Translation of food production and animal welfare
  • Translating food and identity
  • Translating food and gender
  • Translating food and race
  • Translating food and social inequality
  • Translating food activism
  • Language and translation in the politics of food, including food sovereignty
  • Translating the social and cultural dimensions of food technologies / production and consumption

Submission Instructions

Articles should be no more than 9,000 words in length (inclusive of the abstract, tables, references and endnotes) and written in English. Style guidelines are available on the Instructions for Authors section of the journal homepage: https://bit.ly/2J8vLXN. Articles will be evaluated on the following criteria:

– Originality of conception and significance of questions asked;

– Quality of methodology and sources: we expect a description of methodology, original data, and citation of relevant food studies literature as well as disciplinary literature;

– Vigor and cogency of argument: we expect a clear argument stated at the outset and developed throughout the paper;

– Felicity of style and organization: we expect clear and grammatical writing with no use of the passive voice;

– Contributions to the field of foodways research: we expect explicit discussion of the paper’s contribution through engagement with relevant food studies literature.

Abstracts of 300 words should be sent by email to the guest editors at saihong.li@stir.ac.uk and myriam.salama-carr@manchester.ac.uk by 30 January 2021.


30 January 2021: Deadline for submitting 300-word abstracts to the guest editors

28 February 2021: Notification of acceptance or rejection of abstracts

30 August 2021: Submission of completed articles to the guest editors

30 October 2021: Feedback on submissions by the guest editors

30 December 2021:  Submission of revised papers to Food and Foodways for peer review 


Cavanaugh, Jillian R., Kathleen C. Riley, Alexandra Jaffe, Christine Jourdan, Martha Karrebaek, and Amy Paugh (2014) ‘What Words Bring to the Table: The Linguistic Anthropological Toolkit as Applied to the Study of Food’. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 24, 1: 84-97.

Chiaro, Delia and Linda Rossato (2015) ‘Food and translation, translation and food’. The Translator, 21, 3: 237–243.

Cronin, Michael (2014) ‘Cooking the books: Translation, food and migration’. Comparative Critical Studies, 11, 2–3: 337–354.

Gambarato, Renira Rampazo and Medvedev, Sergei Andreevitch (2015) ‘Fish Fight: Transmedia Storytelling Strategies for Food Policy Change’. International Journal of E-Politics (IJEP), Vol 6, 3: 43-59.

Karrebæk, Martha Sif, Kathleen C. Riley, and Jillian R. Cavanaugh. (2018) ‘Food and Language: Production, Consumption, and Circulation of Meaning and Value’. Annual Review of Anthropology 47: 17-32.

Temmerman, Rita (2017) ‘Terms and descriptors for food and drinks’ (‘Termini e descrittori per alimenti e bevande’, transl. Kim Grego). in I. Bajini, M. V. Calvi, G. Garzone and G. Sergio (eds) Parole per mangiare: Discorsi e culture del cibo, Milan: LED Edizioni: 159–192.


Dr Saihong Li is a Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Stirling. Her food culture and translation research investigates an increasingly vital issue in globalized business and diplomacy, namely how food (taste) and society interrelate to each other. Her publications outline how the cultural context of language and the individual cultural background of the users of that language is as important as the actual words used. She has been involved in the steering committee in China for food label translation since 2008. The research findings of one of her articles suggest that a multimodal approach to restaurant menu translation – using intralingual (with pinyin), interlingual (English translation) and intersemiotic translation (images) – should become an accepted norm to be used in restaurants in China, the USA, and in countries that thrive on tourism and international business. Her recent food-related publications include ‘A Corpus-Based Multimodal Approach to the Translation of Restaurant Menus’ and ‘Translating Food Terminology as Cultural and Communicative Processes’. 

Professor Myriam Salama-Carr is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies. She has published extensively in the field of Translation Studies and her research focuses on the history of translation, with a particular focus on the ideological aspects of the translation of science and the transmission and construction of knowledge. She is the author of La Traduction à l’époque abbasside (Didier Erudition 1990) and the editor of Translating and Interpreting Conflict (Rodopi 2007) and of a special issue of Social Semiotics on Translation and Conflict (2007). She has co-edited a special issue of Forum (2009) on Ideology and Cross-Cultural Encounters, and of The Translator (2011) on Translating Science. More recently she has guest-edited a special issue (2019) of the Translation and Interpreting Journal on the history of translation and interpreting, and is co-editor of the 2019 Palgrave Handbook of Languages and Conflict.  She was the Director of the National Network for Translation (www.nationalnetworkfortranslation.ac.uk) from 2007 to 2017, and was Chair of the Training Committee on IATIS (www.iatis.org) from 2011 to 2016.