[CFP] A special issue of Babel: Text and Context reconsidered within the multimodal framework

Guest Editor Contact Details

Olli Philippe Lautenbacher, University of Helsinki, olli-philippe.lautenbacher@helsinki.fi

Yves Gambier, University of Turku, gambier@utu.fi

Title: Text and Context reconsidered within the multimodal framework

Call for Papers

Text has been a challenging item in Translation Studies (TS). Does a literary translator refer to the same concept of text as a conference interpreter, a technical writer, a subtitler, a localiser, a journalist? Context is also an ambiguous concept since we can find as well in TS macro-/micro-context, situation, setting, in situ, environment, landscape, location, zone, reality, nature, etc. Morevoer, the translation of multimodal disembodied texts (combining images, sound and written language) is today a growing field of activity in our digital culture. Translation occurs in the film and videogame industries, in theatre and opera, in live performances and events, and on the internet (websites, Html texts) but it is also found in all kinds of communicative situations involving accessibility-enhancing processes. This has opened up new horizons concerning the very concept of translation and has created new concrete areas of interest and investigation, such as localization, transmodal translation, fansubbing, transadaptation/transcreation, transediting, multilingual text production, etc. Is there a common notion of text and context in all the new translation practices?

There is debate over whether these newer forms of translation are a part of Translation Studies (TS), although in their own way and to different extents they all raise fundamental questions that TS has been concerned with at different stages of its development, about the scope of translation, text, meaning, the relationship between oral and written languages regarding contextualisation, and the impact of technology on our conceptualisation of translation. Nevertheless, there is an urge today to strengthen the links between Multimodal Studies (MS) and TS, although a few publications have indeed recently dealt with the topic (O’Sullivan & Jeffcote, 2013; Dicerto, 2018; Tuominen et al. 2018; Bennett, 2019; Mus & Neelsen, 2021).

TS has traditionally tackled the non-linguistic resources as merely “contextual” (Ramos Pinto & Adami, 2020). One of the major questions is how multimodal resources and their combinations are interpreted when they appear in new surroundings, at other times and/or in different social spaces. In other words, what does recontextualization involve, admitting the definition given by Bezemer and Kress: “Recontextualization is, literally, moving ‘meaning-material’ from one context, with its social organization of participants and its modal ensembles, to another, with its different social organization and modal ensembles” (Bezemer, J. & Kress, 2016: 75)? How does meaning-making take place when a visual or aural element of a document does not carry the same semiotic scope for all its recipients? To what extent do viewers share the understanding of the inherent features of a picture? What does context mean and imply when navigating on websites, social media, and other digital platforms?

Is contextual knowledge about the “start text” (i.e., not only time and space location, origin or cultural references, but also the semiotic roles all of these elements trigger regarding the document’s purpose or its diegetic construction) or can it be solely defined within reception? Recently, the “cancel culture” movement has strongly decontextualised events, banning historical figures, historical moves, in order to recontextualise them in line with a certain ideology. What are the cues in the multimodal material which identify the context? Is contextual knowledge part of the text in the process of comprehension and translating?

The guest editors welcome papers that reflect on social semiotic approaches pertaining to the concepts of text and context within the multimodal framework of translation, with a focus on any multimodal media (film, advertisement, graphic novels, web pages, social media, and audio and/or visual arts). Potential topics include (but are not restricted to) the following:

· How to define the notions of (multimodal) text, co-text and context?

· How to understand on line texts, out of context?

· What cues do we use to apprehend mediated digital news texts?

· Text-genres used in Machine Translation (MT): To what extent does MT take into account context?

· Optimal relevance, semiotic redundancy and semantic convergence in multimodal communication

· What is the semiotic background knowledge in pictures (static or mobile), in sound (natural or artificial)?

· What are the processes involved in re-contextualization?

· What about translation unit and translation strategies in translating multimodal communication?

· What is the relationship between quality and context in multimodal translation?

· Contextualisation and reader-friendliness in multimodal communication

· Accessibility and multimodality

· Corpora and multimodality. What are the constraints and the conditions to set up a corpus of multimodal texts?

· Historical approaches to the dynamics of multimodal communication

· (…)

To propose a paper, please send your abstract (400-500 words, excluding references) by email to both guest editors of the special issue: · Olli Philippe Lautenbacher (olli-philippe.lautenbacher@helsinki.fi) · Yves Gambier (yves.gambier@utu.fi)


Adami, E. & Ramos Pinto, S. (2020). Meaning-(re)making in a world of untranslated signs: towards a research agenda on multimodality, culture, and translation, in M. Boria, Á. Carreres, M. Noriega-Sanchéz & M. Tomalin (eds), Translation and Multimodality – Beyond Words, London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-32442-8.

Bennett, K. (ed.) (2019). Intersemiotic Translation and Multimodality. Translation Matters 1 (2), online journal.

Bezemer, J. & Kress, G. (2016). Multimodality, Learning and Communication – A social semiotic frame. London/New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-70962-0.

Dicerto, S. (2018). Multimodal pragmatics and translation: A new model for source text analysis. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-319-69343-9.

Mus, F. & Neelsen, S. (eds) (2021). Translation and plurisemiotic practices/Traduction et pratiques plurisémiotiques. Journal of Specialized Translation 35, January 2021, online journal.

O’Sullivan, C. & Jeffcote, C. (eds) (2013). Translating Multimodalities. Journal of Specialized Translation 20, July 2013, online journal.

Ramos Pinto, S. & Adami, E. (2020). Traduire dans un monde de signes non traduits : l’incidence de la multimodalité en traductologie. Meta, 65 (1), 9–28. https://doi.org/10.7202/1073634ar

Tuominen, T., Jiménez-Hurtado, C. & Ketola, A. (eds) (2018). Methods for the Study of Multimodality in Translation. Linguistica Antverpiensa 17, online journal.

Production schedule

Deadline for submitting abstracts to the guest-editors (400-500 words, excluding references): 30 November 2021

Deadline for notifying contributors on the outcome of their submissions (all accepted contributors will receive further instructions and information with their notification of acceptance): 31 January 2022

Accepted authors write their articles: February–December 2022

Deadline for submitting full articles (no more than 9,000 words, including footnotes, references and appendices). Detailed style guidelines available at https://benjamins.com/catalog/babel: 30 December 2022

Submitted articles undergo a double-blind peer-review: January–March 2023

Deadline for notifying contributors on the outcome of the double-blind peer review process: 31 March 2023

Authors revise their articles: 31 March – 31 August 2023

Deadline for submitting revised versions of papers: 31 August 2023

Final editing by guest-editors: September–October 2023

Submission of full manuscripts and accompanying documentation to permanent editors:End of October 2023

Publication (Babel 70 (1)): Beginning of 2024

For more details, please visit: https://helsinkifi-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/g/personal/lautenba_ad_helsinki_fi/EdbBdEF_2edNlO3kIAT3fNgBqTaW3FtUHXc8GbGj1KnwiA?rtime=JYeqR8p42Ug