[Call for Chapters] The Translator’s Visibility

Edited by Larisa Cercel and Alice Leal

Call for chapters

Since the publication of Lawrence Venuti’s much quoted The translator’s invisibility in 1995 – in which he critically approaches the issue of invisibility as the age-old, unspoken translation norm – “invisibility” became a buzzword in the area, with its negative prefix pointing simultaneously to the unfortunate status of translations and translators in society and to the need to counteract this state of affairs, as Venuti himself suggests: “The con­cept of the translator’s ‘invisibility’ is already a cul­tural critique, a diagnosis that opposes the si­tua­­tion it represents” (1995: 13).

Venuti’s “call to action” yielded, either directly or indirectly, numerous and multifaceted approaches, focussing on the study of, for example, translator style (Baker 2000), the translator’s ideological embedment (Tymoczko 2003), the history of translation (Pym 2009), the translator’s psyche and cognition (Hubscher-Davidson 2009, Halverson 2014), translators’ and interpreters’ agency from a sociographical perspective (Guzmán 2010), the translator’s voice expressed in paratexts (Hagemann / Neu 2012), the biographically-oriented “discovery of translators” (Kelletat / Tashinskiy 2014), translators as protagonists in the translation process through the perspective of hermeneutics (Stolze 2003, Gil 2015), translators’ literary estate in archives from a genetic point of view (Hersant 2020), among many other elements.

Prefiguring the turn towards the translator as a person (Robinson 1991, Berman 1995), these and other studies make out a cartography of so-called Translator Studies (Chestermann 2009, 2021) – a research area which has become the epitome of the question of the translator’s visibility and whose name is a direct reaction to it.

This volume aims to illuminate the epistemological, philosophical and imagological consequences of this turn “from the function to the person” of the translator (Schahadat 2016: 20), who has taken centre stage in contemporary debates – at least in translation studies. The volume seeks, in other words, to revisit Venuti’s 1995 reflection through a contemporary lens which goes beyond empirical research and case studies to critically zoom in on the deeply rooted implications of the phenomenon of the translator’s visibility today.

The editors would welcome chapters centred on, for instance:

● A conceptual / epistemological analysis of the implications of the translator’s visibility within philosophy and translation studies.

● A study of the consequences / implications of the shift in more traditional conceptions of translation, translators and their image and role in society engendered by the recognition of the unavoidable visibility of translators and their concomitant agency.

● A reflection on the new notion(s) of translation that arise from the understanding of the translator as a visible player in the translation process.

● A blueprint of the main features of the translator’s “aesthetic of visibility” (Coldiron 2012: 197).

● A framework for future directions in the study of the translator’s visibility.

● An analysis of the translator’s visibility against the backdrop of the current debate in translation studies and philosophy around the notion of untranslatability (unleashed by the publication of Cassin’s Dictionnaire des intraduisibles).

We welcome original, English-language proposals on these and other subjects evoked by this call, and note that, despite the English-only policy of the probable publisher (Routledge), we intend to incorporate as much multilingualism as possible. Proposals in other languages (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish) are in principle also welcome, but in that case please contact the editors before submitting.

Please send your abstracts by 15 October 2022 to larisa.cercel@uni-leipzig.de and alice.leal@wits.ac.za.

For more details, visit: https://www.aliceleal.com/call-for-papers

Important dates:

15 October 2022: Deadline for submitting abstracts (300 words) and biographical notes (100 words).

15 December 2022: Notification of acceptance.

15 June 2023: Deadline for submitting final chapters of 6,000 to 9,000 words (including all notes and references).

Summer 2024: Estimated publication.

Because we would like the volume to represent a plurality of voices, it will include contributions both from guest authors and from authors who responded to the open call.


Baker, Mona (2000): „Towards a Methodology for Investigating the Style of a Literary Translator” in: Target 12 (2), 241-266.

Berman, Antoine (1995): Pour une critique des traductions: John Donne, Paris: Gallimard.

Chesterman, Andrew (2009): „The Name and Nature of Translator Studies” in: Hermes – Journal of Language and Communication Studies 42, 13-22.

Chesterman, Andrew (2021): „Translator Studies” in: Yves Gambier, Luc van Doorslaer (eds.): Handbook of Translation Studies, volume 5, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 241-245.

Coldiron, A.E.B. (2012): „Visibility now: Historicizing foreign presences in translation” in: Translation Studies 5 (2), 189-200.

Gil, Alberto (2015): „Translatologisch relevante Beziehungen zwischen Hermeneutik und Kreativität am Beispiel der Übertragungskunst von Rainer Maria Rilke” in: Alberto Gil, Robert Kirstein (Hrsg.): Wissenstransfer und Translation, St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag, 143-162.

Guzmán, María Constanza (2010): Gregory Rabassa’s Latin American Literature: A Translator’s Visible Legacy, Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.

Hagemann, Susanne / Neu, Julia (2012): „Zur translatorischen Sichtbarkeit” in: Dieselben: Übersetzungsränder: Vor- und Nachworte, Interviews und andere Texte zum Übersetzen deutschsprachiger Literatur, Berlin: Saxa, 9-36.

Hersant, Patrick (2020): „The Coindreau Archives. A Translator at Work” in: Ariadne Nunes / Joana Moura / Marta Pacheco Pinto (eds.): Genetic Translation Studies: Conflict and Collaboration in Liminal Spaces, Bloomsbury Academic, 163-175.

Hubscher-Davidson, Séverine Emmanuelle (2009): „Personal diversity and diverse personalities in trans­lation: A study of individual differences” in: Perspectives: Studies in translatology 17 (3), 175-192.

Kelletat, Andreas F. / Tashinskiy, Aleksei (2014): „Entdeckung der Übersetzer. Stand und Perspektiven des Ger­mersheimer Übersetzerlexikons” in: Dieselben (Hg.): Übersetzer als Entdecker. Ihr Leben und Werk als Ge­gen­stand translationswissenschaftlicher und literaturgeschichtlicher Forschung, Berlin: Frank & Timme, 7-16.

Pym, Anthony (2009): „Humanizing Translation History” in: Hermes – Journal of Language and Commu­ni­ca­tion Studies 42, 23-48.

Robinson, Douglas (1991): The Translator’s Turn, London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Schahadat, Schamma (2016): „Sichtbare Übersetzer – transkulturelle Biographien. Am Beispiel von Karl Dedecius und Ilma Rakusa” in: Schamma Schahadat, Štĕpán Zbytovský (Hg.): Übersetzungslandschaften. Themen und Akteure der Literaturübersetzung in Ost- und Mitteleuropa, Bielefeld: transcript, 19-40.

Stolze, Radegundis (2003): Hermeneutik und Translation, Tubingen: Narr.

Tymoczko, Maria (2003): „Ideology and the Position of the Translator” in: María Calzada Pérez (ed.): Apropos of Ideology: Translation Studies on Ideology – Ideologies in Translation Studies, Manchester: St. Jerome, 181-201.

Venuti, Lawrence (1995): The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation, London: Routledge.