[CFP] Special Issue on Food and Translation: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Food and Translation: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Editors: Saihong Li, Adrián Fuentes-Luque, & Renée Desjardins

Language and translation have an essential function in the production and reception of texts that circulate in Food Studies and in global food trade. They are also crucial to the shaping and circulation of food narratives. Food Studies has inspired a growing number of researchers to explore the interlinking concepts of food, culture, society, and translation, and their relationship to human behaviour: “Language shapes our perception and tasting of food” (Temmerman 2017, p.162). The study of language and translation can enhance our understanding of the evolving practices adopted by food industries and can also increase our socio-environmental awareness as consumers in the era of globalisation. This is because distinctive symbolic and cultural values characterize the preparation and consumption of different foods in various religious and social contexts, and also because food is a system of communication that can be used to exchange knowledge, to promote social values, and to reaffirm personal and ethnic identities in today’s globalised postmodern world.

The important role played by language, especially by translation, has largely been overlooked by the food industry despite its pivotal function in the development of the industry and in global trade (Cavanaugh et al. 2014; Karrebæk et al. 2018). Several implications of this, such as the frequent mislabelling and inconsistent labelling of food in different food-related industries around the world, especially in the seafood sector, have been analysed in recent publications (Gambarato and Medvedev 2015; Li, 2021). This raises ethical concerns about claims made regarding the content of food that consumers buy; in turn, legitimate questions can also be raised about the safety of the food that is consumedanslation inadequacies also affect the workforce engaged in food production; during the pandemic, migrant and immigrant food workers were deemed ‘essential’ but were sometimes excluded from public health messaging as a consequence of language and translation barriers. The interconnectedness of translation and food clearly illustrates the urgent real-world consequences of a lack of translation, and scholarship has a key role to play in contributing to the advocacy and activism connected to these issues (Desjardins 2021a, 2021b; 2022).

Translation itself is a multi-dimensional process encompassing intersemiotic exchanges from written texts, to pictures, to sound, to multi-media (Cronin 2015; Fuentes-Luque 2017; Desjardins 2021, 2022). However, it has been argued 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). In the context of food and culture, the journal Gastronomica recently announced a cross-disciplinary initiative, launching a call for papers on ‘Translating Foods of the World’. However, within Translation Studies, 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; Desjardins et al. 2015; 2021; Li 2021), the increasing demands and the ethical and environmental challenges of the global food trade indicate that there is a compelling need to address multilingual communication within different foodscapes from perspectives in Translation Studies. It is significant that the most recent edition of the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies (2020) does not have an entry on Food or Nutrition. This is just one of many conspicuous gaps to be filled, and there is a need to revive the scholarly momentum that characterized interdisciplinary research on food and translation in the mid 2010s. Li & Salama-Carr’s (forthcoming) scoping review of current research in Translation Studies and Food Studies from a range of global electronic databases – the Web of Science, Scopus, TSB (Translation Studies Bibliography), and BITRA (Bibliography of Interpreting and Translation) – indicates that less than one per cent (n=287) of academic translation-based articles are food-related. The authors argue that more systematic interdisciplinary forms of research are required to investigate the complex socio-cultural and economic phenomena that continue to emerge at the interstices of Food Studies and Translation Studies.

This special edition on food translation in global contexts welcomes contributions from diverse theoretical and practical perspectives. We also encourage interdisciplinary approaches that incorporate food-related translation methods and insights on translating food culture and society. Contributions from all areas of food-related translation and interpreting studies are welcome, including but not limited to:

  • Ethnographic and anthropological aspects of translating food
  • Translation of food through history
  • Translation and food studies
  • Food journalism and translation
  • Ethical aspects of translating food
  • Food, tourism, and translation
  • Machine translation and food
  • Theoretical and practical perspectives concerning the translation and interpreting of food
  • Food translation in crisis and traumatic situations
  • 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
  • Food translation, migration, and refugees
  • Translating food and social inequality
  • Translating food activism
  • Language and translation in the politics of food, including food sovereignty
  • Translating food and memory
  • Translating food and emotion
  • Translating the social and cultural dimensions of food technologies/production and consumption
  • New food/nutrition technologies (such as food-related apps and nutrition-related apps or nutritional trackers) and translation

Submission Instructions
Abstracts of 300 words should be sent by email to the guest editors at saihong.li@stir.ac.uk, rdesjardins@ustboniface.ca and afuentes@upo.es by 16th January 2023.

Articles should be no more than 7,000 words in length (inclusive of the abstract, tables, references, and endnotes) and written in English. Please select the special issue ‘Food and Translation: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ when submitting your full paper to ScholarOne.


16 January 2022: Deadline for submitting 300-word abstracts to the guest editors

28 February 2023: Notification of acceptance or rejection of abstracts

30 September 2023: Submission of completed articles to the journal Perspectives

30 November 2023: Feedback on submissions by peer reviewers

1 January 2024: Submission of revised papers of accepted papers

2024 (tentative): publication

Perspectives. Studies in Translation Theory and Practice: Food and Translation: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives