[CFP] Special Issue 2024: Human agency in the age of technology

Deadline for full papers: 1 November 2023

Publication date: December 2024

Guest Editors

Nina Reviers, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Gert Vercauteren, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Josélia Neves, Hamad Bin Khalifa Universit, Qatar

With the introduction of machine translation (MT), translation memories (TM), and other CAT tools, concerns arose about the future of the translation profession and its potential disappearance. While these fears did not materialize, these technologies did become essential in translators’ workflows and have significantly impacted the profession. They have given rise to new professional profiles, and there now seems to be a shortage rather than a surplus of qualified translation professionals. The 2022 European Language Industry Survey highlights the industry’s concern about a shortage of suitable resources (ELIS, 2022, p. 40).

In the field of audiovisual translation (AVT) and media accessibility (MA), a similar trend can be observed in the past decade, although there is a noticeable difference in the adoption of language technologies. While text-to-speech and speech-to-text applications are already well-integrated in areas like respeaking and automatic transcription, the uptake of translation technologies such as MT & TM has been slow. Some subtitling tools now include TM features, and media localization software is starting to incorporate MT capabilities. Research on the use of technology in AVT are gradually increasing (e.g. Burchardt, et al., 2016: Bywood, et al., 2017; Georgakopoulou & Bywood, 2014), but there is still a significant unexplored territory, as evidenced by the limited publications on machine translation in audiovisual translation. The European Federation of Audiovisual Translators’ ‘Machine Translation Manifesto’ suggests avenues for further research, including the integration of other technologies in AVT and MA workflows, ethical considerations, and collaboration among different stakeholders. A recent survey among language service professionals identified 30 new roles in the LSP industry due to artificial intelligence, posing questions for future (audiovisual) translator training (Stasimioti, M., 2023).

The increasing integration of humans and machines raises important questions about the impact of technology on translation processes. It also highlights the evolving roles of human translation agents in this technological age. The field of AVT and MA is witnessing a growing interest in the human aspect of translation, emphasizing the unique problem-solving and creative abilities of human agents (Rizzo, 2022). Scholars are studying the creative dimension of AVT and MA practices, exploring new approaches like integrated subtitles, damnu, and accessible filmmaking (Romero Fresco, 2021). Collaborative approaches involving AV translators, media professionals, artists, users, and user organizations are also gaining traction (Di Giovanni, 2018). The increasing focus on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility raises significant societal questions about the impact of AVT and MA. Representation and participation are key concerns in this context, and ethical considerations become even more crucial in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

It is clear that the field of AVT and MA is undergoing profound changes which all have an undeniable impact on all the stakeholders involved. In this special issue, we want to delve deeper into these changes and in the complex relationships between the technologies and the human agents that interact with them. Contributions to the issue can approach the topic through an academic or more professional lens, and deal with questions such as (but not limited to):

How do technological developments redefine the concept of translator agency in audiovisual translation these days?
What roles and positions can audiovisual translators assume in the current AI-driven translation ecosystem?
How can the different agents involved in the translation process interact to put human agency to optimal use in order to maximise the benefits for all stakeholders?
What impact do new technologies have on the AVT and MA workflows and output quality?
How can MT and other translation technologies be integrated in an ethical way in AVT and MA workflows?
How can end-users – both of the technologies and the translated products – be involved in the process?
What new skills will be required from audiovisual translators?
How can academic and other training institutions respond to these new requirements?
How can new technologies and AI developments be used to improve and optimize inclusion and inclusive practices?
What insights can be offered through inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches?
What new and alternative approaches in AVT and MA are emerging?
From what collaborative and participatory approaches can AVT and MA benefit?
How can new forms of creativity be integrated into AVT and MA?
How are AVT and MA embracing current and future practices of diversity and inclusion?
Important dates:

Submission of full papers (7.500 words incl. references): 1 November 2023
Notification of provisional acceptance: 1-28 February 2024
Submission of revised articles: 1 April 2024
Submission of final articles: May 2024
Language revision, APA revision, final proofs: July-November 2024
Submission guidelines

We invite full papers to be submitted by November 1st, 2023, via the journal’s online platform, following the journal’s guidelines which you can consult here: https://www.jatjournal.org/index.php/jat/about/submissions/

Make a new submission to the Special issue 2024: Human agency in the age of technology section.


Please contact the guest editors if you have any questions: