Translation for Social Justice: Concepts, Policies and Practices across Modalities and Contexts
Julie Boéri, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (Qatar)
Ting Guo, University of Liverpool (UK)
LANS-TTS Issue 23, publication year 2024
Linguistica Antverpiensa LANS-TTS is an international, open access journal in translation studies publishing yearly special issues.
The transnational nature of contemporary movements, media and networks in our globalized and interconnected societies has placed translation at the heart of counter-hegemonic discourses and endeavours. In this context, translation has become a powerful prism through which to think and practice social justice. Although largely intellectualized in relation to Western, liberal welfare states, social justice is also a performative and interpersonal prism of social change (Sen, 2009), with roots historically spread across cultures, traditions and territories, and with ramifications in contemporary forms of resistance, including struggles for the rights of humans but also of animals and nature. Thus, while social justice has traditionally been understood as the fair distribution of means and resources and the recognition of people’s rights across status in a given society (Fraser & Honneth, 2003), the increased interconnection of struggles across the world has broadened social justice in ways that heighten the stakes of translation. The leverage and enactment of the multiple rights which social justice now encompasses is contingent upon the organization, the practice and the theorization of translation (Boéri, 2022) in all its modalities (translation, interpreting, bilingual facilitation, fixing, subtitling, dubbing) and across communication contexts of resistance (social movements, media networks, cultural institutions).
Combining a translational focus on social justice and a social justice focus on translation can harness the political and ethical potentials of this area of enquiry and practice, emerging from the liminal space between activism and the service economy (Baker, 2013; Boéri, 2008, 2012; Boéri & Delgado Luchner, 2021; Piróth & Baker, 2020; Pérez-González, 2010, 2016), social justice and social movements (de Sousa Santos, 2005; Doerr, 2018; Fernández, 2021), social justice and public policy (García-Beyaert, 2017), social justice and art (Boéri, 2020), social justice and education (Bahadır, 2011; Boéri & Jerez, 2011; Gill & Guzmán, 2011), and social justice and gender equality ( Baldo et al., 2021; Guo, 2021; Spurlin, 2018). On the one hand, a translational approach to social justice invites scholars to account for the counter-hegemonic potential of cross-language communication, which tends to be overlooked in an all too often monolingual account of multilingual processes and spaces of resistance. On the other hand, a social justice focus on translation can yield powerful insights into the agency of the translation actors as dynamic/innovative agents in the performance of their duties, who may depart from and rethink deontological principles of impartiality and expertise. These two complementary and overlapping standpoints have the potential to renew our understanding of how social actors (including translators and interpreters) think and perform social justice beyond the monolingual and expert paradigms.
Bringing together studies from across contexts, regions and territories of resistance, this special issue aims to advance knowledge of the challenges and the stakes of overcoming language barriers in social justice endeavours. We seek submissions across translation and interpreting studies, with particular interest in interdisciplinary perspectives which can cast a critical light onto the social justice stakes of translation across contexts and modalities. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
- The politics of organization of cross-language communication in past and contemporary social justice endeavours across contexts (movements, media, cultural institutions)
- Framing and leveraging translation/interpreting for social justice: stakes, challenges and levers in and beyond liberal democracies
- Enacting social justice in adversarial and collaborative cross-language encounters: positionality, ethics, constraints and agency
- The translation labor of social justice: wages, volunteering, working conditions, expertise, skills, affect
- Individual and collective trajectories of social justice actors: processes of collective identity formation among activists who translate and activist translators
- Translation/Interpreting pedagogies of social justice: curriculum developments in ad hoc, community and formal training
- Epistemologies of translational counter-hegemonic endeavors: revisiting and renewing concepts, methods, frameworks, models and paradigms for social justice
Selected papers will be submitted for a double-blind peer review as requested by LANS–TS.
Practical information and deadlines
Proposals: Please submit abstracts of approximately 500–1000 words in English, French, Spanish or German, including relevant references (not included in the word count), to both Dr Julie Boéri (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Ting Guo (email@example.com) in the same email.
- Abstract deadline: 1 April 2023
- Acceptance of abstract proposals: 1 June 2023
- Submission of papers: 1 November 2023
- Acceptance of the papers: 1 March 2024
- Submission of final versions of papers: 1 June 2024
- Editorial work (proofreading and APA check): June to November 2024
- Publication: December 2024
For all submissions (abstracts and full papers), authors have to use APA 7th.
APA Style Reference Guide for Journal Articles, Books, and Edited Book Chapters, APA Style 7th Edition
APA Style Common Reference Examples Guide, APA Style 7th Edition
Julie Boéri is Associate Professor in Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University. She holds a PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies from the University of Manchester. She has interpreted and/or coordinated interpreting in many social justice initiatives in Europe and Latin America. Her work focuses on the translational nature of contemporary social movements and civil society, and on the ethics of translation, interpreting and mediation. She co-edited (with Carol Maier, Kent State University, USA) the bilingual English and Spanish book Compromiso Social y Traducción/Interpretación – Translation/Interpreting and Social Activism. She has published her work in varying outlets: The Translator (Taylor & Francis), Translation and Interpreting Studies (John Benjamins), Quaderns, Puentes, The Translator and Interpreter Trainer, Meta: journal des traducteurs, Hermès, Language and Communication, Revues des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication, among others. She has regularly contributed to Routledge Handbooks and Encyclopedia (on citizen media, translation, interpreting, ethics). She is the Vice-President of IATIS (International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies).
Ting Guo is a Senior Lecturer in Translation and Chinese studies at University of Liverpool. She holds a PhD in Translation Studies (Aston University, UK). Her research focuses on the pivotal role of translators in the reproduction and dissemination of knowledge as well as in cultural and social changes. She has coedited two special issues on the topic of queer translation, with Michela Baldo (University of Birmingham) and Jonathan Evans, of Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice (in press 2023) and Translation and Interpreting Studies (published 2021). Ting publishes widely in international journals such as Translation Studies and Literature Compass, and she is the author of Surviving Violent Conflict: Chinese Interpreters in the Second-Sino Japanese War (1931-45) (2016). She is the Associate Editor of Target, the International Journal of Translation Studies and member of the Advisory Board of Translation in Society as well as member of the Advisory Panel of New Voices in Translation Studies.
Bahadır, Ş. (2011). Interpreting enactments: a new path for interpreting pedagogy. In C. Kainz, E. Prunc, & R. Schögler (Eds.), Modelling the field of community interpreting: Questions of methodology in research and training (pp. 177–210). LIT Verlag.
Baker, M. (2013). Translation as an alternative space for political action. Social Movement Studies, 12(1), 23–47. https://doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2012.685624
Baldo, M., Evans, J., & Guo, T. (2021). Introduction: translation and LGBT+/queer activism. Translation and Interpreting Studies, 16(2), 185–195. https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.00051.int
Boéri, J. (2008). A narrative account of the Babels vs. Naumann controversy. The Translator, 14(1), 21–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2008.10799248
Boéri, J. (2020). Diversity. In M. Baker, L. Pérez González, & B. B. Blaagaard (Eds.), Routledge encyclopedia of citizen media (pp. 140–145). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315619811
Boéri, J. (2022). Steering ethics towards social justice: A model for a meta-ethics of interpreting. Translation and Interpreting Studies: https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.20070.boe
Boéri, J., & Jerez, J. D. M. (2011). From training skilled conference interpreters to educating reflective citizens. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 5(1), 27–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2011.10798811
de Sousa Santos, B. (2005). The future of the world social forum: The work of translation. Development, 48(2), 15–22. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.development.1100131
Doerr, N. (2018). Political translation: How social movement democracies survive. Cambridge University Press.
Fraser, N., & Honneth, A. (2003). Redistribution or recognition? A political philosophical exchange. Verso.
García-Beyaert, S. (2017). Public concern, public policy and PSI: The public dimension of language interpreting. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 75, 15–29.
Gill, Rosalind M. & Guzmán, M. C. (2011). Teaching translation for social awareness in Toronto. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer (ITT), 5(1), 93–108. https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2011.10798813
Guo, T. (2021). ‘Love is love’ and ‘Love is equal’: Translation and queer feminism in China. In M. Bracke, J. Bullock, P. Morris, & K. Schulz (Eds.) Translating feminism (pp. 199–226). Palgrave.
Pérez-González, L. (2010). ‘Ad-hocracies’ of translation activism in the blogosphere: A genealogical case study. In M. Baker, M. Olohan, & M. Calzada Pérez (Eds.), Text and context essays on translation and interpreting in honour of Ian Mason (pp. 259–287). St Jerome Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315759739
Pérez-González, L. (2016). The politics of affect in activist amateur subtitling: A biopolitical perspective. In M. Baker & B. Blaagaard (Eds.), Citizen media and public spaces: Diverse expressions of citizenship and dissent (pp. 118–135). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315726632
Piróth, A., & Baker, M. (2020). Volunteerism in translation: Translators without borders and the platform economy. In E. Bielsa & D. Kapsaskis (Eds.), The routledge handbook of translation and globalization (pp. 406–424). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003121848
Sen, A. (2009). The idea of justice. Harvard University Press.
Spurlin, W. (2018). Queering translation: Rethinking gender and sexual politics in the spaces between languages and culture. In B. J. Epstein and R. Gillett (Eds.), Queer in translation (pp. 172–183). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315603216