New publication: Translation Imperatives

African Literature and the Labour of Translators

Author: Ruth Bush (University of Bristol)

Series: Elements in Publishing and Book Culture


This Element explores the politics of literary translation via case studies from the Heinemann African Writers Series and the work of twenty-first-century literary translators in Cameroon. It intervenes in debates concerning multilingualism, race and decolonization, as well as methodological discussion in African literary studies, world literature, comparative literature and translation studies. The task of translating African literary texts has developed according to political and socio-economic contexts. It has contributed to the consecration of a canon of African classics and fuelled polemics around African languages. Yet retranslation remains rare and early translations are frequently criticised. This Element’s primary focus on the labour rather than craft or art of translation emphasises the material basis that underpins who gets to translate and how that embodied labour occurs within the process of book production and reception. The arguments draw on close readings, fresh archival material, interviews, and co-production and observation of literary translation workshops.

This Element is free online from 20th May – 3rd June

DOI:[Opens in a new window]

Online ISBN: 9781108766449

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Print publication: 02 June 2022


Forthcoming Series: Semiotics, Signs of the Times

Series Editor: Dinda L. Gorlée, University of Helsinki, Finland, and University of Bergen, Norway

Semiotics: Signs of the Times is Brill’s new series devoted to the study of semiotics across disciplines. This book series starts from the general idea of semiotic signs, divided into icons, indexes, and symbols. Semiotics gives meaning to signs, sign functions, and sign processes. It is also concerned with sign-users (senders and receivers) and how signs are transmitted from one organism to another. To give meaning happens in everyday experience as well as experimentation. Semiotics seeks to discover how the signs of language, gestures, visual images, music, dance, theater, as well as medical and psychological symptoms, architecture, and political theory embark with a theory of signs to give belief, values, and techniques which serve for theoretical foundations and interdisciplinary method in sciences and humanities.

Semiotics: Signs of the Times invites contributions on the newest trend of cultural research in linguistics, literature, fine arts, philosophy, biology, anthropology, folklore, technology, and other fields. The series is open to a new synthesis of techniques of research, experiences, memories, and myth with new meanings. Proposals for single-authored monographs and edited volumes are equally welcome.

All submissions are subject to a double anonymous peer-review process prior to publication. Authors are equally invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to the publisher at BRILL, Christa Stevens.

Authors will find general proposal guidelines at the Brill Author Gateway. BRILL strongly recommends the use of the MLA Handbook of Style or the Chicago Manual of Style for this series.

ISSN: 2773-1758

Editorial Board

  • Fernando Andacht, University of the Republic, Uruguay
  • Myrdene Anderson, Purdue University, USA
  • Kristian Bankov, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria
  • Kalevi Kull, University of Tartu, Estonia
  • Alexandros Lagopoulos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Susan Petrilli, University of Bari, Italy
  • Horst Ruthrof, University of Murdoch, Western Australia
  • Farouk Y. Seif, Antioch University, USA
  • Hongbing Yu, Ryerson University, Canada, and Nanking University, China
  • Vilmos Voigt, University of Budapest, Hungary

3rd Conference of the Association for Translation Studies in Africa: Cameroon 2023

20-24 June 2023


In today’s globalised world, multiculturalism and multilingualism are prevalent in every society. Hence, there is need for effective and efficient communication between peoples from diverse cultures who speak different languages and resort to different means to express their cultures, beliefs and worldviews. Given the prevailing, one would be tempted to advocate for a universal language, but this would likely lead to a loss of the rich culture and heritage that people express through their respective native languages. Hence, translation, interpretation, and intercultural mediation have become major stakeholders for critical social harmony and peace in the world in general, and in Africa in particular. In fact, a growing recognition that language professions are more than just tools for the effective communication of words has led to the realisation that translation, interpreting, and intercultural mediation are not only vectors for the transmission of knowledge, but also agents for the protection of cultural heritage, as well as essential tools for the development of the world economy.

Therefore, as a means of articulating an advanced awareness of how linguistic and cultural diversity impinges on communication and create social tension, the organisers of the ATSA 2023 conference are calling for papers from researchers and scholars in the relevant language fields, on topics that will broaden the debate around contemporary issues in translation, interpretation and intercultural mediation. With a view to obtaining the above, they seek to get a deeper understanding of topics about issues that may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Ethical issues in translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Community translation/interpretation pedagogy and training;
  • Translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation in conflict situations;
  • The politics of gender in translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Perspectives on feminist discourse in translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Challenges and prospects of translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation in Africa;
  • Transborder languages and intercultural mediation;
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Gender, power and subversion in translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Current theoretical orientations in translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Issues, debates and perspectives on bible translation into African languages;
  • Translating/interpreting from and into African languages;
  • Translator/interpreter training;
  • History and theory of translation/interpretation;
  • Translation/interpretation practice;
  • Translation/interpretation market needs;
  • The sociology of translation/interpretation;
  • Computer-aided translation/interpretation;
  • Audio visual translation;
  • Terminology and translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Discourse analysis and translation/interpretation/intercultural mediation;
  • Professional associations of translators/interpreters in Africa;
  • Translation archives;
  • Translation and transcreation;
  • Translation-across-time-and-space;
  • Creativity and literary translation;
  • Audiovisual translation training and practice in the 2lstcentury;
  • Artificial Intelligence for audiovisual translation/interpretation.

The organisers would be pleased to receive abstracts of studies that may be either conceptual or empirical or a blend of the two for the ATSA 2023 Conference.


The conference shall have a hybrid format, according to attendees’ preferences. In addition to the face-to-face mode, it shall be designed as follows:

  • Virtual hosting on the Zoom platform as well as live streaming on social media platforms. Access details will be provided to virtual participants when the time comes;
  • Participants may also choose to present live or to submit pre-recorded presentations.
  • All presentations will be recorded with the presenters’ approval;
  • Recorded presentations will be made available on an online repository after the conference;
  • Conference proceedings will end in a book publication. Potential contributors should, however, note that the publication will come at a cost for those who wish that their articles feature in the book;
  • All presentations will be done in the mornings and afternoons (Cameroon time) during the week of 20-24 June 2023.

Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts of approximately 300 words, which should include complete info1mation about the author(s), contact details, institution of origin and keywords, should be sent by email to Dr Gandu Sebastien of the ATSA 2023 Scientific Committee at the address

For more details, get in touch with Dr Gandu on WhatsApp or direct calls (+237 6 77513631)

Below are the applicable timelines:

7 November 2022: Submission of abstracts opens

9 January 2023: Submissions close

1 February 2023: Authors are notified about the outcome of the reviews

1 March 2023: Early bird registration opens

31 March 2023: Early bird registration closes

1 April 2023: Regular registration opens

30 April 2023: Regular registration closes

20-24 June: Conference

Call for papers: Special issue of JALA – “Handling and Mishandling African-Language Texts”

Editors: Evan Mwangi and Serena Talento

The Journal of African Literature Association invites essays for a special issue on literature and film in African languages. Building on the premise that the African continent and its islands and diasporas have been multilingual since antiquity and have produced remarkable literatures and films in African languages, this special issue seeks to explore the ways African linguistic diversity has been deployed in cultural production for aesthetic cultivation, cultural perception/projection, public engagement, and other ends. We are also interested in the ethics of studying African-language texts from privileged positions in the academy, especially where the views and political position of the researcher conflict with those of members of the linguistic community on sensitive practices and identities. The question of language has been central to African literatures at least since the debate at the Makerere Conference in 1962. How then have African language literatures been shaped by that debate? How have they fared since then?

Submissions are invited on readings of African-language texts and on topics that include but are not limited to answering the following questions:

  1. What ethical choices do we need to make when translating and analyzing an African-language text into another language (e.g., English)? What opportunities/challenges might the process of translation from African languages present for interpretation of those texts?
  2. What challenges do analyzing special religious texts pose? For example, what precautions should or should not be taken in translating sacred texts, such as, the Ifa literary corpus, which highly educated priests of Yoruba traditional religion have argued that only priests of Ifa should be entitled to translate and analyze?
  3. What are the best practices in responding to an African text in a language one does not speak?
  4. How can we use theories of African languages by African thinkers (e.g., Boubacar Boris Diop, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Penina Muhando, Kwesi Wiredu, Gerda Mansour, Neville Alexander, Ngugi wa Thiong’o etc.) to diversify our engagements with African and world literatures?
  5. How has the use of African languages changed over time—from antiquity to the present—in the context of nation-building, migrations, and democratic representation?
  6. How do African languages help or hinder the expression of minority identities (e.g., queerness)?
  7. In what ways do texts in African languages respond to emerging themes in world literatures (e.g., environmental crisis, technological and digital rights, non-binary sexualities, migrant identities, reading debates, etc.)?
  8. How do texts in African languages engage with universalism and cosmopolitan ethics?
  9. What is the role of endangered languages in African cultural production in the wake of colonialism and globalization?
  10. How have emergent African languages (e.g., creoles and pidgins) changed literary output and perspectives?
  11. How are non-African texts translated in African languages and how is a text translated from one African language to another?
  12. What role have literary prizes played in the development of African language literatures?

Please send your abstracts electronically to the special issue editor Evan Mwangi ( and Serena Talento (, using the subject heading “JALA African Languages Issue.” Papers for accepted abstracts will be due by September 30, 2022. Essays should be between 7,000 and 8,000 words; should be in Word documents, using MLA format for layout and citation. For purposes of blind reviewing, complete papers are to be submitted in two forms: (i) a full version with author’s details, and (ii) a completely anonymized version.

Address questions about the special issue to Evan Mwangi ( and Serena Talento (

Upcoming webinar series under the auspices of ATSA: “Research methodology in translation and interpreting studies”

With this seminar series, planned for 2022-23, ATSA wishes to provide training in various aspects of research methodology for lecturers and students.

As the field of translation studies develops in Africa, requirements for training are growing. In particular, there seems to be a movement from an interest in mere technical training to a fully-fledged scholarly education in translation studies on the continent. Against this background, more universities are starting to offer MA and PhD courses in translation and interpreting studies. MA and PhD studies obviously involves a research component, and this webinar aims at training lecturers who might need to supervise for the first time or students who are exposed to research for the first time.

The following is envisaged:

  1. A fully online webinar series of eight sessions of 90 minutes each for 2022/2023.
  2. These sessions will be facilitated by international experts on research methodology in translation and interpreting studies.
  3. The programme would include topics like qualitative research, quantitative research, research design, research methods, and writing a dissertation.
  4. Applicants are required to submit a draft research proposal and will be selected based on this proposal.
  5. In order to ensure hands-on, practical training, the group will be limited to manageable proportions.
  6. ATSA will provide a certificate of attendance, stipulating the hours and topics attended.
  7. ATSA has secured funding for honorariums for the seminar leaders and will therefore ask for only a small registration fee.
  8. Prof J Marais and Dr M van Rooyen will coordinate the webinar.
    HOW TO APPLY: Interested scholars can send their draft proposals to by 1 June 2022.
    REGISTRATION: Registration information will be communicated once the participants have been selected.


TIME: 13h00 to 14h30, Central African Time

WEBINAR 1: 29 July 2022
Seminar leader: Prof Kobus Marais
Seminar leaders: Dr David Orrego Carmona
WEBINAR 3: 30 September 2022
Seminar leader: Dr Gabriela Saldanha
Seminar leader: Peter Flynn
Seminar leader: Prof Claudia Angelelli
Seminar leaders: Prof Haidee Kotze
Seminar leader: Dr Marlie van Rooyen
WEBINAR 8: 31 MARCH 2023
Seminar leader: Prof Christopher Mellinger

Invitation to participate in a survey on translation research & archives

The purpose of the survey is to gather information on how scholars find or identify relevant archives and archival materials and what kind of metadata they think would best facilitate finding and identifying these.

Here, translation is understood in a wide sense, including also interpreting, for example. The survey is aimed at scholars who have done (or plan on doing) research relating to translation using archival material.

The survey is carried out in the context of the research project “Traces of translation in the archives,” conducted at the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) and funded by the Kone Foundation.

All answers to the survey are anonymous.

It takes about 10–20 minutes to complete the survey.

You can find the survey here:

“Social Conversations, Online/Digital Visibility, and Translation Studies”

CTIS Research Seminar, presented by Dr Renée Desjardins, Université de Saint-Boniface

Thursday 28 April 2022 at 2pm BST

Participation on campus: Room 3.62, Simon Building (no. 59 on this campus map). No registration is needed.

Participation online: Registration in advance is required at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event via Zoom.

Social Conversations, Online/Digital Visibility, and Translation Studies

As artificial intelligence and automation gain ground, recent research in Translation Studies examining technological shifts tends to focus on machine translation (MT) (e.g. MT literacy; developing MT; MT in pedagogical/training contexts). This makes sense to the degree that machine translation, particularly neural machine translation, has changed many aspects of the translation profession and has sparked a number of questions around translation valuation and ethics. In this talk, I shift the tech focus to another arena: that of social media. Even though online social platforms have existed for over twenty years, some still view online social content as subordinate to literary or legacy news texts. Yet, if we consider that TikTok influencers are now being briefed by high-level government officials in times of crisis (to name only this example), it is increasingly difficult to argue against the staying power and social relevance of these platforms. When we think of content creation, content creator, and influencer economies, rarely do we think of translation. However, translation is ubiquitous on online social platforms and it fuels the creator economy in perhaps unexpected ways. Using examples from Netflix, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, I indicate how social conversations can be insightful for the study of content reception and translation quality. Further, I argue that these social conversations contribute to the visibility or even ubiquity of translation and how Translation Studies, as a field of study, can leverage this.

Renée Desjardins is an associate professor at the Université de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg (Treaty 1), Canada. She is the author of Translation and Social Media: In Theory, in Training, and in Professional Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and the co-editor of When Translation Goes Digital: Case Studies and Critical Reflections (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). She has been researching and writing about translation and social media for over a decade and has published on the subject in a number of other outlets, including The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Pragmatics, and in a special issue of Translation Studies on “Social Translation”. Her most recent work examines the Manitoba government’s online and digital translation strategy (or lack thereof) in the handling of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Call for Papers AIM2022: Artificial Intelligence and Minority

Computational Approaches to Multilingual Historical Research

Submission deadline: 29 April 2022 (11:59 PM CET)
Submission link:

The University of Groningen’s Department of History of Philosophy and Center for Digital Humanities are inviting submissions to the “AIM2022: AI and Minority” international conference to be held from 28 to 30 September 2022.

The event seeks to bring together scholars at various stages of their careers who work in the history of philosophy or cognate areas in cultural history and the humanities broadly defined, and who use AI-inflected approaches to bring to life neglected figures, unrepresented language groups and racial profiles, as well as any historical aspect(s) that go(es) beyond the canon of their disciplines. While AI is often related to gender and racial bias, we aim to focus on machine intelligence as a potentially welcome companion to traditional forms of humanistic inquiry and on minorness as paramount for the study of the human past. The conference thus seeks to encourage collaborative, inter-, trans,- and post-disciplinary forms of scholarship across different aspects of minority in AI-enabled cultural history research.

Furthermore, we recognize that multilingualism is inextricably related to the human past and present and that the cultural, social, or political investigation of human history often needs to engage with multilingual corpora in order to be truly cognizant of diversity. In digital humanities, it was only relatively recently that language started to be acknowledged as critical for the high dimensional nature of historic data (Spence et al. 2021 Purschke and Schmalz 2022 forth., Purschke 2020). While the so-called ‘major(ity)’ languages have been prevalent in most digital book and manuscript repositories and in digital scholarly editions, computational historic research has tended to focus on one or the other of these languages due to available and readily-accessible language-agnostic technology. However, recent advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP), such as multilingual word vectors (Sangiacomo et al. 2021; Bhattacharya et al. 2019; Ulčar et al. 2021) and (machine) translation (Tanasescu et al 2021; Edman et al. 2021), make possible the investigation of trans- and multilingual corpora and open up new avenues in overcoming the monolingual bias.

Applicants are encouraged to explicitly address the minority stakes of their interdisciplinary research in the following fields: history of philosophy, history and philosophy of science, ethics, social and political philosophy, and cultural studies. Although the conference specifically encourages contributions to multilingual, AI-enabled historical research, the program is also open to monolingual minority-dedicated cross-disciplinary projects.

The panels will be organized according to the following broad and more specific topics, although innovative contributions beyond these are also encouraged:

  • geo-cultural diversity in intellectual history
  • ethics of multilingual historical research
  • (translingual) text mining and network analysis in computational history
  • language-aware tools and approaches for history research
  • quantitative approaches to marginalized groups in philosophy
  • peripheral approaches to philosophy
  • translations, multiple editions, and linguistic diversity in the humanities
  • multilingualism in the philosophy of medicine and biology
  • socially relevant philosophy in science and engineering

Instructions for applicants:
Applicants should submit a title, a 300-word abstract, 5 keywords, and a short bio by 29 April 2022 via EasyChair. They will be notified of the outcome of their submission by 15 May.

Submission link:

Keynote speakers:
Dr Christoph Purschke (University of Luxemburg) Dr Diana Roig Sanz (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Call for Abstracts: 15th World Congress of Semiotics Panel

Panel: Emotions, Translation and Encountering the Other

This panel invites participators to contribute with their reflections on the signs – verbal and nonverbal – of signifying, communicating and translating emotions in society today. In a global semiotic framework, we propose an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to the question of the translation/translatability of the languages of the emotions, whether a question of intralingual, interlingual or intersemiotic translation. An ever more multicultural globalised world amplifies our understanding of the range, complexity and experience of human emotions, thus of their role in shaping knowledge, belief and values and in defining the politics of human behaviour and social practice. Understanding emotions of diverse peoples and communities represents an integral, increasingly important part of cultural literacy in our globalised world.

Contributions are welcome from different fields and disciplines in dialogue – from the sign sciences to the life sciences –, as thematized by general semiotics on a theoretical level and developed by global semiotics on the practical. Contributions are welcome relating to such areas, among others, as Literary Studies and the Arts, The Task of Translators and Interpreters, Semiotics, Linguistics and Philosophy of Language, Gender Studies, Multiculturalism & Migration, Audio-Visual Design and Digital Culture, Media and Technology, Philosophy and History, Translation Training/Education, Legal studies and Ethics, Anthropology, sociology, psychology, Biosemiotics and the Health Sciences, Cognitive Sciences and Neurosemiotics.

Keywords: translation, emotion, semiotic, human behaviour, social practice

Panel Convenor:

Susan Petrilli, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy

Meng Ji, The University of Sydney, New South Wales

Sophia Melanson-Ricciardone, York University, Toronto, Canada

Margherita Zanoletti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy

Abstract Deadline: March 31, 2022

Note: Panel Paper abstracts are submitted directly to Sophia Melanson-Ricciardone (York University, Toronto, Canada) and Margherita Zanoletti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy)

Paper abstracts should include the Name/Affiliation/e-mail of participant(s), Title, Abstract (200-250 words) and Keywords (up to 5).

More Information: