Calls for papers

Translation Matters publishes two issues per year, a general issue in the Spring and a Special (thematic) Issue in the Autumn. Submissions for the general issues are welcome throughout the year and may be uploaded onto the platform at any time. They will automatically be considered for the next available Spring issue. The Special Issues are subject to Calls for Papers.

Open Calls:

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special issue on (Inter-)Epistemic Translation

In the conclusion to his 2017 work Translationality, the translation scholar Douglas Robinson (2017:200-203) proposed to extend Jakobson’s (1959) famous tripartite division of translation with the introduction of a new category that he calls inter-epistemic translation. Defined as translation between different knowledge systems, it would focus on the transfer or transmission of knowledge between different ‘written genres (or semiotic worlds)’ in a process of narrative reframing ‘which is never a “cloning” of knowledge, of course, but always involves… “translationality”: adaptation, transformation’ (2017: 200). In the pages that followed, Robinson envisaged a whole series of different relations that could be studied under this rubric, ranging from the kinds of operations contemplated in translational medicine and the medical humanities, through the writing of popular science and representation of scientific issues in literary fiction to the study of how knowledges transform over time as epistemological paradigms wax and wane.

At the same time as Robinson was completing Translationality, the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos was refining his concept of ‘intercultural translation’ to describe a slightly different but related manoeuvre, namely the translation that could and does occur between ‘the knowledges or cultures of the global North (Eurocentric, Western-centric) and [those of] the global South, the east included’ (2018: 34).  Developed most fully in his 2016 work Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide (2016: 212-236), ‘intercultural translation’ is assumed as part of an ethical mission to undo the ‘epistemicide’ resulting from the hegemony of western science, by working towards the ‘ecologies of knowledge’ necessary to achieve ‘cognitive justice’ (2016: 188-211).

At the core of ecology of knowledges is the idea that different types of knowledge are incomplete in different ways and that raising the consciousness of such reciprocal incompleteness /…/ will be a precondition for achieving cognitive justice. Intercultural translation is the alternative both to the abstract universalism that grounds Western-centric general theories and to the idea of incommensurability between cultures” (Santos 2016: 213).

Following our successful conference Epistemic Translation: Towards an Ecology of Knowledges, held in Lisbon in December 2023, submissions are invited for a special issue of the open-access journal, Translation Matters on the subject of (Inter-)Epistemic Translation. The issue aims to investigate the semiotic processes (verbal and nonverbal) involved in the transfer of information between different ‘epistemic systems’, particularly the transactions occurring between western science (the hegemonic knowledge of the globalized world, which purports to be objective, rational and universal) and the various embedded, embodied and subjective forms of knowledge that have served as its Others in different times and places.

Hence, proposals are invited about the translational processes involved in:

  • educational science, the popularization of science, the creation of literary works on scientific themes
  • translational medicine and science, the medical humanities
  • analogue-to-digital conversion and vice versa (this includes not only computer languages but also systems such as morse code, and the various attempts to create a universal language of knowledge by reproducing in verbal language the rigour of mathematics)
  • bringing western science (particularly medical and technical knowledge) to indigenous peoples of the Global South
  • bringing the epistemologies of indigenous peoples of the Global South to the attention of the west/north
  • bringing eastern epistemologies (e.g. Buddhism, Dao, Yoga) to the west
  • the reconceptualization of pre-scientific knowledges (such as alchemy, astrology, Aristotelian physics, logic, rhetoric) in the early modern period
  • intersemiotic reconstruals taking place in different historical periods in the domains of cosmology, cosmography and cartography
  • ….

Articles, in English or in Portuguese, should be 6000-8000 words in length, including references and footnotes, and be formatted in accordance with the guidelines given on the journal’s website. Papers should be uploaded onto the site by 7th March 2024.

Any inquiries should be addressed to and


Jakobson, Roman (2000 [1959]) ‘On linguistic aspects of translation’. In L. Venuti, ed. The Translation Studies Reader. London & New York: Routledge. 113-8

Robinson, Douglas (2017) Translationality: Essays in the Translational-Medical Humanities. London and New York: Routledge

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2016) Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. London and New York: Routledge

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2018) The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South. Durham: Duke University Press

Past Calls: