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: Music and/in Translation

The idea that translation could take place between sign systems other than the verbal was first mooted by Roman Jakobson in 1959, but, for reasons that had largely to do with the intellectual climate and a tendency towards disciplinary over-specialization, it took some time for the concept to be applied to music. However, in recent years, a number of works have appeared that include not only theoretical  (Desblache 2019, Grajter 2024) and cultural (Susam-Sarajevo 2015) reflections about the relation between translation and music, but also case studies of intersemiotic translations between music and other arts, such as the chapters by Minors, Stones and Moss in Helen Minors’ Music, Text and Translation (2013), and by Ng, Takebee and Vidal in Şerban & Chan’s Opera in Translation (2020), or Bennett in Campbell and Vidal’s The Experience of Translation (2024). Sign-singing, or ‘embodied songs’, aimed primarily at the deaf and hard of hearing, is another form of intersemiotic translation that is now attracting scholarly attention (Maler 2013, Fisher 2021), while multilingual hiphop has also been approached from a translational perspective (Taviano 2019).

Not all translational activity involving music is intersemiotic, of course. A great deal of conventional interlingual translation takes place in musical contexts, such as when Italian opera, American musicals or indeed pop songs are performed in other languages or included in films which are then subtitled or dubbed for export. In the first case, the music itself will act as a powerful constraint on the translation, as songs performed in other languages have above all to be singable, as well as respecting rhythmic and melodic structures (Low 2017; Apter & Herman 2016). In the second, the constraints are more of a technical nature, such as the spatial and temporal limits or lip-synchronization common to other forms of audiovisual translation (Rędzioch-Korkuz 2016).

Finally, the concept of translationality, developed first in the field of medicine and brought to the attention of translation scholars by Robinson (2017) and especially Blumczynski (2023), offers remarkable potential for exploring how musical themes and genres are transported through time and space (see Bennett forthcoming, also Vidal Claramonte 2017).  

This special issue of Translation Matters aims to contribute to these ongoing conversations by exploring all aspects of musical translation, whether intersemiotic, interlingual, experiential or other.  Hence, proposals are invited on topics such as:

  • Song translation
  • Opera subtitling and surtitling
  • Translation for musical films and animations
  • Sign-singing and embodied song for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Intersemiotic translation to/from music
  • Linguistic hybridity in musical contexts
  • Translation in ethnomusicology
  • Interlingual translation on musical themes
  • Translationality in music

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 2025. Any inquiries should be addressed to


Apter, R. and Herman, M. 2016. Translating for Singing: The Theory, Art and Craft of Translating Lyrics. London: Bloomsbury

Bennett, K. forthcoming. Translationality in Music. London: Routledge

Blumczynski, Piotr. Experiencing Translationality: Material and Metaphorical Journeys. New York, NY: Routledge, 2023

Campbell, M. & R. Vidal, eds. 2024. The Experience of Translation: Materiality and Play in Experiential Translation. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Desblache, L. 2019. Music and Translation: New Mediations in the Digital Age. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Fisher, V. J. 2021. ‘Embodied songs: Insights Into the nature of cross-modal meaning-making within sign language informed, embodied interpretations of vocal. Frontiers in Psychology, 12

Gorlée, D. L. 2005. Song and Significance: Virtues and Vices of Vocal Translation. Amsterdam: Rodopi

Grajter, M. 2024. Applying Translation Theory to Musicological Research. Springer.

Jakobson, R. 1959. ‘On linguistic aspects of translation’. In L. Venuti, ed. The Translation Studies Reader, London and New York: Routledge, 2000: 113-18.

Low, P. 2017. Translating Song: Lyrics and Texts. London and New York: Routledge

Maler, A. 2013. ‘Songs for hands: Analyzing interactions of sign language and music’. Music Theory Online, 19/1.

Minors, H. J. ed. 2013. Music, Text and Translation. New York: Bloomsbury.

Rędzioch-Korkuz, A. 2016. Opera Surtitling as a Special Case of Audiovisual Translation: Towards a Semiotic and Translation Based Framework for Opera Surtitling. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang

Şerban, A. and K. Y. Chan, eds. 2020. Opera in Translation: Unity and Diversity. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins

Susam-Saraeva, Ş. 2015. Translation and Popular Music: Transcultural intimacy in Turkish-Greek relations. Vienna: Peter Lang

Taviano, S. 2019. ‘Translating identity and politics in Arab hip hop’. In K. Bennett & R. Queiroz de Barros, eds. Hybrid Englishes and the Challenges Of/For Translation: Identity, Mobility and Language Change. London and New York: Routledge. 57-72.

Vidal Claramente, M.C.A. 2017. “Dile que le he escrito un blues”. Del texto como partitura a la partitura como traducción en la literatura latino-americana. Madrid/Frankfurt: Vervuert Iberoamericana. 

Past 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 31st 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: