CFP: Indirect translation and sustainable development – Panel at IATIS Barcelona 2021

Convenors: Hanna Pieta (University of Lisbon), James Hadley (Trinity College Dublin), Jan Buts (Trinity College Dublin) & Laura Ivaska (University of Turku)

Keywords: indirect translation, low-diffusion languages, low-resource languages, sustainable development goals

In an increasingly global society, people are often expected to translate from already translated texts or with further translation in mind. This is especially the case in contexts where multiple low-diffusion and/or low-resource languages are used . Such translating for and from translation, here called “indirect translation” and understood to include both oral and written texts (Assis Rosa, Pieta, and Maia 2019), has traditionally been perceived as a work-around to be avoided.

For quite some time now, research has focused on negative effects associated with this practice, particularly on mistakes that are added as one moves away from the ultimate source text (Pas 2013). Others have noted the disturbing economic implications of English as a dominant pivot language worldwide (de Swaan 2020), and the damaging consequences associated with taking translation work away from people who are already marginalized because of the language they use (Brodie 2012).

However, more recent studies have shifted the focus from these negatives, to the benefits associated with indirect translation, suggesting its potential to work as a tool for the social, economic and political development of countries and peoples (Schäffner, Tcaciuc, and Tesseur 2014); an empowering device that allows people from the margins to access relevant information (Van Rooyen 2018); a life-saving measure in crisis situations (Federici and O’Brien 2020); a productive way of maximining linguistic diversity in educational outlets (Torres-Simón, Pieta, Maia and Xavier, forthcoming); or a catalyst for feminist solidarity across borders (Castro and Ergun 2017).

The aim of this panel is to cast light on indirect translation and its role in the context of social, economic, political, technological or linguistic sustainable development. More specifically, we invite papers analyzing practices and products of indirect translation in relation to at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

We welcome proposals focusing on any type of indirect translation. Successful proposals will outline specifically which of the SDGs they address and how. For a full list and more details about the SDG, please see this page: 

Proposal should be made in the form of a 300-word abstract, directly addressing one or more of the SDGs, accompanied by a brief bionote.

The guest-editors have secured a slot for a post-panel special issue of Translation Spaces (, to be out in 2023. It will result from a separate call, open to all, regardless of their participation in the panel.

For informal enquiries:

Submit a proposal by 15 September 2020 at: