Call for papers: Methods for the Study of Multimodality in Translation

A multimodal text, such as a film or an illustrated text, consists of interrelated modes which all contribute to meaning making. In other words, verbal language is accompanied by other kinds of visual and/or auditive information that interact with words and influence the eventual interpretation of the multimodal text. The translation and the translational enquiry of these texts needs to include a careful consideration of all modes and the ways in which they combine to make meaning. In addition to the multimodal forms of interlingual translation, the study of multimodal meaning construction is notably relevant in the field of accessible translation: audio description, for instance, entails converting visually represented information into a verbal form, and requires an in-depth understanding of the multimodal entity.

The study of multimodal phenomena calls upon translation scholars to cross disciplinary boundaries and adopt a range of theoretical and methodological approaches. The diversity of the multimodal landscape brings about unprecedented research challenges that must be carefully addressed to ensure these research efforts yield useful and credible results. We therefore propose that it is imperative to discuss how traditional research methods could be adapted and what kinds of novel approaches could be adopted or developed in order to address the diversity of multimodal data.

One example of the challenges associated with research into multimodality is the processing of multimodal data. Multimodal data collection methods range from the traditional photography and audio and video recording to more technologically advanced tools such as eye-tracking. Advanced data management programs now facilitate the storage, organization and retrieval of this data, but its transcription merits critical attention. We argue that further research is needed to examine if language-based transcription of multimodal data really is a sufficient way of representing multimodal meaning construction, as well as to assess what is lost and gained in such transcription.

Furthermore, the entire research process that involves multimodal materials merits critical reflection and rethinking of methodological questions. In addition to data collection, the analysis of multimodal texts would benefit from approaches that account for the interaction of sign systems rather than automatically and uncritically foregrounding the verbal. For this thematic issue, we invite new visions of how best to engage in multimodally-oriented research.

This thematic issue goes by the working title of Methods for the Study of Multimodality in Translation. It provides a platform for presenting fresh ideas and approaches to the emerging field of multimodally-oriented translation studies. We welcome contributions examining all aspects of multimodally-informed research, with a focus on research methods and the particular methodological challenges and considerations arising from multimodal materials. The issue is open to papers examining various areas of translation, ranging from accessibility to interlingual translation in different contexts (AVT, comics, illustrated texts etc.). In addition, proposals concerning the multimodal dimensions of interpreting are also most welcome.

 The research questions examined in the thematic issue can include, but are not limited to, the following:


-                 What types of research approaches, methods and tools may be used to examine the translation of multimodal material?

-                 What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach?

-                 How does the diverse character of multimodality as research topic impact methodological choices?

-                 How is multimodal data collected and prepared for analysis?

-                 What is the role of the researcher in different research settings, and how does the research reflect the subjective position of the researcher?

-                 How can we assess the communicative functions of the different modes of the source text in relation to each other? How can we evaluate how the translation interacts with these modes as a part of the multimodal orchestration?


Jiménez Hurtado, C., & Soler Gallego, S. (2015). Museum accessibility through translation: A corpus study of pictorial audio description. In J. Diaz Cintas, J. Néves & D. Sanchez (Eds.), Audiovisual Translation: Taking Stock (pp. 279–298). Cambridge: C.U.P.

Jiménez Hurtado, C., & Soler Gallego, S. (2013). Multimodality, translation and accessibility: a corpus-based study of audio description. Perspectives. Studies in Translatology,  21 (4), 577–594.

Kaindl, K. (2013). Multimodality and translation. In C. Millán, & F.Bartrina (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies (pp. 257–269). London: Routledge.

Kaindl, K., & Oittinen, R. (Eds.). (2008). META special issue: Le verbal, le visuel, le traducteur / The Verbal, the Visual, the Translator, 53(1).

Ketola, A. (2016). Towards a multimodally oriented theory of translation: A cognitive framework for the translation of illustrated technical texts. Translation Studies, 9 (1), 67–81.

Kokkola, S., & Ketola, A. (2015). Thinking outside the “Methods Box”: New Avenues for Research in Multimodal Translation. Vakki publications, 4, 219–228.

O’Sullivan, C. (Ed.). (2013). Journal of Specialized Translation: Special issue on the translation of multimodal texts, 20, 2–14.

Pérez-González, L. (2014). Audiovisual Translation: Theories, Methods and Issues. London: Routledge.

Poyatos, F. (2002). Nonverbal communication across disciplines. Culture, sensory interaction, speech, conversation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Remael, A. (2001). Some thoughts on the study of multimodal and multimedia translation. In Y. Gambier & H. Gottlieb (Eds.), (Multi) Media Translation. Concepts, practices and research (pp. 13–22). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Tuominen, Tiina; Maija Hirvonen, Anne Ketola, Eliisa Pitkäsalo & Nina Isolahti 2016: Katsaus multimodaalisuuteen käännöstieteessä. [An Overview of Multimodality in Translation Studies.] In E. Pitkäsalo & N. Isolahti (Eds.), Kääntäminen, tulkkaus ja multimodaalisuus. Menetelmiä monimuotoisten viestien tutkimiseen [Translation, Interpreting and Multimodality. Methods for the Study of Multimodal Messages] (pp. 11–24). Tampere Studies in Language, Translation and Literature B3.

Zanettin, F. (Ed.). (2008). Comics in Translation. Manchester: St Jerome Publishing.

Practical information and deadlines

Proposals: abstracts of approximately 500 words, including some relevant bibliography, should be submitted by 1st of June 2017.  Please send your proposals to, and

Acceptance of proposals: 1st of July 2017

Submission of articles: 1st of December 2017

Acceptance of articles: 28th of February  2018

Publication: November-December 2018


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