CFP: Experiential Translation: Opacity and Porosity in a (dis)embodied Pluriverse

Edited by Madeleine Campbell and Ricarda Vidal

DEADLINE for submission of abstracts: 1 Nov 2022

Taking the Experiential Translation Network as a departure point in its focus on intersemiotic translation (Campbell and Vida 2019), this edited volume aims to explore the nature of translation in contemporary society and asks what role experiential translation can play in addressing the ‘untranslatable residue that reveals unbridgeable cultural differences’ (Kramsch and Zhu 2020:10). Where cultural translation aims to ‘make untranslatable experiences translatable across cultural boundaries’ (ibid:9), experiential translation aims to make experiences translatable across the linguistic and sensory boundaries and media that together serve to generate, maintain or challenge cultural hegemonies. In a conflicted world we ask how experiential translation can contribute to growing calls to employ ‘different strategies … to resist traditional perceptions of translation and the translator’ (Bhanot and Tiang 2022:11). Whether favouring opacity or porosity, the translator’s subject position in relation to the ‘original’ is transformed by the role of experimentation, creativity and play where, as Lee (2022) explains in his book Translation as Experimentation: ‘Instead of discarding … idiosyncrasies and epiphanies as irrelevant to the work of translation, a ludic perspective embraces them and actively considers how they can be co-opted to add value to the original work in unexpected ways’ (Lee 2022: 46). At the same time the notion of (‘original’) text as world comprising not just words but all modalities of communication including the human beings that produce them and the natural and technological environment within which humans operate explodes the outward turn in translation studies (Vidal Claramonte 2022) to encompass translation as a transdisciplinary, pluriversal phenomenon. Experiential translation embraces the visibility of the translator and eschews semiotic erasures imposed by the norms and expectations of source and target cultures. As such it aims to undo acquired knowledge and give voice not only to the sensory and affective, but to endow nature with the status of ‘text’ (Taivalkoski-Shilov and Poncharal 2020). Experiential translation views translation as a holistic, co-creative process of discovery and renewal in a dynamic ecological context where Western anthropocentric discourse is displaced by a pluriverse of local and global, analogue and digital, (dis)embodied voices.

The Experiential Translation Network (ETN) Conference and Exhibition (2022) brought together artists, curators, scholars and educators to experiment, produce works and interrogate the notion and implications of Performative and Experiential Translation: Meaning-Making through Language, Art and Media. Presentations and exhibits explored modes of meaning-making, community engagement and intercultural communication through multimodal translation including video, dance, painting, print-making, immersive installations, sound art, film and photography.

Following an expression of interest from a major academic publisher for an edited volume as part of a series on new perspectives in translation, the present cfp seeks to build on the findings and questions that arose from this event.

Papers are invited on the following themes in relation to experiential translation:
  • translating culture
  • translation as artivism
  • translating the voices of nature and/or our (urban, digital, natural) environment • translating indigenous knowledge bases
  • decolonising translation
  • translation and/as contemporary art
  • participatory or collaborative translation
  • translation and community
  • translation and/as performance
  • embodiment and materialities in translation
Questions to explore may include:
  • How is appropriation, as understood and used within creative practice and artistic research, part of / or distinct from appropriation in experiential translation?
  • Translation in artistic practice/artistic research versus translation of the artistic object(s)
  • What happens to the subject position when the focus of experiential translation is on the process rather than subject?
  • Experiential translation as process versus a means to produce outcome
  • How can Experiential translation act as/be the process for intercultural understanding / knowledge acquisition?
  • Experiential translation as method for exploration and research in cultural translation beyond the production of outcome
  • Where are the edges of the source and target, original and new, diversity and difference?
  • What are the ethical considerations around and within experiential translation

Please submit your 500-word abstracts and 150-word bios by
1 November 2022
to and


Bhanot, Kavita, and Tiang, Jeremy. (2022). Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation. Tilted Axis Press.

Campbell, Madeleine, and Vidal, Ricarda. (2019). Translating between Sensory and Linguistic Borders: Intersemiotic Journeys between Media. Cham:Palgrave MacMillan.

Lee, Tong King. 2022. Translation as Experimentalism. Exploring Play in Poetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Taivalkoski-Shilov, Kristina, and Poncharal, Bruno. (2020). Traduire les voix de lat nature / Translating the Voices of Nature. Editions québécoises de l’œuvre: Québec.

Vidal Claramonte, MACarmen África. (2022). Translation and Contemporary Art. Routledge: New York