CFP: Doletiana 7 – The Fictional Turn of Translation Studies

Issue 7 of Doletiana will be devoted to studying the different ways in which the representation of the translator and of professional translation appear in literary and audio-visual fiction.

Toward the end of the 20th century, translation studies have shifted from the textual description of translations to the incorporation of cultural and sociological aspects and, finally, to the study of the subject who performs this task: the translator. In fact, the current and growing interest in this figure has led scholars such as A. Chesterman (2009) to reformulate Holmes original map of “Translation Studies” (1976), and to propose the area of “Translator’s Studies”, which would cover traditional aspects associated with vocational training to new ones related to the agent’s politics and ethics. In line with Chesterman, A. Pym (2009) and J. Delisle (1997) further suggest the need to humanize the history of translation, setting thus the translator in a central place in order to construct a critical history on a human scale. From the optics of this “non-strict methodology” that reminds us of the idea of sui generis knowledge referred to by A. Berman (1989), they claim for a “subjectivation of the object” (Pym 2009: 2).[1]

In this sense, in addition to the works that compile translators biographies or portraits (Delisle 1999, 2002, Lafarga and Pejenaute 2009, 2013, Bacardi and Godayol 2011), or personal testimonies of the professionals themselves such as those gathered in the Trujamán magazine of the Instituto Cervantes, as well as recent books by writers/translators (Arnau and Bornas 2013, Calvo 2016, Cohen 2014), we should also consider many literary or cinematographic works that stage a translator character, situating their action in the field of the imaginary.

The “fictional turn” of Translation Studies, mentioned for the first time in 1998 by Else Vieira: “literary works should be used for theorizing translation” (Kaindl 2012: 147), is more clearly delineated in the 21st century in the collective work edited by Delabastita and Grutman: Fictionalising Translation and Multilingualism (2005), which has contributions from different areas of the globe. These authors assert the existence of a “fictional turn” as seen in the increasing number of fictional material, films or books, that incorporate translators as nuclear characters.

Intertwined with studies of Comparative Literature, World Literature, postcolonial studies, studies on globalization and postmodernity, the translator appears as a prototypical character of our present. Migration, deterritorialization, and border identity make this figure a witness to contemporaneity. From the accounts about Malinche to Cervantes’ Don Quixote or the mythical “Pierre Menard” by J. L. Borges, the figure of the translator inhabits fiction texts. A number of writers from various languages, such as P. Auster (Book of illusions), M. Frayn (The Russian Interpreter), David Malouf (Remembering Babylon), U. Eco (Il nome della rosa), C. Bleton (Les nègres du traducteur), H. Murakami (Dance Dance Dance), J. Cortázar (62 modelo para armar), C. Fuentes (El naranjo) J. Marías (Corazón tan blanco), A. Pauls (El pasado), A. Neuman (El viajero del siglo), S. Benesdra (El traductor), among many other authors, dealt with the issue. The figure of the translator and interpreter appears also in films such as “Lost in translation” (2003), “The interpreter” (2005), or “Babel” (2006), as put out by M. Cronin in Translation Goes to the Movies (2009).

In this issue of Doletiana we invite you to reflect on the manifold characteristics that the fictional representation of the translator adopts. We propose thus, among many others, some guiding questions:

-Have the authors of the “translator’s fictions” been or are they translators themselves? Are these fictions, with regard to their genre, autofictional, metafictional, or purely fictional narratives?

-How is the identity of the character built? Is the translator a hero who acts as a bridge to a successful exchange, reversing thus its invisibility? (Strümper-Krobb 2009, Wilson 2007). Or, on the contrary, is it a marginal character, who is frustrated in the attempt to communicate and ends up alienated by the poorly paid work? (Gaspar 2014, Anderson 2005).

-Which is the relationship between the translator character and its body? Does the translator experience the joy of the translating drive (Berman 1989) or does the character suffer physically from its work?

  • What kind of textuality and / or intertextuality do these works of fiction exhibit? Are they multilingual texts? Which is the relationship between the languages used? (Delabastita and Grutman 2005).

  • What marks of style instils the translation as a textual operation in these fiction works?

  • What is the function of translation in these works: metaphorical, symbolic, metanarrative or other? (Kaindl 2008).

These are some of the questions that the contributors to this issue of the journal Doletiana are invited to respond. “Autofiction”, “metafiction”, “postmodenity”, “hybridity”, “transculturation”, “interculturalism”, “corporeality”, “errancy”, “invisibilty”, “mediation” are some of the concepts to explore, on the basis of a translatological perspective, on academic productions of all cultures and without spatiotemporal limits. Diversity and originality of approach are strongly encouraged.


Ádamo, G. (comp.). (2012). La traducción literaria en América Latina. Buenos Aires: Paidós.

Anderson, J. (2005). “The double agent: aspects of literary translator affect as revealed in fictional work by translators”. In Delabastita & Grutman (eds.), pp. 171-182.

Arnau, J.; Bornas, M. et al. (2013). Hijos de Babel. Madrid: Fórcola.

Bacardí, M.; Godayol, P. (dirs.). (2011). Diccionari de la traducció catalana. Vic: Eumo Editorial, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Universitat Juame I, Universitat de Vic.

Balderston, D.; Schwartz, M. (eds.). (2002). Voice-Overs: Translation and Latin American Literature. State University of New York Press.

Barnett, I. (s. f.). “The Tranlator as Hero”. In:

Bastin, G. (2006). “Subjetivity and Rigour in Translation History. The Case of Latin America”. En Bastin, G.; Bandia, P. (eds.). Charting the Future of Translation History. Ottawa: University Press of Otawa.

Berman, A. (1989). “La traduction et ses discours”, Meta, xxxiv, pp. 672-679.

Calvo, J. (2016). El fantasma en el libro: la vida en un mundo de traducciones. Barcelona: Seix Barral.

Chesterman, A. (2009). “The Name and Nature of Translator Studies”. Hermes. Journal of Language and Communication Studies, 42, pp. 13-22.

Cohen, M. (2014). Música prosaica (cuatro piezas en torno a la traducción). Buenos Aires: Entropía.

Cronin, M. (2009). Translation Goes to the Movies. London and New York: Routledge.

Delabastita, D.; Grutman, R. (eds.). 2005. Fictionalising Translation and Multilingualism (Lingüística Antwerpensia 4).

Delisle, J. (1999). Portraits de traducteurs. Otawa: Presses de l’Université d’Otawa.

Delisle, J. (2002). Portraits des traductrices. Otawa: Presses de l’Université d’Otawa.

Delisle, J. (1997). “Réflexions sur l’historiographie de la traduction et ses exigencies scientifiques. In Delisle, J.; Lafond, G., Histoire de la traduction. CD ROM, Gatineau (Québec): École de traduction et d’interprétation, Université d’Ottawa.

Gaspar, M. (2014). La condición traductora. Buenos Aires: Beatriz Viterbo.

Holmes, J. (2000 [1972]). “The name and nature of translation studies”. In L. Venuti (ed.). The Translation Studies Reader. London/ New York: Routledge, 2000, pp. 172-1186.

Kaindl, K. (2012). “Representation of translators and interpreters”. In Handbook of Translation Studies. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Vol. 3, pp. 145-150.

Lafarga, F.; Pegenaute, L. (eds.). (2009). Diccionario de la traducción en España. Madrid: Gredos.

Lafarga, F.; Pegenaute, L. (eds.). (2013). Diccionario histórico de la traducción en Hispanoamérica. Madrid: Iberoamerica – Vervuert.

Pegenaute, L. (2012). “The Poetics of Translation According to Javier Marías: Theory and Practice”. In L. Ladouceur; S. Rao (eds.). TTR. La traduction à l’épreuve de l’écriture: poétiques et experimentations. Canadá: Université de Concordia, Vol. XXV, Nº 2.

Pym, A. (1998). Method in Translation History. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Pym, A. (2009). “Humanizing Translation History”. Hermes. Journal of Language and Communication Studies. 42, pp. 1-26.

Strümper-Krobb, S. (2003). “The Translator in Fiction”, Language and Intercultural Communication 3: 2, pp. 115-121.

Thiem, J. (1995). “The Translator as Hero in Postmodern Fiction,” Translation and Literature 4, 207-218.

Wakabayashi, J. (2005). “Representations of translators and translation in Japanese fiction”. In Delabastita & Grutman (eds.), pp. 171-182.

Wilson, A. (2009). Translator on Translating. Inside the Invisible Art. Vancouver: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing Press.

Wilson, R. (2007). “The Fiction of the Translator”. Journal of Intercultural Studies 28, 4, pp. 381-395.

Practical information:

Articles (written in one of the Doletiana languages – French, English, Catalan or Spanish, and presented in Word format) should be sent by email to the issue coordinators, as an attachment and submitted anonymously. Another attachment should show author’s full name, scientific quality, author’s affiliation(s), author’s email address and the title of the article.

The item should be accompanied by an abstract not exceeding 200 words, written in English and in the language of the article, followed by 4-5 key words in both languages or only in English if that is the language of the article.


  • Deadline for receipt of proposed articles: 30 March 2018.

  • Approximate online publication date of issue: End of 2018.

Issue coordinators:

  • Laura Fólica (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya):

-Ramon Lladó (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona):

Guidelines for contributions:

URL reference:

[1] It is possible to check the  first issue of Doletiana, where the problematic of the translator is addressed, although from a more general perspective.