What can research on indirect translation do for Translation Studies?

Hanna Pięta, Laura Ivaska and Yves Gambier
Universidade NOVA de Lisboa | Finnish Literature Society (SKS) | University of Turku


This special issue is about indirect translation (ITr). To counter the traditional disinterest of Translation Studies in researching ITr, it explores and showcases what research on the topic can do for our discipline as a whole. This introductory article prepares the ground for and provides an overview of what is discussed in the seven articles included in the special issue. Before introducing the contributions to this issue, we briefly explain the terminology and definitions used throughout this issue. In the spirit of transparency, and making this special issue useful to everyone in Translation Studies, this introduction also devotes space to discussing how this issue came into being, sharing some of the lessons learnt through guest editing.

Table of contents

In English (the lingua franca of our discipline), ITr is known by many names (bridge translation, pivot translation, relay translation, second-hand translation, retranslation, etc.). What researchers call this practice has traditionally depended on their field of specialisation and their linguistic tradition (Assis Rosa, Pięta, and Bueno Maia 2017b). For instance, in audiovisual or machine translation the practice tends to be labelled ‘pivot’ or ‘bridge’ translation whereas in interpreting, ‘relay’ seems to be a more common term. At the same time, ‘relay translation’ is often the main terminological choice in English-language research produced by Chinese-language scholars, while ‘ITr’ has been prioritised in publications focusing on Iberian language settings (ibid.).

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