Translation in the Performing Arts

Due Date: 10-04-2021

This collection, bringing together international scholars from a range of different languages and time periods specializing in translation studies, drama, opera, song, dance, and street performance, offers new perspectives of the interconnectedness of translation and the performing arts. It is the first volume of essays, including interviews with practitioners, to trace some of the representational, sociocultural, political, and ethical dynamics that have shaped translation in the performing arts.

Our focus on the performing arts (as opposed to drama or theater) is the result of a deliberate epistemological shift away from a view of translation that is genre or field-based toward a more material approach that is interested in how different media and technologies shape translation. Together with Karen Littau, we believe that “translations bear the traces of their particular technological environment, be this performance-based, artisanal, industrial or electronic,” and this collection sets out to chart how different performance-based media “shape practices of translation.”

Tying in with heightened academic interest in the translation of theater, the volume will expand the reach of theater translation scholarship by bringing it in dialogue with wider discussions around translation and the materiality of performance, developing and broadening our understanding of today’s critical debates on translating the performing arts among scholars, translators, and practitioners. In so doing, we intend to debunk the persistent myth of translation as something primarily written, showing the interrelation between translation and the multiple forms of performance engaged with, and consumed in daily life (from street performance to dance, from YouTube videos to music festivals and live-streamed opera).

Unifying the chapters is an interest in how translation and the performing arts engage with different forms of embodied experiences. Each chapter spans across different forms of performing arts (including dance, song, and digital performance) as well as languages (Italian, Spanish, Argentinian, Chinese, Khasi, Welsh, and so on). The essays gathered here analyze the cross-cultural encounters and transnational exchanges occurring in a range of different performance contexts, illustrating how these encounters and exchanges point to forms of translation that transcend writing and the ideology of print, thus proposing an evolving paradigm of cultural interchange which underpins the importance of thinking of translation beyond writing.

We are looking in particular for contributions on immersive performances and areas related to equality, diversity, and inclusion. If you are interested in contributing to this, please send a 200-word abstract and 100-word biography to by 4 October 2021.