IndirecTrans 3

IndirecTrans 3

IndirecTrans 3 is a follow-up to two past projects. The IndirecTrans 1 project aimed a laying theoretical, methodological and terminological bases for the study of the widespread yet unexplored practice of indirect translation, understood as a translation of a translation. The IndirecTrans 2 project not only further developed these bases but also contributed to their institutionalization by setting up an international network of researchers and by launching a program for visiting researchers that specialize in indirect translation. These two projects ran at ULICES between 2013-2014 and 2015-2018, respectively.

IndirecTrans 3 will be jointly coordinated by ULICES and CECC (Research Centre for Communication and Culture at Universidade Católica Portuguesa). Between January 2019 and December 2021, the project will be coordinated at ULICES by Hanna Pięta and at CECC by Rita Bueno Maia.

IndirecTrans 3 aims at:

  • gaining deeper understanding of the causes, conditions and consequences of indirect translation
  • raising awareness of indirect translation among translation researchers, trainers and society in general
  • proposing strategies to improve quality in indirect translation.

The main research questions are:

  • how have inter-peripheral interchanges been affected by central cultures’ mediation (esp. English)?
  • how does this mediation reflect power relations between languages and cultures?
  • how does the mediation of an imposed lingua franca affect people’s lives? What can we (translation researchers, trainers and society at large) do about it?


The project is organized around four research strands. The basic and conceptual research strands were initiated under the previous editions of the IndirecTrans project. The strands on applied research (focusing on translation training) and ethnographic research (surveying scholars and professionals on their opinions, ideas and attitudes towards indirect translation) were launched under the current edition. The specific objectives set for each strand are:

  • Basic research: to continue contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the causes, conditions and consequences of English mediation in indirect cultural interchanges by developing case studies based on various text types and language combinations 

  • Conceptual research: to further the development of a typology for profiling indirect translations; to compile, problematize and organize terminology regarding indirect translation (both in central and peripheral languages, in translation research and industry); to relate the concept(s) of indirect translation with other (currently disparate) concepts (such as adaptation, censorship, exile, pseudotranslation, retranslation, self-translation, etc.); to further develop a methodology for identifying ITrs and their mediating languages/texts

  • Applied research: to develop modules teaching specific competences and skills needed to better translate from an already translated text (in English) or to translate (into English) for further translation 

  • Ethnographic research: to promote an insightful exchange between, on the one hand, researchers who have dedicated a substantial part of their recent agenda to indirect translation and, on the other, scholars/professionals from different areas of expertise and geographical backgrounds whose research/practice is likely to add new perspectives to ongoing debates about indirect translation (and hopefully open new discussions).


Relevance to the field and society:

A research project on the present uses of mediating languages in cross-cultural communication has the potential to challenge the traditional binary paradigms in translation research and training, informed by reductionist approaches (e.g., source vs. target culture; translation vs. original). It can also help to address some of the main issues of the world we live in (e.g., inaccessibility, inequality, language domination, migration) and empower peripheral cultures (by raising awareness of the impact of central cultures' mediation and proposing measures to mitigate the negative consequences of this impact).