The Gender and Genre of Translation

Deadline: 31/01/2019

The Gender and Genre of Translation

Editors for this issue: Anne Emmanuelle Berger (Paris 8 University) and Giuseppe Sofo (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice)

At a time when gender studies are becoming more international and are being confronted intellectually and politically with questions of globalization, this issue of the journal de genere aims to reflect on the gender of translation and on gender in translation. On the one hand, we intend to analyse the role played by gender issues in the theory and practice of translation, and on the other hand, we intend to focus on how and to what extent translation has influenced the development of gender studies and the directions they have taken in different contexts. How has the discourse of gender studies developed between languages? What role has the shift from one language to another played in this development, for example, between French and English, but also between such Indo-European languages and other languages from other families), or between various disciplinary languages? Do these displacements affect the way we understand and theorize gender? Finally, to what extent have gender studies contributed to a transformation of languages themselves (be they “natural” or specialised)?

The discourse on translation has often been dominated by gender metaphors or metaphors related to gender and gender relations (faithfulness, loyalty, etc.). It is therefore relevant to study the role that these metaphors have played in the theory and practice of translation, how they have contributed to shape the translated texts, and how they have influenced the reception of the originals. The representation of the relationship between source text and target language also does not escape the hierarchical logic that drives gender discourse and contributes to the establishment of a gender order. Thus, the image of the translation as an imperfect copy of the original, “created from a rib” of the original which remains the sole and only authority, informs the conception of translation as “secondary”.

Yet translation studies are increasingly opening up to a more dynamic representation of the relationship between the source text and its versions in other languages. Translation is then perceived as an operator of differences, better able to do justice to the complexity of the texts by allowing for a plurality of readings. To what extent is this new perception of translation shaped by a culture more open to creative difference, and conversely, to what extent can the pluralization generated by the practice of translation contribute to the formation of such a culture?

It will also be important to investigate how texts “translate” human relations into textual configurations, and how gender identities fit into both writing and translation. In a context in which gender can no longer be defined in a binary way, what influence does this new conception of gender and gender identities have on the texts that we create and that describe our lives, and on the relationships between texts?

The shift from non-inclusive to what today is usually referred to as inclusive writing also confronts us with questions of linguistic and literary (but also cultural) translation, since these forms of writing entail a transformation of the linguistic norms but also, in the long term, of language itself, transformations that aim at undoing the privilege of the masculine (as a symbolic construction) in society as well as in language. The fact that inclusive writing has taken very different forms in different languages also forces us to ask ourselves how to translate these forms. Finally, depending on the context, the strategies are different: “demasculinisation” or “feminisation” of language, gender neutralisation or pluralisation are different, if not opposed, strategies, implying different conceptions of gender and gender relations.

Finally, it would be interesting, in order to explore the plurality of the French term “genre” in the literary context, to consider the possibility of translation being seen as a genre in its own right, that is, as a recognizable form with its own stylistic and structural features, by asking whether the expectations of readers of a translation can be compared or assimilated to the expectations concerning other literary genres.

This issue of de genere is open to researchers of different disciplines, from linguistics to cultural studies, from literary and postcolonial studies to anthropology, from the sociology of literature to educational sciences. Artistic proposals will also be very welcome.

The following is a list of the research areas proposed, which are obviously not exhaustive:

- The role of gender issues in translation theory and practice

- Translation of works of gender studies

- The “gender” of translation

- The role of translation in the literary system

- Gender metaphors and translation theory/practice

- Theories and practices of transformation of the original in translation

- Militant, feminist and/or gendered theories and practices of translation

- Translation and the production of differences

- Inclusive writing

- Translation of inclusive writing

- Textual and gender identities

- Translation as a literary genre: forms, expectations, reception.

The proposals in English, French or Italian (an abstract of 300 to 500 words accompanied by a list of references and a short biographical note) should be sent to: and in CC to: Anne Emmanuelle Berger ( and Giuseppe Sofo ( by January 31, 2019. For submission guidelines and further info please check our submissions page.

Submission of proposals: January 31, 2019

Decision notification: February 28, 2019

Submission of articles: July 31, 2019

Peer-reviews: September 15, 2019

Final submission: October 30, 2019

Publication: December 2019

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