Intersemiotic Translation, Adaptation, Transposition: saying almost the same thing?

University of Cyprus, Nicosia

November 10-12, 2017

The three disciplines of Adaptation Studies, Semiotics, and Translation Studies share a common interest in the transference of texts across modes of signification such as textual, visual, oral, aural, gestural or kinesic. More particularly, Semiotics looks into the interpretation of signs in various semiotic systems, Intersemiotic Translation (Jakobson 1959)1renders linguistic texts into nonverbal signs, and the study of adaptations can include any generic transposition of a text into other modes of representation. There is an obvious overlap here.

Nevertheless, although in principle at least these three disciplines share common ground, their research seems to focus on different subfields. Most of the work by semioticians focuses on non-linguistic semiotic systems, Translation Studies has traditionally focused on the interlingual transfer of texts, and Adaptation Studies usually deals with cinematic or theatrical versions of literary texts.
Regarding the theoretical approaches they apply there has been very little crossover. After some early promising voices such as Holmes (1972), Reiß (1971), and Toury (1994/1986), the disciplines have followed parallel paths, which have converged little.
In the recent past, though, translation as a practice has undergone dramatic change, especially with the advent of the Internet and technological advances: instead of the traditional rendering of written texts across languages, translation now encompasses much more dynamic forms of multimodal texts and media, making the expansion of the theory indispensable in order to account for them (Brems et al. 2014). A burgeoning new field of applied research is flourishing, a field which includes AV translation, localization, subtitling, opera surtitling, dubbing, sign language interpreting, audio description, live subtitling, fansubbing, video-games, subfields that by default entail a much more expanded understanding of text. Translation Studies has grown impressively to address them theoretically. Nevertheless, reaching out to semiotic approaches to translation (Stecconi 2007, Marais and Kull 2016) or to Adaptation Studies (Zatlin 2006, Milton 2009, 2010, Raw 2012, Cattrysse 2014, Krebs 2014) has been comparatively limited. Considerably more has been done by semioticians looking into translation (Gorlée 1994 and 2004, Fabbri 1998, Eco and Nergaard 2001, Eco 2003, Petrilli 2003 and 2007, Torop 2000 and 2002, Sütiste and Torop 2007, Dusi 2010 and 2015, Kourdis 2015).
This conference will be a forum for bringing together scholars investigating intersemiotic translation under whatever name and guise from various theoretical backgrounds and disciplines in order to promote mutual understanding and theoretical cross-fertilization.
Research topics can include the transfer of texts between any semiotic systems, including music, ballet and dance, opera, film and theater, comics, graphic novels, and manga, photography and painting, video-games, website localization, hypertexts and multimodal texts, to name but a few.
Theoretical questions discussed might include, although will not necessarily be limited to:

  • Intersemiotic translation and its social dimension
  • Intersemiosis and culture
  • Transmutation and ethics
    (Non-) equivalence, information loss and gain
    Translation as adaptation
    Nomenclature and definitions: transmutation, transcreation, transposition, transduction

Papers that address key theoretical issues from an interdisciplinary approach will be particularly welcome.
Panel proposals will also be considered; however, the individual submissions will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee.
Submissions should include: an abstract of the proposed paper of up to 300- words, along with the author’s name, communication information, and short bio-bibliographical note.
Abstracts should be sent to with the indication “Intersemiosis Conference Proposal” typed on the subject line.
One of the aims of this conference is to produce a publication that reflects on the potential for future collaborations among the three disciplines.

Conference website: <>
Keynote speakers:
Andrew Chesterman (University of Helsinki)
Julie Sanders (Newcastle University)
Peeter Torop (University of Tartu)
Organizing committee:
Evangelos Kourdis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
John Milton (University of São Paulo)
Vasso Yannakopoulou (University of Cyprus)
Scientific committee:
Lauro Maia Amorim (Sao Paulo State University)
Maurizio Calbi (University of Salerno)
Deborah Cartmell (De Montfort University)
Patrick Cattrysse (University of Antwerp)
Silvia Cobelo (University of São Paulo)
Jorge Díaz-Cintas (University College London)
Nicola Dusi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)
Ritva Hartama-Heinonen (University of Helsinki)
Dionysios Kapsaskis (University of Roehampton)
Evangelos Kourdis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
Pirjo Kukkonen (University of Helsinki)
Denise Merkle (Université de Moncton)
John Milton (University of São Paulo)
Nilce Pereira (State University of São Paulo)
Susan Petrilli (University of Bari)
João Queiroz (Federal University of Juiz de Fora)
Peeter Torop (University of Tartu)
Vasso Yannakopoulou (University of Cyprus)
Federico Zanettin (University of Perugia)

Conference language: English
Deadline for submission of abstracts: April 30 Notification of acceptance: May 31
Deadline for registration: September 15
Early Bird Registration Fee (by July 15): €120
Standard Registration Fee (by September 15): €150
Early bird Students’ Registration Fee (by July 15): €80
Students’ Registration Fee (by September 15): €100

For registration go to the site: