Call for papers: Special Issue 2024: Human agency in the age of technology



Special Issue 2024: Human agency in the age of technology

Deadline for full papers: 1 November 2023

Publication date: December 2024


Guest Editors

Nina Reviers, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Gert Vercauteren, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Josélia Neves, Hamad Bin Khalifa Universit, Qatar

With the introduction of machine translation (MT), translation memories (TM), and other CAT tools, concerns arose about the future of the translation profession and its potential disappearance. While these fears did not materialize, these technologies did become essential in translators' workflows and have significantly impacted the profession. They have given rise to new professional profiles, and there now seems to be a shortage rather than a surplus of qualified translation professionals. The 2022 European Language Industry Survey highlights the industry's concern about a shortage of suitable resources (ELIS, 2022, p. 40).  

In the field of audiovisual translation (AVT) and media accessibility (MA), a similar trend can be observed in the past decade, although there is a noticeable difference in the adoption of language technologies. While text-to-speech and speech-to-text applications are already well-integrated in areas like respeaking and automatic transcription, the uptake of translation technologies such as MT & TM has been slow. Some subtitling tools now include TM features, and media localization software is starting to incorporate MT capabilities. Research on the use of technology in AVT are gradually increasing (e.g. Burchardt, et al., 2016: Bywood, et al., 2017; Georgakopoulou & Bywood, 2014), but there is still a significant unexplored territory, as evidenced by the limited publications on machine translation in audiovisual translation. The European Federation of Audiovisual Translators' 'Machine Translation Manifesto' suggests avenues for further research, including the integration of other technologies in AVT and MA workflows, ethical considerations, and collaboration among different stakeholders. A recent survey among language service professionals identified 30 new roles in the LSP industry due to artificial intelligence, posing questions for future (audiovisual) translator training (Stasimioti, M., 2023). 

The increasing integration of humans and machines raises important questions about the impact of technology on translation processes. It also highlights the evolving roles of human translation agents in this technological age. The field of AVT and MA is witnessing a growing interest in the human aspect of translation, emphasizing the unique problem-solving and creative abilities of human agents (Rizzo, 2022). Scholars are studying the creative dimension of AVT and MA practices, exploring new approaches like integrated subtitles, damnu, and accessible filmmaking (Romero Fresco, 2021). Collaborative approaches involving AV translators, media professionals, artists, users, and user organizations are also gaining traction (Di Giovanni, 2018). The increasing focus on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility raises significant societal questions about the impact of AVT and MA. Representation and participation are key concerns in this context, and ethical considerations become even more crucial in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. 

It is clear that the field of AVT and MA is undergoing profound changes which all have an undeniable impact on all the stakeholders involved. In this special issue, we want to delve deeper into these changes and in the complex relationships between the technologies and the human agents that interact with them. Contributions to the issue can approach the topic through an academic or more professional lens, and deal with questions such as (but not limited to): 

  • How do technological developments redefine the concept of translator agency in audiovisual translation these days?
  • What roles and positions can audiovisual translators assume in the current AI-driven translation ecosystem?
  • How can the different agents involved in the translation process interact to put human agency to optimal use in order to maximise the benefits for all stakeholders?
  • What impact do new technologies have on the AVT and MA workflows and output quality?
  • How can MT and other translation technologies be integrated in an ethical way in AVT and MA workflows?
  • How can end-users – both of the technologies and the translated products – be involved in the process?
  • What new skills will be required from audiovisual translators?
  • How can academic and other training institutions respond to these new requirements?
  • How can new technologies and AI developments be used to improve and optimize inclusion and inclusive practices?
  • What insights can be offered through inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches?
  • What new and alternative approaches in AVT and MA are emerging?
  • From what collaborative and participatory approaches can AVT and MA benefit?
  • How can new forms of creativity be integrated into AVT and MA?
  • How are AVT and MA embracing current and future practices of diversity and inclusion?

Important dates:

  • Submission of full papers (7.500 words incl. references): 1 November 2023  
  • Notification of provisional acceptance: 1-28 February 2024  
  • Submission of revised articles: 1 April 2024  
  • Submission of final articles: May 2024  
  • Language revision, APA revision, final proofs: July-November 2024 

Submission guidelines 

We invite full papers to be submitted by November 1st, 2023, via the journal’s online platform, following the journal’s guidelines which you can consult here: 


Make a new submission to the Special issue 2024: Human agency in the age of technology section. 


Please contact the guest editors if you have any questions: 


Nina Reviers (University of Antwerp, Belgium) is a researcher and trainer in the domain of Audiovisual Translation, with a specific interest in Media Accessibility. While Audio Description for the blind and visually impaired constitutes her specific research area, she has built expertise in a broad range of topics within the domain of accessibility. Moreover, she aims to approach her research topics from an inclusive perspective, keeping the principles of Universal Design and Interdisciplinarity in mind. Her current research interests include linguistic and multimodal aspects of audio description, computer-aided translation of audio description, integrated access for the (scenic) arts, technology for access, and the study of translations as complex, emerging phenomena. A close collaboration with stakeholders is a key factor in her research and teaching activities. Through OPEN Expertise Centre for Accessible Media and Culture, she aims to bridge the gap between academia and the work field and play an active role in the realization of an inclusive society.

Gert Vercauteren (University of Antwerp, Belgium) holds an MA in Translation and a PhD in Translation Studies, more specifically in the field of audio description. He is a teacher and researcher at the Department of Applied Linguistics, Translation & Interpretation of the University of Antwerp. He teaches specialised and audiovisual translation and translation technology. His research focuses on audiovisual translation in general and media accessibility in particular. More recently, he broadened his research focus to include new types of learning (e-learning, blended learning, MOOCs) and their pedagogical implications. He was previously involved in the European DTV4All and ADLAB projects, and is currently participating in the European ACT (Accesible Culture and Training) project. He is the co-ordinator of AVT Research at the Department and is a member of the TricS research group, the European Association for Studies in Screen Translation (ESIST) and Transmedia Benelux.

Josélia Neves (Hamad Bin Khalifa Universit, Qatar) has a degree in Modern Languages and Literatures, an MA in English Studies, a PhD in Translation Studies, with a dissertation on subtitling for the deaf and the hard of hearing. She started her career as a language teacher but soon moved on to teaching in the domain of Translation Studies and Audiovisual Translation. Parallel to her teaching activities, she has worked as a freelance translator as a means to keep abreast of the developments and requirements of the field. She has led a number of research projects with partners in the media, museums and cultural venues, the performing arts and education. Her special interest lies in developing action research projects that contribute towards making communication environments accessible to all. While living and working in Qatar, she continues to collaborate with European Universities both as a visiting professor and a researcher.


  1. Burchardt, A., Lommel, A. Bywood, L., Harris, K. & Popović, M. (2016). Machine translation quality in an audiovisual context. Target, Vol. 28(2), 206–221. 
  2. Bywood, L., Georgakopoulou, P. & Etchegoyhen, T. (2017). Embraching the threat. Machine translation as a solution for subtitling. Perspectives, Vol. 25(3), 492–508 
  3. Di Giovanni, E. (2018). Participatory accessibility: Creating audio description with blind and non-blind children. Journal of Audiovisual Translation, 1(1), 155–169. 
  4. ELIS (2022). European language industry survey. Trends, expectations and concerns of the European language industry. 
  5. Georgakopoulou, P. & Bywood, L. (2014). Machine translation in subtitling and the rising profile of the post-editor. MultiLingual, January/February: 24–28. 
  6. Rizzo, A. (2022). Into the Translation for Museums, Festivals, and the Stage: Creativity and the Transmedial Turn. Status Quaestionis, 23, Article 23. 
  7. Romero-Fresco, P. (2021). Creative Media Accessibility: Placing the Focus Back on the Individual. In M. Antona & C. Stephanidis (Eds.), Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Access to Media, Learning and Assistive Environments (Vol. 12769, pp. 291–307). Springer International Publishing. 
  8. Stasimioti, M. (31 May, 2023). Here are 30 new jobs language industry CEOs expect to hire for in the AI Age. Slator Language Industry Intelligence.