Multimodality and Translation
Time: May 25.2022

Open Course: Multimodality and Translation

Speaker:Professor Luis Pérez-González, Agder University (Norway)



Luis Pérez-González is Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Agder (Norway) and currently serves as Associate Editor of Target. He has published widely on various areas of media translation. He is author of Audiovisual Translation: Theories,Methods and Issues (Routledge 2014); editor of the Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation (2019) and co-editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media (2021). Since 2019, he has been the Academic Director of the International Research School for Media Translation and Digital Culture organized by the Baker Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies at Shanghai International Studies University.

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Time:May 25-June-15, 15:00-17:00(Beijing Time)of each Wednesday

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Lecture 1

Introduction to Multimodal Theory

Multimodality conceptualises communication and social interaction as processes arising from the combined use of various semiotics, including but not limited to written and spoken language. From a multimodal perspective, communicative encounters are therefore seen as revolving around or taking the form of texts made up of meaning-making resources resources drawn from more than one mode – e.g., movement, gestures, colour, music, etc. The first of this 4-lecture series will deliver an introduction to key concepts in multimodal theory against the wider framework of social semiotics. The relevance of said concepts to the analysis of multimodal communicative encounters will be illustrated with a range of examples pertaining to a variety of genres.


  • Jewitt, C. (2017) ‘An Introduction to Multimodality’, in C. Jewitt (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis, 2nd edition, London & New York: Routledge, 15–30.

  • Stöckl, H. (2004) ‘In Between Modes: Language and Image in Printed Media’, in E. Ventola, C. Charles and M. Kaltenbacher (eds) Perspectives on Multimodality, Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 9–30.

Lecture 2

Multimodality in Translation and Interpreting Studies

Academic interest in non-verbal semiotic resources and their role in processes of interlingual and intercultural transfer has so far been unevenly spread across the different constitutive domains of translation and interpreting studies. Generally speaking, images are the only type of non-verbal meaning-making sign whose potential to inform research in translation and interpreting studies has become widely recognised to date. But areas such as dialogue interpreting, promotional translation and drama translation, to give but a few examples, still lack the theoretical and methodological concepts and tools to systematically analyse semiotic resources such as the gestures and facial expressions punctuating face-to-face interaction; the choice of fonts, colours and patterns of textual-visual interaction in printed advertisements; or the use of music and lighting in the staging of a play, respectively. This session will survey recent and ongoing research on the influence that various semiotic resources have on translational behaviour across a range of communicative contexts.


  • Kaindl, K. (2012) ‘Multimodality in Translation Studies’, in C. Millán-Varela and F. Bartrina (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies, London & New York: Routledge, 268–281.

  • Pérez-González, L. (2014) ‘Multimodality in Translation and Interpreting Studies: Theoretical and methodological perspectives’, in S. Bermann and C. Porter (eds) A Companion to Translation Studies, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 119–131.

  • Pérez-González, L. (2020) ‘Multimodality’, in Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha (eds) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 3rd edition, London and New York: Routledge, 346–351.

Lecture 3

Multimodality and Audiovisual Translation

Multimodality has become one of the theoretical frameworks that most informs research in audiovisual translation. The study of multimodal semiotics redresses some of the fundamental criticisms that have been traditionally raised against audiovisual translation research, notably that, unlike other theoretical frameworks, multimodality does not prioritize language at the expense of other meaning‐making modes. This session will explore various scholarly attempts to map the repertoire of modes at play in audiovisual texts and interrogate how translators’ awareness of their respective contribution to meaning-making can inform translational behaviour. Selected research methods to facilitate the study of multimodal texts will be explored in the final part of this session.


  • Pérez-González, L. (2014) Audiovisual Translation. Theories, Methods and Issues, London & New York: Routledge. >> Chapter 6: Multimodality, pages 181-228.

Lecture 4

Multimodality and Translation in Digital Culture

This final lecture will focus on the multimodal make-up of new textualities emerging from the shift from an electronic to a digital culture, and on their respective contexts of production/reception. In these new sites, meaning is conveyed through multi-layered semiotic configurations which push our methods of sharing and translating it effectively. Significantly, changes in the shape of discourse communities galvanised around the production, reception, translation and circulation of such multimodal texts account for the proliferation of new agencies with the skills to intervene both in the verbal and non-verbal dimensions of a text. This lecture will place particular emphasis on the community-building role that the translation of multimodal texts plays in digital culture and its capacity to carve out new affective spaces for metaleptic interaction between the producers and users of texts.


  • Lee, S. (2021) ‘Translating YouTube Vlogs for a Global Audience: Innovative Subtitling and Community-building’, International Journal of Cultural Studies 1–24 (online first). DOI:

  • Pérez-González, L. (2019) ‘From the ‘Cinema of Attractions’ to Danmu: A Multimodal-Theory Analysis of Changing Subtitling Aesthetics across Media Cultures’, in M. Boria, Á. Carreres, M. Noriega-Sánchez and M. Tomalin (eds) Beyond Words: Multimodal Encounters in Translation, London & New York: Routledge, 94–116.