Anthony Pym

University of Melbourne, Australia


Anthony Pym  is Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia, Distinguished Professor at the Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain, and extraordinary professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He was President of the European Society for Translation Studies from 2010 to 2016. Homepage: http://usuaris.tinet.cat/apym/



Communication that seeks to change the long-term behavior of the receiver is necessary in cases where the aim is to impose the findings of science on whole societies. The importance of using more than the written word is very clear in examples like HIV and family planning campaigns in developing countries, where spoken, visual and performance media have long played crucial roles. More immediately pressing cases would be COVID-19 communication and climate-change discourses, where the aim goes beyond literacy development or providing the information needed for individual choices or empowerment: the goal is to change collective behavior, with the communication as an act of power in itself. In order for this aim to be achieved, certain specific criteria have to be met: the communication must be socially accepted as authenticand it must be trusted. This talk will seek to explain how specific kinds of authenticity and trust are created by multimedia communication in such situations, and how these values work against semiosis. Baudrillard’s theorization of historical simulacra will be used as a guide.



Thomas Leitch 

University of Delaware, USA


Thomas Leitch is Professor of English at the University of Delaware, where he teaches undergraduate courses in film and graduate courses in literary theory and cultural studies. His most recent books are The Oxford Handbook of Adaptation Studies (2017) and The History of American Literature on Film (2019).



The call for papers for the Second International Conference on Intersemiotic Translation is extraordinarily broad, inviting presentations on the transmedial entanglements of literature, theater, and film and their influence on the conceptualization and practice of translation and adaptation, on transmedial practices in translation and adaptation history and the concepts of translation and adaptation revisited within the framework of transmediality, on the movement of texts across different times and different media, from intertextuality to intermediality, from intermediality to transmediality, and on power relations and ethics in transmedial practices. I propose a keynote whose remit is still broader than any of these: the ways the traditional borders between fictional and nonfictional discourse have increasingly been called into question, the resulting battles over the frontiers between these two areas, and the movement from their occasional intermingling in genres like the historical novel, the biopic, and the counterfactual novel to the more systematic blurring of the borders between them, their programmatic substitution for each other, and perhaps the ultimate failure to distinguish between them in any universally accepted sense.

The most commonly remarked product of the intermingling or interchangeability of fiction and non-fiction is fake news: news reports whose bias, or whose dependence on unreliable sources, or whose frank substitutions of invented for observed facts renders them unreliable as news. But fake news, as I have observed elsewhere, is only the tip of a much larger iceberg, an historical development that is widely deplored but rarely analyzed with the rigor and historical perspective it deserves. Accepting the organizers’ call to expand the notion of transmedia popularized by Henry Jenkins, I propose to treat fiction and nonfiction as co-dependent media, each relying on the other for its definition, operating within what Peeter Torope and Maarja Ojamaa have called the mental space of culture. As filmed newsreels, tabloid newspapers, magazines that include both fictional stories and nonfictional articles, and television news, commercials, and infomercials remind us, fiction and nonfiction are not necessarily linked to specific presentational media like television, radio, cinema, mechanically reproduced images, or the printed word. Nonetheless, this presentation is an experiment in treating fiction and nonfiction as media, intermedia, and transmedia in order to consider what such a treatment might reveal about the forces behind contemporary intermedia, the utility of these labels, and specific audiences’ investment in choosing to tell, blur, or deny the difference between fiction and nonfiction. My hope is to follow the call for papers in illuminating some of the ways the transmedial turn from a sharp distinction between fiction and nonfiction to a transmedial way of thinking, or not thinking, that “foregrounds a major operational logic of culture that has become especially explicit in this era of new media developments”—and to follow the title of the conference in emphasizing the question mark at the end of the phrase “Transmedial Turn?”




Irina Rajewsky

Free University of Berlin, Germany


Irina Rajewsky is ‘Privatdozentin’ (private docent) at Freie Universität Berlin’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures as well as Principal Investigator of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies (FSGS). Her main areas of research are narratology (with a special focus on transmedial narratology), intermediality in theory and cultural practice, intertextuality, fictionality/factuality, meta-phenomena in literature and the other arts, author and narrator concepts, performativity; Italian and French literature of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. She has recently concluded a research project on “Mediality – Transmediality – Narration: Perspectives of a Transgeneric and Transmedial Narratology (Film, Theatre, Literature)”, funded by the German Research Foundation. Her most important publications include Intermedialität [Intermediality, 2002], Intermediales Er-zählen in der italienischen Literatur der Postmoderne [Intermedial Narrative Strategies in Postmodern Italian Fiction, 2003]. 



The aim of my paper is to discuss general theoretical issues concerning the concepts of inter- and transmediality, with a focus on current debates on digitally networked media and today’s convergence culture, and in particular on conceptual challenges that have arisen in this context for established approaches to inter- and transmediality (i.e. approaches developed predominantly on the basis of traditional media). In this connection, it should be remembered that any concept of inter- or transmediality is ultimately based on the assumption of a delimitability of “individual media” and thus on the assumption of (historically variable) medial specificities and differences. While this fundamental premise has been widely and controversially discussed within the intermediality debate already in the 2000s and early 2010s, mainly with regard to traditional media (and ultimately in the horizon of W.J.T. Mitchell’s well-known dictum “all media are mixed media”), it receives surprisingly little attention in current debates on digital transformation processes, media convergence, or our so-called “post-media condition”and the various other “post-terms” that go along with it (post-cinema, post-photography, post-tv, post-literature, etc.). This is all the more remarkable as the relevant debates emphasize precisely the general blurring, or dissolution, of traditional media boundaries in the digital age and radically question established notions of “individual media”, while at the same time the intermediality paradigm has gained considerable new momentum, especially in recent years, and the category of transmediality is finding ever broader resonance. What remains open in the vast majority of the respective contributions is to what extent and on which theoretical and conceptual basis it is still possible to speak meaningfully of inter- and transmediality if at the same time the assumption of “individual” or “distinct media” is fundamentally called into question. Moreover, given the fact that the concept of intermediality and especially that of transmediality is understood and used in (sometimes substantially) different ways in the various fields of study (e.g. transmedia studies vs. transmedial narratology), it is crucial to clarify what exactly is meant in each case, what the respective approaches aim at and what kind of heuristic value is attributed to the categories they use. In view of the central topic of this conference, we must therefore also ask what is actually at issue when we speak of a “transmedial turn” in terms of contemporary media culture.




Peeter Torop

University of Tartu, Estonia


Peeter Torop Professor of Semiotics of Culture (University of Tartu, Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, Department of Semiotics). He is a co-editor of journal Sign Systems Studies and book series Tartu Semiotics Library. His main fields of inquiry are semiotics of culture and Tartu-Moscow school, development of heritage of Juri Lotman and Mikhail Bakhtin, semiotics of translation, theory of culture, transmedia studies, and Dostoevsky studies. On these subjects, he has publised numerous papers – see Peeter Torop’s  academic CV.


Traditional translation studies uses the notion of seriality to describe the ontology of translation. The source text is unique but this unique text is translatable into other languages in hundreds of ways and it is impossible to talk about the absolute quality of translation. Every new translation is just a new text in the series. In the digital age, traditional translational activity has a new environment, it is a new cultural experience. In this context both the source text and the translation are transmedia texts and every “new translation or adaptation of a single original text is added to a cultural collection, which builds up as a structure of multiple textual channels” (Heller 2014). There appears a new seriality of translations: 1. A method of translation as an orientation to the transmedia world and complementary reading (seriality as a plurality of intersemiotic and intermedia versions of a text in the culture); 2. A method of translation as a digital mediation of the traditional translation (visual images, animated comments, examples of sounds, etc.). The dynamics of the cultural environment form a new ontology of translation: the translated text exists in the transmedia space together with remediated versions of the same text as part of cultural experience. This experience is based on „highly complex processes of interlingual and intersemiotic translation” (Bassnett 2014). Transmediality is an important reason for a new interpretation of Jakobson’s model (his tripartition between inter-, intralinguistic and intersemiotic translation). Revisions of this model have become an important part of translation studies. Intersemiotic translation has been interpreted in the context of multimodality (Pârlog 2019), instrumental and hermeneutic models (Venuti 2019), the categories of mode, medium, and genre (intra- and intermodal, intra- and transcultural, intra- and intermedial, intra- and intergeneric translation, Kaindl 2020). There are also polemical interpretations of intersemiotic translation. One aspect is the ambigious status of the notion of translation: “…what makes intersemiotic translation translation is not so much the end result but the process” Campbell, Vidal 2019). Another aspect is the misunderstanding of Jakobson who is suitable for semiotics but not for translation studies: “within Translation Studies, it is high time to stop casually citing Jakobson’s list of three kinds of translating” (Mossop 2019). My presentation is dedicated to the complex analysis of intersemiotic translation and the Jakobsonian model in the context of the methodology of translation studies and to conceptualizing a parametrical analysis of the processes of translation.





Lars Elleström

Linnæus University, Sweden


Lars Elleström is professor of Comparative Literature at Linnæus University, Sweden. He presides over the Linnæus University Centre for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies and chairs the board of the International Society for Intermedial Studies. Elleström has written and edited several books, including more recent Media Transformation: The Transfer of Media Characteristics among Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), Transmedial Narration: Narratives and Stories in Different Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) and Transmediations: Communication Across Media Borders (Routledge, 2020). He has also published numerous articles on poetry, intermediality, semiotics, gender, irony and communication. Elleström’s recent publications, starting with the article “The Modalities of Media: A Model for Understanding Intermedial Relations” (2010), have explored and developed basic semiotic, multimodal, and intermedial concepts aiming at a theoretical model for understanding and analyzing interrelations among dissimilar media.


The aim of this paper is to elaborate on a conceptual framework for analyzing and understanding truthfulness as a transmedial phenomenon. This framework encompasses a broad range of communicative forms including media types that one normally comprehends as very different in terms of truthful communication: news reports, photographs, testimonies, novels, songs, chats, caresses, scientific diagrams etc. It thus reaches far beyond the limited realm of language, and very far indeed beyond analysis of truth-values in single verbal propositions. Given that truthfulness is a profoundly transmedial phenomenon, it can be at least partly transmediated among also very different media types. The paper is theoretically founded on ideas from intermediality, multimodality and semiotics. Its core concept is Charles Sanders Peirce’s notion of index, which has been used surprisingly little in this research context. Indices are signs that evoke objects in the mind of the perceiver due to some real connections between signs and objects; they are signs based on contiguity. The paper argues that one may disentangle the complex issue of external truthfulness to some extent by way of investigating the many forms of contiguity and represented objects – material and mental – involved in communication through various media types. Finally, based on such a multifaceted notion of external truthfulness, the paper criticizes the standard notion of fictionality as it is commonly used in studies of literature, film and other artistic areas.