EPISTRAN – Epistemic Translation: Towards an Ecology of Knowledges



  • Project identification: EPISTRAN – Epistemic Translation: Towards an Ecology of Knowledges
  • Principal investigators: Karen Bennet & Marco Neves (CETAPS)
  • Duration: 2023 – 2024
  • Funding entities: CETAPS (through the strategic program UIDB/04097/2020 and UIDP/04097/2020), supported by the following R&D units: CHAM, CICS, CRIA, CLUNL, IFILNOVA, CEAUL, CECC.
  • Website: https://www.epistran.org/


Responding to a challenge raised by Douglas Robinson in the conclusion of his book Translationality (2017: 200-202), this transdisciplinary research project uses concepts, methods and theories from Translation Studies to investigate the semiotic processes (verbal and nonverbal) involved in the transfer of information between different ‘epistemic systems’. The main focus is on the relationship between technical ‘scientific’ knowledge (i.e. the kind of knowledge which purports to be objective, rational and universal) and the various embedded, embodied and subjective forms of knowledge that have served as its Others in different times and places. Starting from the assumption that these are different modes of discourse and thus susceptible to translational operations, the project seeks to investigate the mechanisms at work in three distinct areas:

Science and Humanities – how specialist science is reformulated into popular and educational science, or reworked into imaginative literature, audiovisual content or even works of art

Knowledges of the World – how forms of epistemic translation are/can be used to transmit scientific and medical knowledge to indigenous communities in the Global South, and, conversely, how indigenous knowledges from these regions are/can be translated into formats that are meaningful to the North

The Invention of Science – the translational processes involved in the Early Modern transition to a scientific mode of inquiry

The research, which makes use of methods drawn from Descriptive Translation Studies, supplemented with considerations from recent work in the fields of multimodality, neuroscience and information technology, is conducted by a transdisciplinary team with a shared interest in translation.

[Retrieved from the project website]

CLUNL team

Rute Costa
Federica Vezzani