Translation-mediated bilingual publishing as a development strategy

A content analysis of the language policies of peripheral scholarly journals




peripheral journals, bilingual publishing, academic translation, development strategy, content analysis


Local-language journals that include topics of regional interest and are published by regional institutions in the non-Anglophone world (peripheral journals, also called Global South journals in Development Studies) are underrepresented in major indexes and are struggling due to a lack of contributors, reviewers and financial support. Some have resorted to translation-mediated bilingual publishing as a development strategy to maintain their identity and increase their visibility and impact. To date, this strategy has received scant attention in the literature. The current research aims to explore why peripheral journals resort to the strategy and the ways in which it is put into practice. The overviews, instructions to authors and bilingually presented articles of 68 social science and humanities journals were reviewed through content analysis. The results suggest that the journals implement the strategy out of pragmatic and ideological concerns. It seems that the current use of translation as a development strategy is still an improvized mechanism instead of a standard model. Although many follow a similar pattern in some respects, there is a lack of management in the translation process and no agreed norms on cost coverage, translation strategy and presentation formats. This points to the necessity of further effort being expended to optimize the strategy in the future.

Author Biography

Xiangdong Li, Xi’an International Studies University, P. R. China.

Xiangdong Li is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies at Xi’an International Studies University. His research interests include curriculum design, didactics, assessment, and teaching English as a foreign language. His most recent articles can be found in Across Languages and Cultures, Babel, Perspectives, Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada, The Interpreters’ Newsletter, Translation and Interpreting Studies, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, English Today, and The Interpreter and Translator Trainer.


Aragón-Vargas, L. F. (2014). Multilingual publication as a legitimate tool to increase access to science. Pensar En Movimiento: Revista de Ciencias Del Ejercicio y La Salud, 12(2), 10–17.

Baldauf, R. B. (2001). Speaking of science: The use by Australian university science staff of language skills. In U. Ammon (Ed.), The dominance of English as a language of science: Effects on other languages and language communities (pp. 139–165). Mouton de Gruyter.

Bartholomäus, E., Goldbeck-Wood, S., Sewering, M., & Baethge, C. (2015). Experiences with bilingual publishing: Surveys of authors and editors. Learned Publishing, 28(4), 283–291. 0.1087/20150407

Bennett, K. (2013a). The translator as cultural mediator in research publication. In V. Matarese (Ed.), Supporting research writing: Roles and challenges in multilingual settings (pp. 93–106). Chandos.

Bennett, K. (2013b). English as a Lingua Franca in academia: Combating epistemicide through translator training. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 7(2), 169–193. 2013.10798850

Bocanegra-Valle, A. (2014). ‘English is my default academic language’: Voices from LSP scholars publishing in a multilingual journal. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 65–77.

Boéri, J. (2020). Activism. In M. Baker & G. Saldanha (Eds.), Routledge encyclopedia of translation studies (3rd ed., pp. 1–5). Routledge.

Burgess, S., & Lillis, T. (2013). The contribution of language professionals to academic publication: Multiple roles to achieve common goals. In V. Matarese (Ed.), Supporting research writing: Roles and challenges in multilingual settings (pp. 1–15). Chandos.

Burrough-Boenisch, J. (2019). Do freelance editors for academic and scientific researchers seek acknowledgement?: A cross-sectional study. European Science Editing, 45(2), 32–38.

Campbell, S. (2005). Chapter 2: English translation and linguistic hegemony in the global era. In G. Anderman & M. Rogers (Eds.), In and out of English: For better, for worse (pp. 27–38). Multilingual Matters.

Chan, L. T.-H. (2016). Beyond non-translation and “self-translation”: English as lingua academica in China. Translation and Interpreting Studies, 11(2), 152–176.

Cho, D. W. (2009). Science journal paper writing in an EFL context: The case of Korea. English for Specific Purposes, 28(4), 230–239.

Cianflone, E. (2014). Communicating science in international English: Scholarly journals, publication praxis, language domain loss and benefits. Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación, 57, 45–58.

Connor, U. M. (1996). Contrastive rhetoric: Cross-cultural aspects of second language writing. Cambridge University Press.

Di Bitetti, M. S., & Ferreras, J. A. (2016). Publish (in English) or perish: The effect on citation rate of using languages other than English in scientific publications. Ambio, 46(1), 121–127.

DiGiacomo, S. M. (2013). Giving authors a voice in another language through translation. In V. Matarese (Ed.), Supporting research writing: Roles and challenges in multilingual settings (pp. 107–119). Chandos. B978-1-84334-666-1.50007-2

Donovan, S. K. (2009). A decline to nothing?: The tenuous existence of the small journal. Learned Publishing, 22(4), 323–324.

Donovan, S. K. (2013). Death of a small journal? Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 44(3), 289–293.

Duszak, A. (1997). Cross-cultural academic communication: A discourse-community view. In A. Duszak (Ed.), Culture and styles of academic discourse (pp. 11–39.). Mouton de Gruyter. 9783110821048.11

Espinet, M., Izquierdo, M., & Garcia-Pujol, C. (2015). Can a Spanish science education journal become international?: The case of Enseñanza de las Ciencias. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 10, 1017–1031. s11422-013-9545-0

Farley, A. F. (2018). NNES RAs: How ELF RAs inform literacy brokers and English for research publication instructors. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 33, 69–81. 018.02.002

Ferguson, G. (2013). English, development and education: Charting the tensions. In E. J. Erling & P. Seargeant (Eds.), English and development: Policy, pedagogy and globalization (pp. 21–44). Multilingual Matters.

Flowerdew, J. (2008). Scholarly writers who use English as an additional language: What can Goffman’s “stigma” tell us? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7(2), 77–86.

Franco Aixelá, J. (2004). The study of technical and scientific translation: An examination of its historical development. The Journal of Specialised Translation, 1, 29–49. /art_aixela.pdf

Fuentes, R., & Gómez Soler, I. (2017). Foreign language faculty’s appropriation of an academic publishing policy at a US university. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 39(3), 195–209.

Gentil, G., & Séror, J. (2014). Canada has two official languages—Or does it?: Case studies of Canadian scholars’ language choices and practices in disseminating knowledge. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 17–30.

Getahun, D. A., Hammad, W., & Robinson-Pant, A. (2021). Academic writing for publication: Putting the ‘international’ into context. Research in Comparative and International Education, 16(2), 160–180.

Hempel, K. G. (2010). Übersetzen in den Geisteswissenschaften (Deutsch/Italienisch): Fachtexte der Klassischen Archäologie [Translation in the humanities (German/Italian): Specialist texts in classical archaeology]. In C. Heine & J. Engberg (Eds), Reconceptualizing LSP: Online proceedings of the XVII European LSP Symposium 2009 (pp. 1–13), Aarhus University.

Hempel, K. G. (2011). Presente e futuro del plurilinguismo nelle scienze umanistiche. Il tedesco e l’italiano in archeologia classica [Present and future of multilingualism in the humanities. German and Italian in classical archaeology]. Lingue e Linguaggi, 6, 49–88.

Hoorickx-Raucq, I. (2005). Mediating the scientific text: A cultural approach to the discourse of science in some English and French publications and TV documentaries. The Journal of Specialised Translation, 3, 97–108.

Ibáñez-Martín, J. A. (2018). Las revistas de investigación como humus de la ciencia, donde crece el saber [Research journals as the topsoil where scientific knowledge grows]. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 76(271), 541–554.

Jaspal, R. (2020). Content analysis, thematic analysis and discourse analysis. In G. M. Breakwell, D. B. Wright, & J. Barnett (Eds.), Research methods in psychology (5th ed., pp. 285–312). Sage.

Kanneh, K. (1997). Africa and cultural translation: Reading difference. In K. Ansell-Pearson, B. Parry, & J. Squires (Eds.), Cultural readings of imperialism: Edward said and the gravity of history (pp. 267–289). Lawrence & Wishart.

Kim, E.-Y. J. (2019). Korean scholars’ use of for-pay editors and perceptions of ethicality. Publications, 7(1), 21.

Kim, S., & Chesnut, M. (2016). Hidden lessons for developing journals: A case of North American academics publishing in South Korea. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 47(3), 267–283.

Klein, D. B., & Chiang, E. (2004). The Social Science Citation Index: A black box—with an ideological bias? Econ Journal Watch, 1(1), 134–165.

Kuteeva, M. (2014). The parallel language use of Swedish and English: The question of ‘nativeness’ in university policies and practices. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(4), 332–344.

Kuteeva, M., & Mauranen, A. (2014). Writing for publication in multilingual contexts: An introduction to the special issue. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 1–4. 10.1016/j.jeap.2013.11.002

Leclerc, C. (2005). Between French and English, between ethnography and assimilation: Strategies for translating Moncton’s Acadian Vernacular. TTR: Traduction, Terminologie, Rédaction, 18(2), 161–192.

Li, X. (2018). What is the publication language in humanities? The case of Translation Studies scholars. English Today, 35(2), 42–49.

Lillis, T., & Curry, M. J. (2006). Professional academic writing by multilingual scholars: Interactions with literacy brokers in the production of English-medium texts. Written Communication, 23(1), 3–35.

López-Navarro, I., Moreno, A. I., Ángel Quintanilla, M., & Rey-Rocha, J. (2015). Why do I publish research articles in English instead of my own language?: Differences in Spanish researchers’ motivations across scientific domains. Scientometrics, 103(3), 939–976.

Luo, N., & Hyland, K. (2019). “I won’t publish in Chinese now”: Publishing, translation and the non-English speaking academic. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 39, 37–47. 10.1016/j.jeap.2019.03.003

Marais, K. (2018). Translation and development. In J. Evans & F. Fernandez (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of translation and politics (pp. 95–109). Routledge. 621289-7

Martín Martín, P. (2003). A genre analysis of English and Spanish research paper abstracts in experimental social sciences. English for Specific Purposes, 22(1), 25–43. s0889-4906(01)00033-3

Maši?, I., Begi?, E., Donev, D. M., Gajovi?, S., Gasparyan, A. Y., Jakovljevi?, M., Miloševi?, D. B., Sinanovi?, O., Sokolovi?, Š., Uzunovi?, S., & Zerem, E. (2016). Sarajevo declaration on integrity and visibility of scholarly publications. Croatian Medical Journal, 57(6), 527–529. j.2016.57.527

Mauranen, A. (1993). Cultural differences in academic rhetoric: A textlinguistic study. Peter Lang.

McGrath, L. (2014). Parallel language use in academic and outreach publication: A case study of policy and practice. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 5–16. 013.10.008

McKenny, J., & Bennett, K. (2011). Polishing papers for publication: Palimpsests or procrustean beds?. In A. Frankenberg-Garcia, L. Flowerdew, & G. Aston (Eds.), New trends in corpora and language learning (pp. 247–262). Continuum.

Moed, H. F., de Moya-Anegon, F., Guerrero-Bote, V., & Lopez-Illescas, C. (2020). Are nationally oriented journals indexed in Scopus becoming more international?: The effect of publication language and access modality. Journal of Informetrics, 14(2), 101011. 101011

Mongeon, P., & Paul-Hus, A. (2016). The journal coverage of Web of Science and Scopus: A comparative analysis. Scientometrics, 106, 213–228.

Morley, G., & Kerans, M. E. (2013). Bilingual publication of academic journals: Motivations and practicalities. In V. Matarese (Ed.), Supporting research writing: Roles and challenges in multilingual settings (pp. 121–137). Chandos.

Mur-Dueñas, P. (2013). Spanish scholars’ research article publishing process in English-medium journals: English used as a lingua franca? Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 2(2), 315–340.

Muresan, L.-M., & Pérez-Llantada, C. (2014). English for research publication and dissemination in bi-/multiliterate environments: The case of Romanian academics. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 53–64.

Ordorika, I. (2018). Las trampas de las publicaciones académicas [The academic publishing trap]. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 76(271), 463–480.

Pérez-Rodríguez, M. A., García-Ruiz, R., & Aguaded, I. (2018). Comunicar: Calidad, visibilización e impacto [Communication: Quality, visibility and impact]. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 76(271), 481–498.

Pisanski Peterlin, A. (2005). Text-organising metatext in research articles: An English–Slovene contrastive analysis. English for Specific Purposes, 24(3), 307–319. j.esp.2004.11.001

Pisanski Peterlin, A. (2008). Translating metadiscourse in research articles. Across Languages and Cultures, 9(2), 205–218.

Pisanski Peterlin, A. (2016). Engagement markers in translated academic text: Tracing translators’ interventions. English Text Construction, 9(2), 268–291.

Pisanski Peterlin, A. (2019). Self-translation of academic discourse: The attitudes and experiences of authors-translators. Perspectives, 27(6), 846–860. 1538255

Pulišeli?, L., & Petrak, J. (2006). Is it enough to change the language?: A case study of Croatian biomedical journals. Learned Publishing, 19(4), 299–306.

Salager-Meyer, F. (2008). Scientific publishing in developing countries: Challenges for the future. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7(2), 121–132.

Salager-Meyer, F. (2014). Writing and publishing in peripheral scholarly journals: How to enhance the global influence of multilingual scholars? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 78–82.

Salager-Meyer, F. (2015). Peripheral scholarly journals: From locality to globality. Ibérica, 30, 15–36.

Schluer, J. (2014). Writing for publication in linguistics: Exploring niches of multilingual publishing among German linguists. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 16, 1–13.

Siepmann, D. (2006). Academic writing and culture: An overview of differences between English, French and German. Meta, 51(1), 131–150.

Sionis, C. (1995). Communication strategies in the writing of scientific research articles by non-native users of English. English for Specific Purposes, 14(2), 99–113.

Toscher, F. (2019). Die Fachsprache der Geschichtswissenschaft: Wissenstransfer – Subjektivität – Übersetzung [The technical language of historical science: Knowledge transfer – subjectivity – translation]. Frank & Timme.

Uzuner, S. (2008). Multilingual scholars’ participation in core/global academic communities: A literature review. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7(4), 250–263.

Van Parijs, P. (2004). Europe’s linguistic challenge. European Journal of Sociology, 45(1), 113–154.

Warcha?, K., & Zakrajewski, P. (2021). Multilingual publication practices in the social sciences and humanities at a Polish university: Choices and pressures. International Journal of Multilingualism. Advance online publication.

Wilmot, N. V., & Tietze, S. (2020). Englishization and the politics of translation. Critical Perspectives on International Business. Advance online publication.

Xu, X., Oancea, A., & Rose, H. (2021). The impacts of incentives for international publications on research cultures in Chinese humanities and social sciences. Minerva, 59, 469–492.

Zheng, Y., & Gao, A. X. (2016). Chinese humanities and social sciences scholars’ language choices in international scholarly publishing: A ten-year survey. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 48(1), 1–16.




How to Cite

Li, X. (2022). Translation-mediated bilingual publishing as a development strategy: A content analysis of the language policies of peripheral scholarly journals. Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies, 21.