Dr Dimitris Asimakoulas

Dr Dimitris Asimakoulas

Deputy Director (Centre for Translation Studies) Programme Director (MRes in Translation and Interpreting Studies)
+441483 689913
Mondays 13:00-14:00 and Tuesdays 16:00-17:00


Affiliations and memberships

Anglistica, The Translator, Meta, Intralinea, Palgrave McMillan, Routledge, Alif, JosTrans
Modern Greek Studies Association


Research interests


Postgraduate research supervision



Dimitris Asimakoulas (2023)Your translated memory or mine? Re-membering graphic novels in performed audio descriptions for the Cartoon Museum, London, In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics Taylor and Francis Group

This article offers a practical and theoretical exploration of a (highly) specialised type of comics re-mediation, namely, audio described (AD) comics for the Blind and Partially Sighted (BPS). Building on relevant work in comics studies and translation studies, it is argued that translation activity, broadly seen to include interlingual as well as intersemiotic translation (Jakobson 2000), helps rewrite original works. Translation is defined as a blend, or a hybrid mental space combining characteristics of source and target contexts. As such, it entails the imbrication of personal memory, collective memory and the diffusion of a translator’s memory in linguistic codes, social milieus, textual traditions and digital capabilities at play. AD exhibits the same blend logic in that it selectively contains visual source-text information in target-text audio performance. An exploratory comics AD pilot project at The Cartoon Museum (London) serves as exemplar. The project consists of three phases: a focused interview with the creative team (describer, curator, comic artists); scripting and performance of three AD samples; and collecting feedback from BPS visitors. The project reveals how collective memory started to form in this dialogic process and, ultimately, which aspects of AD practice may be deemed to be effective.

Ana Guerberof-Arenas, Dimitris Asimakoulas (2024)Creative skills development: training translators to write in the era of AI, In: Hermes63 Aarhus University

Developers of generative artificial intelligence systems promote the idea of personal assistants for various tasks, including translation and authoring creative content. As a consequence of these developments, the topic of “human” creativity has moved centre stage. Acknowledging similarities between translation and creative writing, this article offers a critical discussion of intersecting areas and suggests a framework for creative skills couched in the tradition of social sciences research. As a practical application with pedagogical impact, the paper presents a new module on writing specifically designed for translators. As is argued, the conceptual design, content, mode of delivery and evaluation of potential pedagogical benefits may be replicable in other pedagogical settings at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The role of technology is also problematised, indicating how writing may be augmented by using tools. Ideally, this is to be done in a context where creativity upskilling can equip students with the ability to (de)select context-appropriate solutions, that is, to use convergent and divergent thinking, ultimately preparing them to play a fundamental role in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Dimitris Asimakoulas (2019)Rewriting Humour in Comic Books Springer International Publishing

Humour in comic books may be one of the most memorable aspects of reading, one that may motivate cultural producers to innovate and agents of translation to overcome publication and linguistic barriers. The comic book adaptations of Aristophanes’ plays is an excellent case in point. These comic books have been immensely successful and their translations were commissioned in two locales, Greece and Turkey. Using a graphic style-inspired approach to humour and the concept of ‘rewriting’ as a unifying thread, this book sheds light on how and why humour travels across cultures and time. As is argued, the Aristophanic comic series is part of a long chain of interventions that give the inherent universality of Aristophanic thematics a new lease of life. These interventions may be professional/logistic, ideological and broadly artistic, or, specifically in the case of translators, textual, as seen in reconfigured interrelations between the verbal and visual channels.

DIMITRIS ASIMAKOULAS (2020)Rewriting, In: Gabriela Saldanha, Mona Baker (eds.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies Routledge

This entry constitutes a critical presentation of the theory of rewriting proposed by André Lefevere (1945-1996), highlighting the main pillars of this systemic theory of translation (literary conventions, ideology, networks of institutions and social agents) as well as the strengths and weaknesses that have given his ideas great currency in Translation Studies. The article showcases some of the least cited aspects of Lefevere’s work on anthologizing, editing, reviewing and historiography. It also takes stock of how his ideas have been extended to performed texts (drama), (multimodal) adaptations, literary criticism, censorship of children’s literature and journalism ethnography. In terms of future directions, the complexities and ideological aporias of such diverse phenomena as scanlation, brand vandalism and the subtitling are presented as rich seams to mine.

Dimitris Asimakoulas (2018)Synchrony issues in comics. Language transfer and gender-specific characterisation in English translations of Greek Aristophanic comics, In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics9(4)pp. 350-372 Taylor & Francis

In the last few years, two veritably burgeoning areas, comics studies and translation studies have asserted their autonomy by addressing specificities of form and context of production/reception. Acknowledging similarities between these two fields, and highlighting the role of translation as a conduit of cultural flows and representations, this article explores linguistic transfer and male/female characterisation in the English translations of Assembly of Women and Ladies’ Day. The two comics are adaptations of Aristophanic playtexts and their translations were launched as part of the general educational mission of a Greek publishing house, Metaichmio. Originals and translations are compared with the help of categories of synchrony, a concept traditionally used in audiovisual translation and adapted here to indicate alignment between text and visuals in translation: kinetic synchrony (movement and gestures), content synchrony (contextual equivalence), isochrony (text volume) and character synchrony (performative preferences for individual characters). Despite a general emphasis on space constraints in the literature, a bilingual comics corpus compiled here shows patterns of creative rewriting affecting characterisation.

D Asimakoulas (2005)Brecht in Dark Times. Translations of His Works Under the Greek Junta (1967-1974), In: Target17(1)pp. 93-110 John Benjamins Publishing Company

This paper will place Brecht’s published works within the socio-political context of the Greek junta (1967–1974). After preventive censorship was lifted in 1969, a massive import of Brecht’s works occurred. Brecht was immediately incorporated in the recently established tradition of serious books addressing important social issues, bringing the reader closer to modern thought and kindling the desire for democracy. Two of the most influential publishers of the time published Brecht’s works and actively subscribed to this trend of defiance against the regime in the publishing industry. The publishers’ activity as well as the content and paratextual elements of Brecht’s works they launched constituted instantiations of the discursive motif of dark times introduced by Brecht himself to describe oppression and distortion of truth.

D Asimakoulas (2009)Translating 'Self' and 'Others' Waves of Protest Under the Greek Junta., In: The Sixties: a journal of history, politics and culture2(1)pp. 25-47 Taylor and Francis

The Greek junta (1967-1974) can be seen as the as the most recent black page of modern Greek history. It is mostly remembered in terms of shocking oppression as well as for the massive antiauthoritarian student movement that took place in a global sixties context. This paper summarizes significant protest activities under the Greek junta, an authoritarian regime that was in a state of flux. Events are categorized under three broad protest waves: passive resistance/clandestine activities, elaborate cultural activity and mass mobilization. As is shown, networks of resistance developed gradually with the convergence of the needs of various sectors or society. Effective opposition meant resorting to “meaningful” discourse in an authoritarian context. The role of culture in this context proved to be instrumental, because it served as the arena where this meaningful discourse was interpreted and re-interpreted against the backdrop of local and global demands. Cultural activity and consumption morphed into ideological and organizational preparation that eventually determined the stakes of an open antiauthoritarian movement.

Dimitris Asimakoulas (2016)Aristophanes in Comic Books: Adaptation as Metabase, In: Meta (Montréal)61(3)pp. 553-577 Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal

Translation studies researchers have for a long time critically engaged with the idea of translation being a mode of creative rewriting across media and cultural or temporal divides. Adaptation studies experts use a similar premise to study products, processes and reception of adaptations for specific locales. This article combines such perspectives in order to shed light on an under-researched area of comic adaptation: this is the metabase, or transfer, of Aristophanic comedies to the comic book format in Greek and their subsequent translation into English for an e-book edition (Metaichmio Publications 2012). The paper suggests a model for the close reading of creative transfer based on Lefèvre’s (2011; 2012) typology of formal properties of comics and Attardo’s (2002) General Theory of Verbal Humour. As is shown, visual rhythm and text-image relations create a rich environment for anachronism, parody, comic characterisation and ideological comments, all of which serve a condensed plot. The English translation rewrites cultural/ideological references, amplifies obscenity and emphasizes narrator visibility, always taking into consideration the mise en scène.

D Asimakoulas (2016)How Balkan am I? Translation and cultural intimacy through an Albanian-Greek lens, In: METApp. 439-458 Les Presses de L'universite de Montreal

Historiographers, anthropologists and cultural studies experts have shown that discussions of identity in or about the Balkans have been traditionally linked to a sense of ‘deficiency’. Given the history of conflict, the drive towards greater European integration and the effects of the current economic crisis in the region, there is an urgency to deconstruct such ideologies. This article shows how Herzfeld’s approach to Balkan marginality may be productively extended to cover cultural and translation critique. Thus his concept of cultural intimacy is applied to stories of migration. Two Greek works are examined: Gazmend Kapllani’s semi-autobiographic novel A Short Border Diary (2006), translated into English by Marie Stanton-Ife, and Filippos Tsitos’ film Plato’s Academy (2009), subtitled into English. Both works have set a precedent in terms of audience reception and as documents of a historical cycle, the migration of thousands of Albanians to Greece after the collapse of communism. Translation and subtitling into English respectively show that the written and the audiovisual medium present different opportunities for conveying Balkan otherness.

D Asimakoulas (2012)Dude (looks like a lady): Hijacking Transsexual Identity in the subtitled version of Strella by Panos Koutras, In: The Translator18(1)pp. 45-75 St Jerome Publishing Ltd

Problematizing and relativizing components of culture and identity are a constant theme in translation studies, yet there are fields where culture and identity are radically deconstructed, rather than problematized and relativized; such is the case in the uncharted area of transgenderism. By definition, transgenderism entails both great freedom and great constraints with respect to shaping physical and discourse parameters of identity. Taking Cromwell’s (2006) concept of ‘transsituated identities’ as a point of departure, this article discusses the English subtitles for the cinema in Koutras’ recent film Strella (2009). It demonstrates that the filmic language of Strella adopts strategies which are geared towards unsettling fixed hierarchies in society. Harvey’s (2000) grid of strategies – namely, ludicrism, inversion, paradox and parody – is extended here for the analysis of filmic language. The analysis reveals that the move from a minor code (Greek) into a lingua franca, within the context of a transgender subculture, leads to recurrent shifts in the semiotic load of these resources in translation.

D Asimakoulas (2009)Framing Brecht and the Greek Student Movement (1972-1973), In: META54(2)pp. 233-247 PRESSES UNIV MONTREAL

This paper examines the subversive function of an anthology of Bertolt Brecht’s political essays that was published in Greece at the time the student movement was emerging. The collection was launched in 1971, four years after the military coup in Greece. Drawing on the notion of ‘frame’ from social movements theory, the paper focuses on the trajectory of the Greek student movement and the main ‘frames’ that brought it forward as the most successful form of resistance against the junta. Then the paper illustrates how the Brecht anthology in particular captures the general climate of cultural and political opposition that created the resonance deemed necessary for the success of the student movement.

D Asimakoulas (2011)Systems and the Boundaries of Agency: Translation as a Site of Opposition, In: D Asimakoulas, M Rogers (eds.), Translation and Oppositionpp. 1-36 Multilingual Matters Ltd

This chapter starts off by analysing the oppositional frames of reference animated by a translated text used by a Greek broadsheet newspaper during the December 2008 riots in Athens: a skewed modern Greek translation of an excerpt from Isocrates’ Areopagiticus speech that decries the equation of real democracy to unlimited freedom/anarchy. Taking the contextual embeddedness of this short text as the point or departure, the chapter discusses how translators, interpreters and subtitlers as mediators have a pivotal role to play in identifying dividing lines between ‘us’ and cultural and political ‘others’. Dynamic groupings and (counteractive) regroupings of textual repertoires, of ideas, and of social groups thus map out three areas of investigation: ‘rewriting’, including the texts with the ideas or poetological values that characterise them and the institutions of patronage that allow patterns of action and value-formation to emerge; the active agency of translators, subtitlers and interpreters who may decide to align themselves with structures around them or oppose them; the interacting social fields involved, that is, the greater (often conflictive) social forces that provide a context for action, with distinct ‘stakes’, conditions, and gate-keeping rules.

D Asimakoulas (2006)Fear and Misery of the Third Reich... and the Greek Junta, In: Norwich Papers - Studies in Translation: Identities: The Role of Translation in Global and National Contexts14 University of East Anglia
D Asimakoulas (2009)Framing Brecht and the Greek Student Movement (1972-1973), In: META54(2)pp. 233-247 PRESSES UNIV MONTREAL

This paper examines the subversive function of an anthology of Bertolt Brecht's political essays that was published in Greece at the time the student movement was emerging. The collection was launched in 1971, four years after the military coup in Greece. Drawing on the notion of frame from social movements theory, the paper focuses on the trajectory of the Greek student movement and the main frames that brought it forward as the most successful form of resistance against the junta. Then the paper illustrates how the Brecht anthology in particular captures the general climate of cultural and political opposition that created the resonance deemed necessary for the success of the student movement.

D Asimakoulas (2007)Translation as social action: Brecht's 'political texts' in Greek, In: TTR: Traduction, Terminologie et Redaction20(1)pp. 113-140

This paper places an influential anthology of Brecht's texts in the context of the Greek junta (1967-1974). Drawing on the sociological work of Pierre Bourdieu, it shows how the text constitutes an euphemisation of the power of a politically active publisher who opposed the regime with what came to be seen as 'social art' by various agents of the publishing field at the time. It also demonstrates how the tactical presentation of the material in the anthology helps map the oppression of the Nazi rule onto the junta while identifying a 'plural-self' that opposes symbolic and physical violence.

Dimitris Asimakoulas, Margaret Rogers (2011)Translation and Opposition Multilingual Matters

Translation and Opposition is an edited volume that brings together cultural and sociological perspectives by examining translation through the prism of linguistic/cultural hybridity and inter/intra-social agency. In a collection of diverse case studies, ranging from the translation of political texts to interpreting in concentration camps, the book explores issues of power struggle, ideology, censorship and identity construction. The contributors to the volume show how translators, interpreters and subtitlers as mediators put their specific professional and ethical competences to the test by treading the dividing lines between constellations of ‘in-groups’ and cultural or political ‘others’.

D Asimakoulas (2013)Migrant Bitter Wit: Translating a Coping Mechanism in Gazmend Kapllani’s Mικρό Ημερολόγιο Συνόρων, In: New Voices in Translation Studies10pp. 1-20 St Jerome Publishing

The understanding that humour constitutes an identity marker with a positive as well as an alienating function cuts across traditional approaches to social identity theories of humour and satire. This article melds such strands of humour by suggesting a concept that may serve as a unifying principle when identifying relevant comic excerpts, namely, the concept of migrant bitter wit. A Greek novel by Gazmend Kapllani and its English translation will be used to illustrate how the coping functions of this type of humour may be reframed in the target text, thus resulting in a shift of voice. The ventriloquising ‘migrant loser’ is presented in a more accessible, sardonic light that makes the dominant rhetorical purpose of the novel more salient.

D Asimakoulas (2017)Waves of Protest
D Asimakoulas (2009)Rewriting, In: M Baker, G Saldanha (eds.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studiespp. 241-246 Routledge
D Asimakoulas (2015)Joining the Dots in Translation History: the First Brecht Anthologies in Greece, In: SKASE Journal of Translation and Interpretation8(1)pp. 2-25 Slovak Association for the Study of English

The important questions any project on translation history may ask can be distilled into three basic queries: Where can change be observed? Which intermediaries are involved? What materials are relevant? This article focuses on a moment when such a change occurred, namely, the move from preventive censorship to ostensible freedom of expression in Greece in 1970. New publishing houses appeared at this point and sought to make up for lost ground. The article discusses the role of selected intermediaries who can be credited with the first ‘resistance’ anthologies during this transitional period, two anthologies of Brecht’s poetry. As is shown, principles of selection, arrangement and presentation for this previously neglected genre of Brecht’s oeuvre can be seen against the backdrop of a habitus of cultural ambassadorship that was just emerging. A critical overview of information gleaned from translation catalogues, interviews, memoirs and the translated texts themselves, shows that the two anthologies indeed constituted a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.