Participatory translation movements in the digital culture

In the digital culture, individuals are increasingly undertaking translation and interpreting activities, either in isolation, within self-organising communities, or as part of ad hoc networks in a variety of contexts and for a multitude of purposes.

The fast expanding category of voluntary, altruistic or non-professional translators and interpreters includes, for instance:

Digital interpreter using a computer
  • 'prosumers' working for the creative industries
  • members of fandom (sub)cultures
  • engaged individuals and activists involved in participatory movements of ideological and cultural resistance against prevailing socio-economic structures or values, including citizen media collectivities
  • altruists translating or interpreting on an ad hoc basis, either as an ‘add-on’ to their core professional services or to palliate the need for translators and interpreters in settings where stakeholders are unable to enlist the services of professionals.

CTIS research in this area draws on different theoretical frameworks to examine a range of peer production models of translation, including crowdsourcing and activism. The economic and cultural value generated by participatory translation and interpreting is investigated across a range of geographical contexts and technological platforms.

PhD projects

  • Lingjuan Fan: A Narrative Perspective on News Translation by Non-Professional Virtual Communities: The Case ofYeeyan
  • Luciana Kaross (2014) The Amateur Translation of Song Lyrics: A Study of Morrissey in Brazil (1985-2012)
  • Dang Li (2015) Amateur Translation and the Development of a Participatory Culture in China: A Netnographic Study of the Last Fantasy Fansubbing Group
  • Neil Sadler: Analysing Fragmented Narratives: Twitter Reporting of the 3 July 2013 Events in Egypt

Selection of related publications

  • Olohan, Maeve (2014) ‘Why Do you Translate? Motivation to Volunteer and TED Translation’, Translation Studies 7(1): 17-33.
  • Olohan, Maeve (2012) ‘Volunteer Translation and Altruism in the Context of a Nineteenth-century Scientific Journal’, The Translator 18(2): 193-215.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2014) ‘Translation and New(s) Media: Participatory Subtitling Practices in Networked Mediascapes’, in Juliane House (ed.) Translation: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 200-221.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2013) ‘Amateur Subtitling as Immaterial Labour in the Digital Media Culture’, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies19(2): 157-175.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2013) ‘Co-creational Subtitling in the Digital Media: Transformative and Authorial Practices’,International Journal of Cultural Studies 16(1): 3-21.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2012) ‘Amateur Subtitling and the Pragmatics of Spectatorial Subjectivity’, Language and Intercultural Communication 12(4): 335-353.
  • Pérez-González, Luis and Sebnem Susam-Sarajeva (2012) ‘Non-professionals Translating and Interpreting: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives’, The Translator 18(2): 149-165.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2010) ‘Ad-hocracies’ of Translation Activism in the Blogosphere: A Genealogical Case Study’, in Mona Baker, Maeve Olohan and María Calzada Pérez (eds) Text and Context: Essays on Translation and Interpreting in Honour of Ian Mason, Manchester: St Jerome Publishing, 259-287.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2007) 'Intervention in New Amateur Subtitling Cultures: A Multimodal Account', Linguistica Antverpiensia 6: 67-80.
  • Pérez-González, Luis (2006) 'Fansubbing Anime: Insights into the Butterfly Effect of Globalisation on Audiovisual Translation',Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 14(4): 260-277.
  • Susam-Sarajeva, Sebnem and Luis Pérez-González (eds) (2012)The Translator 18(2) - Special Issue (Non-professionals Translating and Interpreting: Participatory and Engaged Perspectives).

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