CFP Translation and Disruption Revista Tradumatica 2018
Call For Papers
Revista Tradumàtica (2018) will feature a special “Dossier” section with the theme ‘Translation and Disruption: Global and Local Perspectives’.
Guest Editors: Akiko Sakamoto (University of Portsmouth), Jonathan Evans (University of Portsmouth), Olga Torres Hostench (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Since Clayton Christensen expounded in his seminal book Innovator’s Dilemma how a small-scale but innovative digital technology can overthrow large established businesses overnight, the idea of digital disruption has been causing both excitement and concern in businesses worldwide, from financial and legal services to entertainment distribution and the taxi industry. The world of translation is not immune to such upheavals and the notion of digital disruption is useful for understanding changes in translation practice. Translation is a double-edged sword in the digital world: producers, users and observers of translation can either disrupt or be disrupted.
When used innovatively, translation in new media can exert a disrupting power on the establishment, playing an infrastructural role that assists grassroots activists (Wolfsen and Funke 2014). Information is being translated on mobile devices and saving lives of the vulnerable in crisis situations (e.g. the work by Translators without Borders). Even in war zones, armed forces are trying to make use of translation technology (Rafael 2016). There is an international and multi-industrial drive for transforming translation into a sort of utility by making use of Big Data and automatization, so that translation will “push the evolution of human civilization” (www.taus.net/mission). Translation on Web 2.0 democratises the practice, making it available to amateurs, enabling them to engage in all sorts of creative, cultural activities on a global scale (including fansubbing, scanlation, romhacking and other forms of creative translation; see e.g. O’Hagan 2009). As Pym noted in 2012, “There are at least signs that the technologies may be both democratized and democratizing.”
At the same time, traditional notions and practices of translation can be vulnerable to the power of technology. The visibility and agency of professional translators are affected by the advent of machine translation. Increasing emphasis on speed and low-cost is putting enormous pressures on translators. They are now facing the challenge of “incorporate(ing) and defend(ing) chrono-diversity in their working practices in the context of the time-space compression and near instantaneous communication”, which is not just about working conditions but “(p)art of the ethical challenge for translators” (Cronin, 2013, pp. 94-95). Translators are not the only ones facing such vulnerability. Project Managers of Language Service Providers are affected too, as they are expected to play technologically more demanding but culturally and linguistically more limited roles in the digitalised network (Risku, Rossmanith, Reichelt & Zenk 2013).
When looked at from an economic viewpoint, the digital marketplace is bringing a wide range of disorders to conventional industry practice (Moorkens, 2017; Pym, Orrego-Carmona & Torres-Simón, 2016). Translation is increasingly bought and sold on the digital marketplace (Garcia 2015), transforming the way relationships and trust are shaped between translators and users. In this rapidly changing landscape, it is difficult to foresee what direction the power dynamics of agencies will take.
This special issue aims to answer some of the numerous questions that remain unanswered about translation and other digital technologies. How well are we taming these powerful tools for the benefit of human lives? What advantages are we getting and will we get from technology? What are the power dynamics behind all these developments?
We seek contributions that consider any of a wide range of digital technologies: machine translation, CAT tools, crowdsourcing, social media, mobile devices, speech recognition, remote interpreting, VLEs and MOOCs (for education). Submissions which will stimulate dialogues between different disciplines such as Translation Studies, Computer Science, Computational Linguistics, Sociology, Anthropology, Cultural Studies and Economics are particularly welcome.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Digital disruption: the reality of the translation industry?
- The sociality of digital tool use in the history of translation
- Who should become machine translation post editors?
- Ethical and/or efficient data collection methods for machine translation training
- Translators as activists in the digital space
- Influence of technologies on human agencies of translation
- Influence of new digital tools to translator’s/user’s cognition
- Translation on social media
- Translator as prosumer
- Economy of digital disruption in translation
- Influence of translation technologies on language learning
- Innovative use of technologies in translation education
We welcome contributions of full-length articles of no more than 3000 words, or proposals of approximately 500 words (including some relevant bibliography), to be submitted to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 15 December 2017. Author guidelines are available at:
All contributions will be peer-reviewed.
- Submission of proposals or articles: 15th December 2017
- Acceptance of proposals: 15th January 2018
- Submission of articles: 15th March 2018
- Acceptance of articles: 30th April 2018
- Re-submission of accepted articles with changes: 30th June 2018
- Review of accepted articles with changes: 31st July 2018
- Publication: October-November 2018
Please send questions to guest editor Akiko Sakamoto at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christensen, C. M. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.
Cronin, M. (2013). Translation in the digital age. London: Routledge.
Garcia, I. (2015). Cloud marketplaces: Procurement of translators in the age of social media. The Journal of Specialised Translation 23, 18–38.
Moorkens, J. (2017). Under pressure: translation in times of austerity. Perspectives, 25(3), 1–14.
O’Hagan, M. (2009). Evolution of user-generated translation: fansubs, translation hacking and crowdsourcing. The Journal of Internationalisation and Localisation 1, 94–121.
Pym, A. (2012). Democratizing translation technologies – the role of humanistic research. In V. Cannavina & A. Fellet (Eds.), Language and Translation Automation Conference (pp. 14–29). Rome: The Big Wave.
Pym, A., Orrego-Carmona, D., & Torres-Simón, E. (2016). Status and technology in the professionalization of translators. Market disorder and the return of hierarchy. The Journal of Specialised Translation 25, 33–53.
Rafael, V. (2016). Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press.
Risku, H., Rossmanith, N., Reichelt, A., & Zenk, L. (2013). Translation in the network economy. In C. Way (Ed.), Tracks and treks in translation studies: selected papers from the EST Congress, Leuven 2010 (pp. 29–48). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
TAUS. (n.d.). Mission. Retrieved from www.taus.net/mission
Wolfson, T., & Funke, P. N. (2016). The contemporary epoch of struggle Anti-austerity protests, the Arab uprisings and Occupy Wall Street. In M. Baker (Ed.), Translating dissent: voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution (pp. 60–73). New York: Routledge.
Photo by Flickr user Jenny Laird (see original), used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.