Fansubbing in China: Technology-facilitated activism in translation (2017)

Fansubbing in China Technology-facilitated activism in translation

Dingkun Wang and Xiaochun Zhang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University / University of Bristol)

Source: Target, Volume 29, Number 2, 2017, pp. 301-318(18)

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company



Abstract. This paper seeks to explore the socio-political tensions between freedom and constraints in the Chinese fansubbing networks. It approaches the development of fansubbing in China as a process of technology democratisation with the potential to liberate ordinary citizens from authoritarian and commercial imperatives, enabling them to contest official state domination. The paper draws on the strategies adopted by fansubbing groups to organise their working practices and interactive social activities with a view to engaging target audiences. Both facets complement each other and bring to the fore the ‘gamified’ system of fansubbing networks. Gamification enables ordinary citizens to translate, distribute and consume foreign audiovisual products in a strategic move that pits collective activism against government dominance.

Keywords: fansubbing, China, technology, domination, gamification