[New Publication] A complexity perspective on amateur translation networks

Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice

Volume 28, 2020 – Issue 4: Mapping Contemporary Audiovisual Translation in East Asia


Complexity theory is the study of complex systems composed of multiple interacting agents that function as a whole. A complexity-informed theory of social self-organisation is introduced and applied in this paper to explain the organisational behaviour of amateur translation networks. A case study is conducted on the self-organising dynamics of a group of Chinese amateur translators who collaborate to translate Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provided by overseas educational institutions. Focusing on the outcomes and behavioural patterns of the group’s operation, the case study uncovers mechanisms by which the group maintains and reproduces itself. The article concludes by discussing the implications of complexity thinking for the study of the organisational behaviour of amateur translation networks.