[CFP] Understanding Wikipedia’s Dark Matter: Translation and Multilingual Practice in the World’s Largest Online Encyclopaedia

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, 15-17 December 2021

First Call for Papers


Wikipedia is the world’s largest online encyclopaedia. It has 303 active language editions, which were accessed from 1.7bn unique devices during October 2020. Now over twenty years old, the encyclopaedia has been studied by academics working within a range of disciplines since the mid-2000s, although it is only relatively recently that it has started attracting the attention of translation scholars too. During a short space of time we have learnt a considerable amount about topics such as translation quality, translation and cultural remembrance, multilingual knowledge production and point of view, the prominent role played by narratives in articles reporting on news stories, and how translation is portrayed in multiple language versions of the Wikipedia article on the term itself. However, translation largely remains Wikipedia’s ‘dark matter’: not only is it difficult to locate, but researchers have so far struggled to map out the full extent of its contribution to this multilingual resource. Our aim in organising this international event is to allow the research community to take stock of the progress made so far and to identify new avenues for future work.


It is thus hoped that the conference will serve as a platform for interdisciplinary exchange on the latest developments in this area. Topics to be considered include but are not restricted to the following:

  • Research methodologies (e.g. identifying translated material; exploiting the Wikipedia ‘research ecosystem’; comparing content across multiple language editions; use of digital tools for data collection, analysis and visualisation; sentiment analysis);
  • Collaborativity vs. self-motivation among Wikipedia translator-editors, including the visibility of translator-editors on article Talk Pages;
  • Theoretical frameworks that have proven valuable for the study of Wikipedia translation (e.g. narrative theory, affect theory, critical discourse analysis);
  • The use of Wikipedia in the translation classroom;
  • The use of Wikipedia by translation professionals;
  • Research ethics and Wikipedia;
  • The nature of Wikipedia translation and how it differs not only from other more traditional types of translation but also from other newly emerging types;
  • Translation quality in Wikipedia;
  • How research into Wikipedia translation contributes to the digital turn in translation studies and/or to digital humanities;
  • Interdisciplinarity in research into Wikipedia translation, as well as research into the multilingual Wikipedia that makes no explicit reference to translation issues.

The conference will be one of the main research outputs from a research project funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (https://wikipediasdarkmatter.wordpress.com/). It is organised by the Centre for Translation and the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. We believe it will be the first major academic event dedicated to Wikipedia translation and hope that it will provide a strong basis for future collaboration and discussion.



We welcome proposals for paper and poster presentations in the form of an abstract of no more than 300 words. Please supply names, affiliations, e-mail addresses and short biographies (around 100 words) for all authors and specify a maximum of six keywords.

Submission deadline: Wednesday 12th May 2021

Notification of acceptance/rejection: Friday 30th July 2021

Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=uwdm2021

Length of presentations: 30 minutes (20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion). The language of the conference is English.



Conference website: https://ctn.hkbu.edu.hk/wikiconf2021 (expected to go live in mid-February)

Conference e-mail address: wikiconf@hkbu.edu.hk



We are hoping to be able to host the conference on a face-to-face basis at Hong Kong Baptist University although if need be we will take the decision nearer the time to change it to either online or mixed mode as appropriate.


Keynote speakers

Khaled Al-Shehari, Qatar University

Henry Jones, Aston University

Julie McDonough Dolmaya, York University

Jun Pan, Hong Kong Baptist University