[New Publication] Targeted individuals: Personalised advertising and digital media translation

By Jan Buts

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/ts.20048.but


This article argues that researchers in Translation Studies may proactively aim to understand the consequences of an envisaged merger between targeted advertising and automated translation. Functional translation software is widely available online, and several platforms now perform instant translation, sometimes without asking the user whether this is required. Indeed, the user’s main language is known to various applications, which keep track of this information along with other settings and preferences. Data tracking is commonly used to produce targeted advertising: people receive commercial information about products they are likely to be interested in. If text can instantly be altered according to a user’s linguistic preferences, it can also be altered according to aesthetic, commercial, or political preferences. The article discusses theoretical and ideological aspects of the sociotechnical evolution towards the production and consumption of personalised content, highlighting the role translation may come to play.