Qian Bao 
(School of Foreign Languages, Dalian University of Technology, China)

Research on the Cognitive Mapping and Projecting by APP-using Translation Students

Translation students are increasingly exploiting the translation mobile applications (APPs) on their smart phones. From the perspective of cognitive linguistics, such growth in APP dependence raises significant challenges in terms of describing the complex decision-making tasks involved in the translation process.

The primary purpose of this study is to explore the cognitive psychological effort of APP-using translation students during the translation process. Ten undergraduate translation students were allowed to employ the ‘Baidu Translation APP’ during their translation task and a qualitative method was applied in the analysis of the data collected. The study involved developing an analytic framework, based on Fauconnier’s Mental Space Theory, Conceptual Integrating Theory and Contextual Parameters Theory, and examined the subjects’ mapping and projecting effort via specific translation tasks. The results reveal the complexity of the cognitive psychological effort of the subjects during the translation process. Specifically, undergraduate translation students must fully activate their structures of cognitive associations and various schemata and carry out the interactive mapping of each psychological space and conceptual integration in a repeated manner, before they can accomplish the temporary reconstruction of the meaning of the source text. This process is inevitably influenced by a variety of factors, including both the linguistic and non-linguistic contexts of the source text, and varying levels of cognitive competence, linguistic proficiency and cultural differences among the translators. Most importantly, when their own cognitive and interpretive processes suggest choices that are not in accordance with the APP’s suggested version, the translators are inclined to adapt their choices to comply with the recommendations of the software. The implications of these findings for pedagogical decisions in designing undergraduate translation courses in the APP era are explored.


Fauconnier, Gilles. (1994). Mental Spaces: Aspects of Meaning Construction in Natural language. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

Fauconnier, Gilles, & Turner, Mark. (1998). Conceptual Integration Networks. Cognitive Science, 22 (2): 133–187.

Fauconnier, Gilles. (1997). Mappings in Thought and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Qian Bao is a Lecturer in Translation Studies and in English at the School of Foreign Languages, Dalian University of Technology, China. Her research interests lie in translation of Chinese cultural classics into English, cognitive approaches to translation, and translator training.

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Jan Buts
(Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK)

Corpus Linguistics, Alchemy, and that Obscure Object of Translation Studies

Corpus linguistics is rooted in the translation of magical formulae. Malinowski, during his ethnographic excursions to the Pacific, was confronted with the difficulty of explaining to his readers words and phrases that, on first impression, seemed ‘meaningless’ or ‘untranslatable’ (Malinowski 1935/2002: 213). The issue led him to believe that meaning is largely dependent on context, and that the specific function of an utterance, with regard to the environment in which it is used, is the only point of reference for its interpretation. The path that leads from Malinowski to Firth and from Firth to Sinclair, the pioneer of corpus-based research, is well-trodden. This paper seeks to address a residual aspect of this handed-down tradition that is often obscured by the empirical claims of corpus linguistics, namely the magical imagination inherent in conjuring up concordances.

Firstly, the presentation will draw parallels between the presentation of linguistic data in the concordance browser, the repetitive structure of the spiritual mantra, and the surrealist mode of intellectual elucidation through the quasi-random juxtaposition of semiotic elements. Secondly, the resemblance between alchemy and corpus linguistics will be addressed through a consideration of the ancient belief in the possibility of creating a miniature artificial body: the corpus as homunculus (Paracelsus 2003: 153). The simultaneity of mutability and essentialism that informs alchemical experimentation will then serve to enlighten the curious corpus-linguistic coupling of determinism and indeterminacy. These considerations will shed light on the scrupulous ritualism with which corpus-based studies avoid the full application of the field’s own enigmatic formulae, e.g. ‘There is ultimately no distinction between form and meaning’ (Sinclair 1991: 7). Finally, it is the difficulty in applying such relational principles that brings the story back home. As illustrated by the winding discussions on equivalence that permeate the history of translation studies, charting out relations makes the object disappear.


Malinowski, Bronislaw (1935/2002) Coral Gardens and their Magic: A study of the methods of tilling the soil and of agricultural rites in the Trobriand Islands II – The language of magic and gardening (Collected Works Volume VIII), Abingdon: Routledge.

Paracelsus (2003) ‘Paracelsus (1493-1541): From Of the Nature of Things and Paracelsus His Aurora’, in Linden, Stanton J. (ed.) The Alchemy Reader: From Hermes Trismegistus to Isaac Newton, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sinclair, John (1991) Corpus, Concordance, Collocation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jan Buts is a PhD candidate at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, and a participant in its Genealogies of Knowledge project. He is currently conducting corpus-linguistic analyses of the recent linguistic trajectory of key concepts pertaining to the body politic.

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Chung An Chang (Steven Chang)
(Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation, National Taiwan Normal University)

Qian Zhongshu’s Concept of huajing and the Question of Interdisciplinarity

Chan (2004:3) argues that contrary to their counterparts in the West, who are more analytical and philosophical in their approach to translation, “Chinese translation theorists are prone to vague, impressionistic assertions concerning translations”. This applies even to a theorist such as Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998), who is arguably the most learned in the field and whose diverse fields of knowledge extend to both East and West: Qian’s acclaimed concept of huajing (the realm of transformation), Chan claims, “contains hidden echoes of similar terminology from traditional Chinese poetics” and is “marked by even greater imprecision” (ibid.:8). Against this background, I will argue that Qian’s theorizing of translation cannot be simply categorized as impressionistic or vague but is valuable in its polysemic manifestations that not only expand our understanding of translation but also raise questions about the connection between conceptualizations of translation and the nature of interdisciplinarity. Qian’s theorizing of translation, which is seen by Chan as vague and experiential, anticipates Hermans’ assertion that “the term ‘translation’ has no fixed, inherent, immanent meaning” and that “translation cannot be defined a priori, once and for all” (1999:144). The lack of a precise definition of translation in Qian’s work is also in line with Tymoczko’s idea that translation can be likened to Wittgenstein’s “cluster concept”, which “cannot be defined in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions” (2014:107). Conceptualizing translation as huajing further has interdisciplinary value because “interdisciplinarity in the humanities, necessary, exciting, serious, must seek its heuristic and methodological basis in concepts rather than methods” (Bal 2002:5). Qian’s theorizing addresses the multifaceted nature of the Chinese word yi 譯 (to translate), which has etymological and polysemic connections with you誘 (to entice), mei 媒 (to transmit), e 訛 (to misrepresent), and hua化 (to transform), ultimately asserting that the highest ideal of translation is to reach huajing or “the realm of transformation”. In this respect, Qian’s theorizing of translation is rich in its connection with Western theories as well as its potential to initiate a conceptual connection with other disciplines.


Bal, Mieke (2002). Travelling Concepts in the Humanities: A Rough Guide. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Chan, Leo Tak-hung (2004). Twentieth-Century Chinese Translation Theory: Modes,issues, and debates. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Hermans, Theo (2009). Translation in Systems: Descriptive and System-Oriented Approaches Explained. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Tymoczko, Maria (2014). “Cultural Hegemony and the Erosion of Translation Communities,” in S. Berman and C. Porter (2014) A Companion to Translation Studies. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, pp.165-178.

Steven Chang is currently a PhD student of translation studies at the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation in National Taiwan Normal University. He holds a MA in English language teaching from University of Nottingham and a MA in language studies at City University of Hong Kong. He has broad interests in humanity studies and has published some articles about translation and language teaching, translation and metaphor, translation and philosophy. He is now working on his thesis on Qian Zhongshu’s translation concept and the aesthetic and philosophical value of Qian’s concept in current discourse of translation studies. He has recently co-authored and published a textbook on translation learning: 翻譯進修講堂:180則真實譯作的辨誤分析[Error Analysis of English-Chinese Translation] Taipei: Jong Wen Books. 2016.

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Xiaowei Chen 
(Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, China)

New Rhetoric and Translation Studies: Promises and Challenges

This presentation outlines an approach to theorizing translation from a rhetorical perspective and discusses the promises and challenges this new paradigm may bring to the existing landscape, with the aim of widening the scope of investigation and achieving a better understanding of how translation functions in the world.

Growing out of traditional rhetorical theory, New Rhetoric focuses on social interaction as its central concern and understands rhetoric as encompassing the use of symbols by human beings to reach agreement, with the further goal of eliciting action and a change in attitudes. Translation, a special mode of discourse that plays an active role in shaping social interaction, is in turn understood as a rhetorical practice. Focusing on the relationship between rhetoric and translation and the feasibility of introducing a rhetorical paradigm in translation studies, I argue that the proposed paradigm holds at least the following promises: enhancing awareness of the social role of translation, in addition to its cultural, linguistic, creative and historical functions; improving our understanding of the audience and the symbolic power of the discourses generated by translation; enriching contrastive models and models of translation norms by drawing attention to the rhetorical resources deployed in the source and target texts and introducing a “persuasion norm” to supplement existing norms. New Rhetoric, it will be argued, thus allows us to revisit old debates from a fresh perspective.

The presentation will use a range of attested examples of translation to demonstrate how drawing on New Rhetoric can help address local needs and concerns in China and beyond. In terms of challenges, it will focus on two interrelated aspects: the constraining presence of the original and the consequent ethical issues it raises in addressing a new audience. These challenges, as daunting as they might be, can be negotiated to ensure “representational justice”.


Baker, Mona (2010) Interpreters and Translators in the War Zone: Narrated and Narrators, The Translator. Volume 16, Number 2, 197-222

Booth, Wayne C. (2004) The Rhetoric of RHETORIC–The Quest for Effective Communication, New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing.

Liu, Yameng (2007) “Towards Representational Justice in Translation Practice.” Translation as Intervention. Ed. Jeremy Munday. London: Continuum,103-129.

Perelman, Ch. and Olbrechts-Tyteca, L. (1969) The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

Tindale, Christopher (2015) The philosophy of argument and audience reception. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Xiaowei Chen received her PhD in English Language and Literature and is professor and graduate student supervisor of School of Foreign Languages, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian, PRC. Her research focuses on translation theory and practice and her more recent interest has been on the interdisciplinary study of translation and contemporary rhetoric. She has published over 60 articles on translation, in addition to over 20 books and textbooks on translation as well as translated works, including Translation and Rhetoric Revisited (2013), A New Coursebook on Pragmatic Translation (2006; 2011; 2015), Language, Skopos and Translation (1998), The Handmaid’s Tale by M. Atwood (2001; 2002; 2008) and Isaiah Berlin Flourishing Letters, 1928-1946 (2012). She is currently undertaking a project supported by the National Social Sciences Foundation entitled “Studies of Translation Rhetoric and Its Further Application in Service of China’s International Discourse”.

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Heather Connelly (Birmingham City University, UK)
Gabriela Saldanha (University of Birmingham, UK)

Art Practice and Translation: a call for collaboration

International artists and curators often find themselves living and working transculturally as they navigate the international art scene and seek to engage with diverse local and global audiences. As a result, artists and academics such as Connelly (2015) and Holmkvist (2011) translation as a subject, media and method to make film, text, audio work and performances that examine personal experience, political and ethical concerns with cross-cultural communication, asking questions and provoking discussions on issues that are crucial to translation studies scholarship. Taking the existing artistic work as an invitation to dialogue with the translation studies academic community, this presentation engages with artistic performance from an academic perspective. The question that drives the work presented here is how artistic practice can contribute to translation studies as an academic discipline: Can it generate new knowledge? Can it offer new methodologies? Can it help disseminate knowledge about translation? To explore these questions, one artist/researcher (Heather Connelly) and one academic (Gabriela Saldanha) have worked together to create a performance centred on a shared concern: interlingual translation as an embodied art practice which exposes the translator’s subjectivity. Connelly and Saldanha have written a script that aims to expose the embodied and subjective aspects of translation. Our contribution will include this brief performance followed by a discussion that, based on insights derived from the art work, explores the potential of two conceptual mappings to account for the translator’s subjective and embodied response: translation as restored behaviour (Schechner 1885) and translation as linguistic hospitality (Ricoeur 2006). Saldanha (forthcoming) has argued that the anthropological understanding of performance as restored behaviour allows us to map literary translation as performance in a way that is closely in line with how translators tend to see their own practice. As a result of this collaborative project, Saldanha interrogates the meaning potential of ‘restoration’ in relation to both translation and performance. Linguistic hospitality, as defined by Ricoeur, is “where the pleasure of dwelling in the other’s language is balanced by the pleasure of receiving the foreign word at home” (2006, 10) and involves finding happiness in compromise after coming to terms with the loss of absolute equivalence. The question explored here is what affordances do these interdisciplinary and hospitable encounters enable and enact, and how can this be built upon in the future?


Connelly, Heather (2015) Speaking through the voice of another: how can art practice be used to provoke new ways of thinking about the transformations and transitions that happen in linguistic translation? https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/17999.

Holmkvist, Saskia (2011) In Translation [http://saskiaholmkvist.com/in-translation]

Ricoeur, Paul (2006) On Translation, translated by Eileen Brennan, London and New York: Routledge.

Saldanha, Gabriela (forthcoming) ‘Translator Style: In search of explanations’.

Schechner, Richard (1985) Between Theatre & Anthropology, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Heather Connelly is an artist and Research Fellow at Birmingham City University (BCU), Senior Fellow of Higher Education Authority, with a PhD by Fine Art Practice from Loughborough University (2015) and over twenty years of professional experience in the Arts. Her research concerns art-and-translation and linguistic hospitality and is particularly interested in how art practice can be used to examine the performativity of translation and engage people in the complex issues of translation, language learning and more broadly transcultural communication. Working with text, sound and the voice, Heather’s work explores our relationship with language(s) from different perspectives, often working collaboratively, designing participatory projects and events that bring together people from different socio-cultural and academic backgrounds. She established Translation Zone(s) (2016), co-founded InDialogue an independent biannual symposium (2012, 14 & 16) that interrogates dialogic practices.

Web: http://www.heatherconnelly.co.uk/translationzones/

Gabriela Saldanha is a Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham (UK). She has published extensively on translation stylistics. Her current research focuses on the translator’s artistry and how the artistic value of a translation is conceptualized and negotiated by different agents operating in a particular literary landscape. She is co-author, together with Sharon O’Brien, of Research Methodologies in Translation (Routledge, 2013). She is currently co-editing the third edition of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies with Mona Baker.

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Lingjuan Fan
(School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Ningxia University, China)

The Challenge of Interdisciplinarity: A Personal Account of  an  Academic Journey

This presentation will explore the challenges of interdisciplinarity in the field of translation studies through a personal account of my own academic trajectory, which involved drawing on genetic criticism, ethnography and cognitive approaches in previous and on-going projects. The talk will revolve around three research questions. First, what trends of interdisciplinary research have recently emerged in translation studies? Second, how have members of the translation studies community reacted to these trends and associated research? And third, what challenges does interdisciplinarity pose in translation studies? The presentation will also address the disciplinary independence of translation studies and related disciplinary identity of translation scholars who pursue interdisciplinary research.

Drawing on my recent experience in presenting at conferences, submitting scholarly articles to journals and applying for posts in translation studies, I will discuss the above issues by analyzing reactions from conference audiences, reviewers and job recruiters to some interdisciplinary models in translation studies. Based on the interactions between myself and other members of the research community in these contexts, I will argue that while it seems we all agree that interdisciplinarity is a distinguishing and important feature of the field, opinions concerning the definition of translation remain as divided as ever. Meanwhile, we have difficulty in unshackling ourselves from text-oriented analytical models, and we contribute to other disciplines more as mediators than as collaborators.

Finally, I will suggest that we need to keep an open mind in relation to new conceptualizations of translation and to attempt to bridge the gap between the fast-expanding domain of translation research on the one hand, and the relatively conservative model of translation training that still dominates in many institutional settings on the other, in order to equip translation trainees with the ability to appreciate diverse perspectives on translation and allow them access to wider career opportunities in the future.


Fan, Lingjuan. 2015. “Methodological Path to the Genesis of a Digital Translation.” Linguistica Antverpiensi. New Series: Themes in Translation Studies 14: 200–218.

Gambier, Yves and Luc van Doorslaer (eds). 2016. Border Crossings: Translation Studies and Other Disciplines. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

O’Brien, Sharon. 2013. “The Borrowers: Researching the Cognitive Aspects of Translation.” Target 25(1): 5-17.

Lingjuan Fan is Associate Professor of English and Applied Linguistics at the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Ningxia University, China. She undertakes teaching and supervision at both undergraduates and postgraduates levels. She gained her PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. She has published papers on language policy, translation theory and virtual translation communities. Her current research interests include crowd-sourced translation, genetic translation studies, cognitive approaches to translation and citizen media. She is the author of “Methodological path to the genesis of a digital translation” in Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies.

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Shima Tayebi Jazayeri
(Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran)

Translation Studies and Gender Studies in Iran: An Interdisciplinary Approach

This study examines the connections between translation and gender studies and the relevant interdisciplinary research that draws on both fields at universities in Iran. The presentation will review 40 dissertations and theses and categorize them based on Van Leeuwen’s framework of interdisciplinary research, which distinguishes between central, pluralist and integrationist models. In a central model, one discipline functions as the core or reference point and the research is informed by theories derived from it. In a pluralist model, it is not the discipline but the research question that is central to the inquiry, with each discipline addressing it from its particular vantage point. In an integrationist model, different disciplines collaborate and are interdependent. Leeuwen suggests that it is the integrationist model that succeeds in effecting the development of both disciplines.

Building on Leeuwen’s framework, the presentation will examine the development of translation and gender studies in Iran, shedding light on the quality of this development, and the areas that constitute the focus of the studies as well as those that received little or no attention. The study will discuss the implications of this interdisciplinary encounter for both disciplines, identify gaps in existing research, and suggest new areas of interdisciplinary research that can inform the development of both disciplines.


Baker, M., & Saldanha, G. (Eds.). (2009). Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. New York: Routledge.

Gharaei, S. (2010). Gender-Marked Items in Translation of Virginia Woolf’s Novels: MA Thesis Defense Session .

Leeuwev, T. V. (2005). Three Models of Interdisciplinarity. In R. Wodak, & P. Chilton (Eds.), A New Agenda in (Critical) Discourse Analysis (pp. 3-18). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Palumbo, G. (2009). Key Terms in Translation Studies. London: Continuum.

Simon, S. (2005). Gender in Translation: Cultural Identity and the Politics of Transmission. London: Routledge.

Shima Tayebi Jazayeri is a PhD candidate of Translation Studies at the University of Allameh Tabataba’i, Tehran, Iran. In addition to Persian which is her mother tongue, she speaks English and Spanish. she was the moderator of ‘translation and linguistics forum’ at Iranian Institute for Translation Studies (2011-2015). She has authored two journal articles and participated in ten conferences, in Iran and abroad. She is a visiting professor at the University of Imam Sadeq since 2013 and translated 10 books into Persian. A series of seven rewritten plays of Shakespeare for children including: The tempest, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Much ado about nothing, A midsummer nights dream, and Twelfth night. A series of three books for learning Spanish as follows: Spanish for dummies, Spanish essentials for dummies, and Spanish phrases for dummies. Her research interests are translating women (feminism), translation history, and translator training.

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Henry Jones
(Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK)

Researching Translation in/and Wikipedia: An interdisciplinary approach

This paper explores the challenge and promise of interdisciplinarity through a focus on the study of translation in the context of the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. It begins by arguing that previous analyses of Wikipedia by translation scholars (e.g. Drugan 2011; McDonough Dolmaya 2012, 2015) have largely failed to engage with the broader significance and complexity of translation activities taking place in this user-generated environment. The binary distinctions at the heart of much conventional translation studies metalanguage (source text vs target text, author vs translator) have tended to blinker perspectives and to concentrate research on the roles of those individuals who translate content already published in one language edition of the site in order to transfer it directly into another. As I will illustrate, however, translation is additionally an integral part of the collaborative processes through which new and ‘original’ text is produced within each version of the encyclopaedia: Wikipedia volunteers frequently make abundant use of materials written in a variety of different languages, and the construction of the site’s articles thus often involves a muddy mix of translating, re-contextualising, summarising and multi-text synthesising.

In order to make sense of such complex practices, it is suggested that the analyst must look beyond the traditional methods and concepts of translation studies to those developed in other fields of enquiry. In this way, rather than seeking to distinguish translation from other modes of knowledge production and dissemination, we can attempt to emphasise the ways in which translation is inextricably bound up with many such practices, and explore how the roles of translator, author and editor may overlap. I demonstrate that an approach based on sociological understandings of narrative theory (Baker 2006; Harding 2012) can be productive in this respect, providing specific examples from my recently completed PhD research into the collaborative construction of city-related articles within the English and French-language Wikipedias. In doing so, I discuss how interdisciplinarity can both deepen our understanding of specific translation phenomena and fundamentally challenge dominant understandings of our object of study more generally.


Baker, Mona (2006) Translation and Conflict: A narrative account, London & New York: Routledge.

Drugan, Joanna (2011) ‘Translation Ethics Wikified: How far do professional codes of ethics and practice apply to non-professionally produced translation?’, Linguistica Antverpiensia, 10: 111-131.

Harding, Sue-Ann (2012) ‘“How Do I Apply Narrative Theory?” Socio-narrative theory in Translation Studies’, Target, 24(2): 286-309.

McDonough Dolmaya, Julie (2012) ‘Analyzing the Crowdsourcing Model and its Impact on Public Perceptions of Translation’, The Translator, 18(2): 167-191.

McDonough Dolmaya, Julie (2015) ‘Revision History: Translation trends in Wikipedia’, Translation Studies, 8(1): 16-34.

Henry Jones is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies (UK). Having recently completed his PhD research focusing on translation in the context of Wikipedia, he is now working as part of a multi-disciplinary team on the AHRC-funded Genealogies of Knowledge project: http://www.genealogiesofknowledge.net/

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Anne Ketola
(Faculty of Communication Sciences, University of Tampere)

Translation research as a means to model word–image interaction

The presentation examines the interdisciplinary promise that translation research offers for research into multimodality. In particular, the presentation sets out to examine the potential of translation research as a means to model multimodal meaning construction in an empirical manner. As Paul Kussmaul (2000: 69) describes, translations can be regarded as a “reproduction experiment”, reflecting the translator’s interpretation of a text. Analyzing the translations of an illustrated text by multiple translators, therefore, allows us to compare the different ways in which meaning was constructed from the combination of words and images.

The presentation is based on a research project examining the translation of an illustrated technical text. The data of the study was produced by a group of eight Master’s level translations students at the University of Tampere, Finland. The data comprises two parts: the first consists of the translations produced by the students and the second consists of the students’ translation diaries – individual, reflective accounts on the problems encountered during the translation assignment, the strategies employed to solve these problems, and so on.

The research project compared the empirical analyses of this data to the ways in which word–image relationships have been classified in previous research into multimodality in different disciplines. In the presentation, I introduce one of these classifications, put forward by Martinec and Salway (2005), which accounts for word–image relationships by modelling them on the structure of the grammar of verbal language. I then set out to question the completeness of the classification by comparing it to the ways in which the translation students of the study appeared to interpret the combination of words and images in the particular source text. With the help of these empirical observations, I suggest that there are more possible word–image relationships than the classification proposes. I conclude by suggesting that we can use translation research to show that multimodal meaning construction is in fact more complex than the reviewed classification suggests.


Martinec, R. & Salway, A. 2005. A system for image–text relations in new (and old) media. Visual Communication. Vol. 4. No. 3. 339–374.

Kussmaul, P. 2000. “A Cognitive Framework for Looking at Creative Mental Processes”, in Maeve Olohan (ed.) Intercultural Faultlines. Research Models in Translation Studies I. Textual and Cognitive Aspects, Manchester: St. Jerome, 57–72.

Anne Ketola is a Doctoral Student at the University of Tampere, Finland. Her doctoral thesis examines word–image interaction in technical translation. Her other research interests involve the translation of children’s literature, particularly from a multimodally-oriented perspective, as well as the development of theoretical and methodological perspectives into multimodality. She has published in journals such as Translation Studies, trans-kom and Connexions. She is also the author of the forthcoming monograph Translating Picturebooks (Routledge 2018; together with Riitta Oittinen and Melissa Garavini).

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Soon Mi Kim
(Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, Korea)

How the Translation World Can Survive in the Age of AI: A Model from the Business Administration Field

Translation is one of the areas seriously affected by machines that employ deep learning methods. Viewing the situation as a zero-sum game, human translators are deeply worried that they will be replaced by machines capable of self-improvement through deep learning and big data analysis. The basic premise is that tasks currently performed by humans will soon be done more cheaply and rapidly by machines. However, preoccupation with cost-savings through automation cannot solve the problem. Instead, a complementary rather than ‘either-or’ mindset is needed to shift translation’s relationship with machines from automation to augmentation and to identify specific areas of work where humans can coexist with intelligent machines. Given that the influence of artificial intelligence extends well beyond the translation world, this presentation adopts a model from the business administration field as a framework that posits ‘strong complementarities’ between human and machine work. This ‘five-paths toward employability’ model (Davenport and Kirby 2015) is based on the ‘augmentation strategy’ (Autor 2014), and involves starting with what humans do today and figuring out how that work could be deepened rather than diminished by a greater use of machines. The approach thus requires investigating specific ways in which certain activities, such as translation, may be complemented by machines rather than being replaced by them. The five paths are: ‘step up’ as a manager with a comprehensive perspective and deep technological expertise; ‘step aside’ as a worker with the interpersonal skills, empathy and originality that machines lack; ‘step in’ as an evaluator to monitor and modify the function and outcome of machine work; ‘step narrowly’ as an expert, focusing on areas where machines cannot yet compete with humans; and ‘step forward’ as an innovator to further develop and apply smart machines. These steps can be applied to an individual area of knowledge as a framework to set new responsibilities for workers who can add value not by competing against machines but by utilizing them.

To explore the five paths for translators to augment their work, we need to start from the current state of translation. Even before the appearance of neural translation machines, the translation field had already been transforming under the impact of the Internet. Some of the major characteristics of translation in the digital era include the use of IT technology; integrating texts into other media content; a typically collaborative translation process; rising importance of digital literacy; increase in user-driven translation and the ubiquity of translating activities; and texts being constantly updated and diversified in quality. Computerization, moreover, means that not just professionals, but also non-professionals and language service providers (LSPs) have become major players in the field. Investigating each player’s work in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to identify areas where human translators are still needed in the age of AI: human translators can ‘step up’ as managers establishing a platform, overseeing the whole translation process, building corpora and coordinating collaboration among participants; ‘step aside’ as communicators catering to the sensitive needs of linguistic and cultural minorities, forming affinity groups and applying creative translation strategies in online communities; ‘step in’ as revisers conducting pre-editing or post-editing for translations done by machines; ‘step narrowly’ as professionals who can undertake translations only humans can cope with, for instance literary translation; ‘step forward’ as innovators or entrepreneurs creating new areas of business such as combining language service with voice recognition, and applying augmented reality technology to translation. This study ultimately argues that adopting a complementary mindset and exploring new areas of activity based on our current strengths allows us to coexist with machines.


Autor, D. (2014). Polanyi’s paradox and the shape of employment growth (Vol. 20485). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Davenport, T. H., & Kirby, J. (2015). Beyond automation. Harvard Business Review93(6), 59-65.

Soon Mi Kim is Assistant Professor teaching translation and interpreting in the Division of English Language and Literature at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (USC) and Interpreting & Translation (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies); a PhD in Translation Studies (Sejong University). She is Assistant editor-in-chief for The Korean Association of Translation Studies (KATS). She has actively participated in industry-academia partnership programs in the areas such as medical interpreting and localization translation. Her research interests include translation and sociology; community interpreting; non-professionals translating and interpreting; translation in the digital era.

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Youngshin Kim
(Anyang University, Korea)

Language Contact and Translator Identity as Represented in Korean Fiction during the Post-Colonial Era

The strand of interdisciplinary scholarship that has come to be known as the fictional turn in translation studies takes as its point of departure the idea that fictional representations of translation and translators are valid sources of theorization, as worthy of research as the translations themselves (Delabastita and Grutman 2005; Kaindle and Spitzl 2014). Drawing on the body of research that has already been undertaken in this field, this study aims to investigate the fictional portrayal of translators as represented in two Korean novels: Wind in the Dawn (1947) and Captain Lee (1962), written by Yeom Sangseop and Jeon Hyokwang, respectively. These novels explore the identity of translators – and of Koreans to a great extent – as they live through three successive imperial rules, starting from the Japanese rule (1910-1945), followed by a short-lived Russian trusteeship (1945-1946) and ultimately the US army military government in Korea (1945-1948). The Korea depicted in the two novels is a significantly hybrid space where people – Korean, Japanese, Russian, American – and their languages intermingle with each other and translation becomes an indispensable element in forming the protagonists’ identity (Suh 2013; Cho 2016).

The first novel, Wind in the Dawn, presents two English interpreters as its main characters, one female and one male. The female interpreter is depicted as a “channel” through which the other characters in the story are able to establish connections with the US military government. The male interpreter, on the other hand, is represented as a person who, in spite of his ambition and intent to make a fortune through his knowledge of English, ends up as a “middle man” in an antique shop. Captain Lee, the second novel discussed in this presentation, features an opportunistic surgeon as a protagonist whose language learning trajectory proceeds from Japanese, through Russian, and finally to English. His language learning efforts invariably pay off and enable him to secure many benefits inaccessible to most people. Translating in these two novels is never a matter of neutral language transfer, but is represented as a political, self-serving activity. This study, the first of its kind in terms of bringing the scholarship associated with the fictional turn to bear on the analysis of Korean novels, will focus on how to address the question of language contact and translator identity represented in Korean literature during the post-colonial era and on providing a methodological framework for further research in this field.


Cho, Heekyong (2016) Translation’s Forgotten History: Russian Literature, Japanese Mediation and the Formation of Modern Korean Literature, Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center Press.

Delabastita, Dirk and Rainier Grutman (2005) ‘Fictional Representations of Multilingualism and Translation’, Linguistica Antverpiensia 4: 11-34.

Kaindle, Klaus and Karlheiz Spitzl (eds) (2014) Transfiction: Research into the realities of translation fiction, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Suh, Serk-Bae (2013) Treacherous Translation: Culture, nationalism, and colonialism in Korea and Japan form the 1920s to the 1960s, Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Youngshin Kim is a Professor of English Language and Culture at Anyang University and a practicing translator/interpreter in Korea. She has earned her M.A. in Translation and Interpretation and Her Ph.D. in Translation Studies from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in 2004, and following this she worked as a lecturer at University of Seoul. She joined the faculty at Anyang University in 2008. She is interested broadly in the relation between culture and translation. Her specific research interests are in literary translation and translation & culture. Dr. Kim has also translated three university text-books including Women and Power and Understanding Global Issues. 

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Tao Li
(Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, China)

Investigating the National Images of Self and Others in the English Translation of Chinese Political Discourse: A Corpus-based Discourse Analysis Approach

The relationship between discourse analysis and translation studies has long been a theme of research in translation scholarship in western academic field, but contrastively, a rather underexploited area in the Chinese context.The reasons to adopt a corpus-based discourse analysis approach in this study are twofold. Firstly, although discourse analysis has been widely applied in translation studies (e.g. Hatim and Mason 1990; Schäffner 2002; Munday and Zhang 2015), discourse analysis per se has been severely critisised in the past two decades because those critics claim that no discourse analysis can avoid personal bias on the part of analysts (see Stubbs 1997; Widdowson 2004: 102). Such criticisms are responded to, as Chilton et al. (2010) suggest, either with an argument that no research is objective, or with analysis of huge data sets in quantitative and qualitative ways rather than one or a few texts to illustrate assumptions. Secondly, corpus approach allows researchers to capture repetitive patterns across texts under investigation and to conduct the replication of the analysis, which makes research findings and conclusions more reliable. A corpus-based discourse analysis approach has very recently become a new methodological direction for translation studies (Hu and Li 2015; Kim 2013; Li 2013).Here political discourse in this study refers to the “institution political discourse” (Chilton 2004: 72), including official documents, political speeches, press conferences, that expresses the policies, attitudes, stances of a country. Chinese political discourse is clearly the main means to display the ways in which Chinese government presents the image of China and those of other countries. An investigation of the translation of Chinese political discourse can help reveal the variations of images of China and other countries in the process of translation and the ideological factors involved.Drawing on a combined framework of Appraisal System (Martin and White 2005) and Ideological Square Model (van Dijk 1998; 2006), this paper adopts a corpus-based discourse analysis approach to investigate the national images of China and other countries through the English translation of the appraisal epithets in Chinese political discourse. The results show that translation shifts do exist in the translation of appraisal epithets with a difference in the use of translation strategies between Self- and Other-categories. It is also found that China is more negatively presented while other countries are more positively presented in translated texts compared with their images in the source texts. It is argued that the results can at least partially attribute to the differences between Chinese and English, the General Strategy of Politeness and ideological factors in translation. It is also proposed that Ideological Square Model be divided into a two-layered model with the superficial Ideological Square Model constrained by the General Strategy of Politeness and the deep one governed by the ideological self-serving principle, in order to make it with more explanatory power.


Chilton, Paul. 2004. Analysing political discourse: Theory and practice. London: Routledge.

Kim, Kyung Hye. 2013. Mediating American and South Korean News Discourses about North Korea through Translation: A Corpus-based Critical Discourse Analysis. Unpublished PhD diss. University of Manchester.

Martin, James Robert, and Peter White. 2005. The language of evaluation: appraisal in English. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Munday, Jeremy, and Mei Fang Zhang. 2015. Discourse Analsysis in Translation Studies. Special issue of Target 27 (3). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

van Dijk, Teun A. 1998. Ideology: A multidisciplinary approach. London: Sage.

Tao Li is a lecturer in translation studies at Shanghai Ocean University, P. R. China. His publication topics include the application of appraisal theory into translation studies, corpus-based discourse analysis of translation, translation and ideology.

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Elaine Ng
(Centre for Language Education of Southern University of Science and Technology)

A Corpus Stylistics Study of a Chinese Translation of Mental Clauses and Speech and Thought Presentation in Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert’s (2006) memoir Eat Pray Love depicts a journey of self-discovery during her trips to Italy, India and Indonesia following a difficult divorce. Among the three phases of the author’s journey, the ‘eat’ and ‘love’ aspects have received far more attention than the ‘pray’ aspect. Hence, despite the fact that the author’s experience and pursuit of happiness have had considerable resonance with a very large readership across the world, very little attention has been given to the spiritual domain of her truth-seeking journey, nor has any research been conducted specifically on the translation of this part of the novel into Chinese.

Combining the methodological tools of corpus linguistics and stylistics, this study will conduct a corpus-based stylistic analysis of the ‘pray’ part of Gilbert’s memoir (from chapters 37 to 72), and the corresponding Chinese translation by He Pei-hua (何佩樺), first published by a Taiwanese publisher in 2007. The same translation was republished by 陝西師範大學出版社(Shanxi Shifan Daxue Chubanshe)in 2008 in simplified Chinese characters and retitled “一輩子做女孩 (Yibeizi Zuo Nuhai).”The analysis will be conducted with specific reference to mental clauses and depictions of speech and thought. It will employ the corpus analysis toolkit provided by the freeware AntConc, which provides a concordancer, word and keyword frequency generators, tools for cluster and lexical bundle analysis, and a word distribution plot for the investigation of the selected lexical items from the original and translated texts. In terms of linguistic frameworks, the study will draw on relevant concepts from Halliday’s (1994) transitivity system to explore mental clauses featuring lexical items such as think, feel, mind, meditate and pray, together with Simpson’s (1993) point of view model for the investigation of free direct speech and thought presentation. The underlying objectives of the research are to explore the author’s ideology and point of view in the representation of spiritual concepts related to mindfulness and meditation, and how these terms are rendered into Chinese. Another important aim of the study is to explore the potential for the use of corpus-based methodology and software to conduct stylistic studies involving Chinese texts.


Gilbert, E. (2006). Eat Pray Love. Free E-book retrieved from: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By9wjQndHrkTMkxUWnpRUHFqdmM/view

He, P. H. 何佩樺. (Trans.) (2008). Yibeizi zuo nuhai [一輩子做女孩]. Shanxi: Shanxi Shifan Daxue Chubanshe.

He, P. H. 何佩樺. (Trans.) (2013). Xiangshou ba ! Yige ren de luxing [享受吧!一個人的旅行]. Taipei: Ma Ka Bo Luo Wen Hua publisher.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An introduction to Functional Grammar (2nd ed.). London et al.: Arnold.

Laurence, A. (2005). AntConc: Design and Development of a Freeware Corpus Analysis Toolkit for the Technical Writing Classroom. IEEE International Professional Communication Conference Proceedings, pp. 729-737.

Simpson, P. (1993). Language, ideology and point of View. London & New York: Routledge.

Elaine Ng received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from University College London in the UK. She is currently a lecturer in English at the Centre for Language Education of Southern University of Science and Technology. Prior to that, she had extensive experience teaching English and translation courses at United International College in Zhuhai, China; Hong Kong Baptist University, the School of Continuing Education; and the Open University of Hong Kong.

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Xiuhua Ni
School of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, China)

Cultural Diplomacy in the Outward Translation of Chinese Literature in the Early Years of the PRC (1949-1966)

During its first seventeen years, the People’s Republic of China’s efforts to join the socialist camp manifested themselves in various cultural exchanges with other socialist nations. In particular, the outward translation of Chinese literature – meaning the translation of Chinese literary works into foreign languages initiated by China itself – was deemed to be one of the crucial elements of an ambitious project of cultural diplomacy. This project sought to redefine the Chinese nation by projecting a positive self-image of the newly-born state in order to generate interest, sympathy and support abroad. Despite its political and cultural importance, this translational practice has received inadequate scholarly attention so far. Drawing on the sociology of translation, specifically Luhmann’s model as a theoretical framework, this study therefore aims to explore the Chinese government’s proactive efforts to use outward translation, especially that of Chinese literature, as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy in the first seventeen years of the PRC (1949-1966) and provide preliminary observations on the reception of the PRC’s export enterprise, which created new fault lines in the Cold War years as much as it built bridges.

The focus of the presentation will be on the strategic role the government assigned to the translation of Chinese literature into English, in an attempt to assert its (inter)national identity. Specifically, the study will examine the Foreign Languages Press as the only state-sponsored institution engaging in the outward translation of Chinese works, including Chinese literature, at the time, and the close ties and interaction between outward translation and China’s foreign policies and cultural diplomacy with reference to the role of the English magazine Chinese Literature as ‘goodwill ambassador’. The aim of the presentation is twofold. First, it sets out to offer insights into this often-neglected translation scenario from the perspective of cultural diplomacy in the formative years of the PRC. Second, it attempts to draw attention to the practice of outward translation and concludes with a call to integrate it into translation studies.

Xiuhua Ni is Associate Professor at the School of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou University, China. Her research interests include literary translation, translation of Chinese literature and translation teaching. She has published more than 10 papers on literary translation and the translation of Chinese literature in Forum, Translation Quarterly, Chinese Translator’s Journal, Foreign Languages and Translation and Comparative Literature in China, among other venues.

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Xiaoping Wu
(Department of English, University of Macau)

User-Generated Translation in the Age of Participatory Media: A Case Study of Subtitling Practices on Bilibili

The advent and rapid expansion of participatory media that features user-generated content have led to the proliferation of participatory culture (Jenkins 2006a), convergence culture (Jenkins 2006b; Jenkins and Deuze 2008) and self-mediation (Chouliaraki 2010) in the twenty-first century. Against the backdrop of these developments, we have seen growing engagement of ordinary people in collaborative translation practices, which significantly shape our understanding of translation and the role of translators. Despite a growing interest in the study of participatory media in disciplines such as media studies, communication and media sociology, translation studies has so far proceeded at a relatively slow pace in tackling the challenges posed to translation practice by new media technologies. In the age of participatory media, translation practices take on new and diversified forms that problematize the notions of professionalism and faithfulness, especially in audiovisual translation. However, translation studies alone may not be able to account for the complexity of these practices. The study of audiovisual translation thus calls for interdisciplinary inquiry, and the presentation will accordingly invoke concepts from translation studies, media studies and sociolinguistics to support the analysis.

The study sets out to investigate user-generated translation and interaction among new media users in the emerging online community of amateur translators. It explores the role of amateur translation in the context of media convergence and examines how it blurs the boundary between production and consumption. The data to be analyzed consists of an American political parody video produced by Saturday Night Live and its Chinese translation by the users of Bilibili, a Chinese media sharing website, in the form of “screen bullet” (pinyin: danmu). Screen bullet, a widely-used model of video watching, allows the audience to send text messages while watching the video, with the text messages (mostly comments) projected on or scrolling across the video. Data analysis, which involves multimodal analysis and textual analysis of screen bullets, reveals a multi-layered display of different versions of translation and reactions to them, demonstrating that translation involves a complex process of collaboration, amateur contribution, as well as quasi-synchronous interactions between translators and other members of the online community in the age of participatory media.


Chouliaraki, L. (2010) ‘Self-mediation: New media and citizenship’, Critical Discourse Studies 7(4): 227-232.

Jenkins, H. (2006a) Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide, New York and London: NYU press.

Jenkins, H. (2006b) Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring participatory culture, New York and London: NYU press.

Jenkins, H. and Deuze, M. (2008) ‘Convergence Culture’, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 14(1): 5-12.

Xiaoping Wu is a Ph.D. candidate in Department of English, University of Macau. Her research interests include translation studies, media discourse, and intercultural studies.

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Minhui Xu
(English Department, Ocean University of China)

Sociological Formation and Reception of Translation – With Border Town as a Case Study

This study draws on Bourdieu’s conceptualization of the international circulation of ideas to examine the sociological formation process by which Border Town, the most recent translation of the modern Chinese writer Shen Congwen’s (1902-1988) masterwork Biancheng, came into existence and what factors and agents might have shaped its reception. It examines the processes of selection, labeling and classification, and reading in the field of reception, and considers their potential impact on reception. Specifically, the study explores what was involved in the selection of Biancheng for translation and publication, the translator Jeffrey C. Kinkley, and the commercial publisher HarperCollins; what strategies were adopted for labeling and framing the work in the foreword and endnotes, as well as the book cover and spine; and how these strategies and the way the work was marketed impacted its reception, and the status quo of the reception field. The study argues that all these factors exerted direct influence and played a decisive role in facilitating a desirable mode of reception for Border Town. The efforts of the translator, the publisher, the reviewers and other agents thus shaped the formation process of Border Town and helped promote a more receptive environment and tried to reach a larger readership. However, although the efforts from the first two phases have created some favorable conditions, the sociological situation for the reception of the translation is not very optimistic, because the milieu of a cultivated public has not maturely developed. The reception of a translation is to be constructed and consecrated through the joint efforts of different agents during each stage of the process, and only a sociological consideration of the encompassing dynamics of the whole formation process of a translation can shed light on a better understanding of the reception of a translated work.


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1999. The social conditions of the international circulation of ideas. In Richard Shusterman (ed.). Bourdieu: A Critical Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 220-228.

Casanova, Pascale. 2004. The World Republic of Letters. Cambridge: Havard University Press.

Kinkley, Jeffrey. 2014. English Translations of Shen Congwen’s masterwork, Biancheng (Border Town). Asian and African Studies 23(1): 37-59.

Sapiro, Gisèle. 2008. Translation and the field of publishing, Translation Studies 1(2): 154-166.

Minhui Xu is a Professor of the English Department of Ocean University of China. She holds a PhD in Translation Studies obtained from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she also did her post doctoral research. She is author of English Translations of Shen Congwen’s Stories – A Narrative Perspective (2013), and has published in refereed journals both in and out of China, including Target, Perspectives, Foreign Languages Teaching and Research, and Chinese Translators Journal. Her main research area is translation studies, and is currently working on a project entitled “A sociological study of the English translations of Shen Congwen’s works” funded by the National Social Science Fund of China.

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Chuan Yu
(The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Understanding Online Translation Communities as Communities of Practice: The Case of Yeeyan

This paper sets out to explore the conceptual possibilities of online translation communities, using the Chinese online translation community of Yeeyan as the case example. In this paper, I argue that approaching online translation communities under the theoretical framework of Communities of Practice (hereafter CoPs) (Wenger 1998) provides us with a useful theoretical and analytical perspective in examining not only these social aggregations of translators, but also the dynamic processes through which they are formed.With the development of information and communication technologies and the ubiquity of participatory media platforms, an increasing number of self-selected individuals engage in existing online communities and/or establish their own groups for particular social agendas, contributing to the emergence of the new cultural logic of ‘media convergence’ (Jenkins 2004) in which both institutions and ordinary citizens play a role in the selection, production and (re)circulation of media content. Translation practices taking place in online translation communities are no exception and are essential in the formation of newly emergent online communities as well as the construction of (new) realities. Drawing on CoP theory, I shall analyze three aspects of the Yeeyan community: 1) Yeeyan’s participatory mechanism; 2) how this mechanism fosters community members’ participation in various activities; and 3) how, in turn, the members’ shared practices (which revolve around but are not limited to translation in its narrow sense) constantly stimulate the establishment of multiple sub-communities in Yeeyan. The notions of mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire, which are the three dimensions of practice in CoPs, are applied to the theorization of the studied phenomena. My analysis reveals that Yeeyan is a broad CoP that consists of multiple sub-CoPs as a result of its members’ continuous mutual engagement in various community activities. While there is a joint enterprise (i.e. the negotiated collective goals, motivations and accountability shared by community members) in the broad CoP of Yeeyan, each sub-CoP also has its own enterprise that represents certain aspects of a participatory culture in the Chinese Internet. Throughout the experience of mutual engagement and the development of a joint enterprise, Yeeyan members exploit existing resources for participation and introduce new resources (i.e. shared repertoire) that contributes to the sustainability of the CoPs at different levels. Drawing on these findings, I conclude the paper by proposing a conceptual model that can be potentially applied to the description and theorization of other translation communities as well as the practices undertaken in those groups.


Jenkins, Henry (2004) ‘The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence’, International Journal of Cultural Studies 7(1): 33-43.

Wenger, Etienne (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chuan Yu is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Translation at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her PhD in Translation Studies from Hong Kong Baptist University and MA in Translation from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research lies at the intersection of translation studies, anthropology and media and communication studies. Her current research focuses on collaborative translation, online translation communities, the use of ethnographic methodologies in TS research, citizen media and Chinese internet research. She also undertakes translation work. Her translation and editing work includes academic textbooks such as An Introduction to Language and journal/magazine articles published on open access platforms. Before joining CUHK, she taught translation at Hong Kong Baptist University and was employed as a Confucius Institute Teacher in the US.  

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Jitka Zehnalová (Department of English and American Studies, Palacký University)
Helena Kubátová (Department of Sociology, Andragogy, and Cultural Anthropology,Palacký University)

Translation Studies and Sociology: A “Methodology” of the Cooperation among Translation Scholars and a Sociologist (Three Encounters, Three Crossroads, Three Challenges) 

The aim of the contribution is to discuss interdisciplinarity in terms of issues involved in the sociology of translation. Following the sociological turn, a great deal of research has been done in this research area, drawing mostly on Bourdieusian concepts and covering a wide range of topics, modes, and contexts of translating and interpreting. Current research can capitalise on the fact that sociological approaches have been used for almost 20 years now and thus at the present not only are the first influential collections of papers and articles in translation studies journals available, but also later publications and publications offering critical assessment of previous developments as well (Vorderobermeier 2014a).

The contribution addresses the challenges of designing a research project called The Analysis of the Czech Field of Literary Translation and Translation Strategies after 2000, the aim of which is to explore the interdependencies between the Czech field of literary translation and the translation strategies preferred by literary translators from English into Czech and vice versa and from Hebrew into Czech and vice versa, strategies that are conceptualised as norm-governed activities (Toury 1995). The issues include the following: (a) the absence from Toury’s account of norms of the socially conditioned context of translators’ behaviour and of sociological methodology (Wolf 2007, 9); (b) the problem of identifying a proper research area and focus: the project is oriented towards analysing the influence of power struggles caused by the differing interests of social agents on the textual shape of translations; (c) the difficulty of selecting research methods and of operationalising the concept of translation norms; (d) the issue of the not always adequate use of Bourdieusian concepts within translation studies (Vorderobermeier 2014b, 15): the project resolves it by including a sociologist in the research team.

The main challenge is to tackle the cooperation among translation scholars and a sociologist methodologically and in terms of mutually interconnected analyses and phases of research. More specifically, these three translation scholars-sociologist encounters are covered: (1) the analysis of the Czech literary translation field (its place within the world system of translation and the field itself as described sociologically in terms of producers’ strategies); (2) the selection of translations for the translation norm analysis and the operationalisation of the concept of translation norms (sociological methods of selection and of determination of the selection set size and the “transla-socio” cooperation to determine measurable and standardised indicators of translation norms); (3) the analysis of a representative targeted set of translations and translators (the “transla-socio” cooperation to target translations, to sociologically contextualise their translators, and to analyse the transfer of style in translation). 


Bourdieu, P. 1995. The Rules of Art. Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Toury, G. 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: J. Benjamins.

Vorderobermeier, G. M. (ed.). 2014a. Remapping habitus in translation studies. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi/Brill.

Vorderobermeier, G. M. 2014b. The (Re-)Construction of Habitus: A Survey-Based Account of Literary Translators’ Trajectories Put into Methodological Perspective. In Vorderobermeier, G. M. (ed). Remapping habitus in translation studies. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi/Brill, 149-62.

Wolf, M. 2007. Introduction: The emergence of a sociology of translation. In Wolf, M. & Fukari, A. (eds.), Constructing a Sociology of Translation. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins, 1-36.

Jitka Zehnalová teaches translation studies and stylistics at the Department of English and American Studies of Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. She participated in accreditation and implementation of the BA and MA study programmes English for Interpreting and Translation. She has published in the fields of translation quality assessment and literary translation.
Helena Kubátová teaches sociological theories and their development, sociological methodology, and sociology of the way of life and life style at the Department of Sociology, Andragogy, and Cultural Anthropology of Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. In her research, she focuses on the sociology of everyday life and of the way of life in rural settings, and on phenomenology and social stratification. She is the author of several monographs, chapters in international monographs, and articles in international journals.

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