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International Research School for Media Translation and Digital Culture
1-6 July 2019
Structure and Organization
The 2019 International Research School for Media Translation and Digital Culture consisted of five modules:
- Module 1. Theoretical Approaches to Media Translation Research
- Module 2. Research Methods in Media Translation
- Module 3. Research Design & Dynamics
- Module 4. Featured Theme: Non-Professional Communities of News Translation
- Module 5. Academic Career Development
Each module encompassed three contact hours and six hours of guided reading.
Students spent their mornings in taught sessions, while afternoons were spent in small group tutorials and independent study. Each student was provided with the opportunity to take part in two tutorials during the School.
On the sixth and final day, students presented their work to fellow students and staff and received oral feedback.
MODULE 1 | Theoretical Approaches to Media Translation Research
|Session 1A | Jonathan Evans
Dealing with Abundance: Translation in New Media and Digital Culture
The aim of this session is to introduce theories of new media and digital culture and discuss their relevance for the study of translation. There has been much scholarly reflection on technological developments and their effect on culture, which has become increasingly visible since the launch of the public Internet in the early 1990s. In particular, the rapidly growing volume of data (written texts, digitized music and films, etc.) available online and the increased interconnectivity across the world have resulted in new approaches to the study of all text forms – understood both as material objects (e.g. physical media) and semiotic systems requiring new reading practices. Drawing on (new) media studies, critical net studies, science and technology studies, hauntology, and cyberculture theory, this session will explore how translation is changing under new regimes of attention economy, superabundance of media, and in relation to other remediating textual practices – including bricolage, parody and transmedia franchising.
Citton, Yves (2017) The Ecology of Attention, trans. by Barnaby Norman, Cambridge: Polity. ‘Introduction: From Attention Economy to Attention Ecology’, 1-23.
Jones, Henry (2018) ‘Audiovisual Translation and Mediality’, in Luis Pérez-González (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation, Abingdon: Routledge, 177-191.
|Session 1B | Luis Pérez-González
Affect Theory: New Conceptual Tools for the Study of Participatory Subtitling
Over the last decade, self-mediation has empowered ordinary people to claim visibility in the public space by sharing audiovisual content that articulates and reflects their values and experiences – whether individually or as part of networked communities. In the context of digital culture, non-professional subtitling has emerged as a catalyst for the global circulation of self-mediated audiovisual content, often undertaken within movements of aesthetic or political resistance, more or less explicitly associated with activism or fandom, against various forms of political or commercial structures and practices. Crucially, affect has emerged as a powerful non-representational variable in non-professional subtitling with the capacity to build robust virtual regimes of solidarity and sociality around subtitling communities, whether they are driven by ethical or playful agendas. Instead of prioritizing faithfulness to the source text, non-professional subtitles often intervene in the articulation and reception of the audiovisual semiotic ensemble. This session sets out to make sense of these developments by examining the important role that affect theory is bound to play in the study of self-mediation, including the expressive or transformational role of non-professional subtitling in the digital culture.
Pérez-González, Luis (2014) Audiovisual Translation: Theories, Methods and Issues, London: Routledge. Chapter 7: ‘Self-mediation’, 229-283.
Hokkanen, Sari and Kaisa Koskinen (2016) ‘Affect as a Hinge. The Translator’s Experiencing Self as a Sociocognitive Interface’, Translation Spaces 5(1): 78–96.
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MODULE 2 | Research Methods in Media Translation
|Session 2A | Henry Jones
Analyzing Fluid Digital Data
Unlike most texts with which translation scholars have historically been concerned (e.g. books or films), (translated) digital media content today is significantly less easily identifiable as a fixed and concrete ‘object of study’. This is due in large part to its immateriality: composed as it is of no more than virtual strings of code, digital text is openly subject to change and what we read online one minute could be transformed the next. By applying key insights from new media theory, this session will engage students with the methodological challenges associated with analyzing such fluid and volatile phenomena. It will also suggest both practical and theoretical solutions to such issues, demonstrating in particular the potential for methodologies such as ‘genetic criticism’ as a means of studying online translation activities.
Fan, Lingjuan (2015) ‘Methodological Path to the Genesis of a Digital Translation’, Linguistica Antverpiensia 14: 200-218. Available online: https://lans-tts.uantwerpen.be/ index.php/LANS-TTS/article/view/344/339
Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of New Media, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Chapter 1: ‘What is New Media?’, 18-61.
|Session 2B | Mona Baker
Fluidity, Uncertainty and Distance: Researching Volunteer Subtitling in the Context of the Egyptian Revolution
While interest in volunteer translation and interpreting has grown noticeably in recent years, little field work has been undertaken to examine this important form of citizen media practice in violent and high risk contexts. Drawing on a study of the collaboration between subtitlers and filmmakers during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, this presentation will focus on the challenges posed by a fast-paced, fluid, non-hierarchical context of collaboration between relatively distinct groups (filmmakers and subtitlers) who do not interact regularly despite producing prolific output collaboratively. The discussion will also explore the difficulty of offering traditional research ‘findings’ in contexts where intense human relations and experiences are unfolding and taking unpredictable directions during the research period, rendering any notion of optimal researcher distance from the object of study both unworkable and undesirable and placing issues of trust and ethics at the centre of the research agenda. These difficulties are further exasperated by the ethos of contemporary movements of collective action, where there is often no interest in maintaining a record of individual contributions to any output or even a basic hierarchical structure that prevents any member from editing a (subtitled) video after it has been published.
Baker, Mona. 2016. ‘The Prefigurative Politics of Translation in Place-Based Movements of Protest: Subtitling in the Egyptian Revolution’, The Translator 22(1): 1-21. DOI 10.1080/13556509.2016.1148438.
Baker, Mona. 2018. ‘Audiovisual Translation and Activism’, in Luis Pérez-González (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation, London & New York: Routledge, 453-467.
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MODULE 3 | Media Research Design and Dynamics
|Session 3A | Jonathan Evans and Henry Jones
Practical Issues in Media Translation Research Design
The aim of this session is to give students an overview of key aspects of research design, with a special focus on the study of media translation in digital culture. Specifically, the session will be structured around three issues: (1) research design, i.e. how to develop appropriate research questions and modalities of research in translation studies; (2) data selection, i.e. identifying a suitable and justifiable dataset, especially in relation to the abundance of potential data available on the Internet; and (3) information literacy, i.e. deciding how best to navigate large quantities of research materials. In relation to information literacy, students will consider the question of authority and authoritative sources, using bibliographies and developing literature reviews. The session will be interactive, using buzz groups and small tasks to engage students.
Saldanha, Gabriela and Sharon O’Brien (2014) Research Methodologies in Translation Studies, London & New York: Routledge. Chapter 2: ‘Principles and Ethics in Research’, 10-49.
Williams, Jenny and Andrew Chesterman (2002) The Map, Manchester: St Jerome. Chapter 4: ‘Kinds of Research’, 58-68.
|Session 3B | Henry Jones and Jonathan Evans
Navigating Ethical Challenges in Media Translation Research
All research that involves human participants and/or subjects has the potential to raise difficult ethical questions, but current changes in the media landscape are introducing further complexities with which translation scholars must now inevitably engage. Most notably, the distinction between public and private is becoming increasingly ambiguous, fluid and contested in the digital world as new tools blur boundaries between published and unpublished content online. Moreover, many long-established strategies aimed at minimizing harm to research subjects (such as anonymization and acquiring consent) are similarly undermined in hyper-networked virtual environments. This interactive session will begin by introducing the core principles of ethical research practice, before encouraging students to reflect critically on the ways in which digital tools complicate considerations of privacy, personhood, presence and autonomy. Students will be given the opportunity to examine specific case studies drawn from the translation studies literature, as well as from further afield, and the importance of a process approach to ethics will be underscored.
Freund, Katharina and Dianna Fielding (2013) ‘Research Ethics in Fan Studies’, Participations 10(1): 329-334. Available online: http://www.participations.org/Volume%2010/Issue%201/16%20Freund%20Fielding%2010.1.pdf
Gajjala, Radhika (2002) ‘An Interrupted Postcolonial/Feminist Cyberethnography: Complicity and Resistance in the “Cyberfield”’, Feminist Media Studies 2(2): 177-193. Available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14680770220150854
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MODULE 4 | Featured Theme: Non-professional Communities of News Translation
|Session 4A | Kyung Hye Kim
Studying (Non-)professional Communities of News Translation
Digital media landscapes are driven by the technological and industrial logic of convergence. While some major news corporations still retain their traditional influence and, in some cases, continue to expand through conglomerations and takeovers, digitization has also enabled various forms of civic engagement of media-literate people in public life. In this context, ordinary people, often as members of virtual communities, have taken on the role of gate-keepers and ‘produsers’ of news – thus challenging the monopoly of big news outlets on the production and distribution of information. Indeed, the translation of news by non-professional communities – often with a view to intervening in public debates and making journalistic texts on certain issues available in languages in which that information could not have been otherwise accessed – contributes to the growing tension between mainstream information and alternative or counter views. This session will explore how these non-professional communities of news translation emerge, how they are structured, and how they manage the processes of source text selection, translation, and distribution. The participatory dimension of these networks and their witnessing function will also be explored. Although various communities from different cultural and geographic contexts will be used for the purposes of illustration, the South Korean community NewsPro will be used as a case study.
Baker, Mona (2013) ‘Translation as an Alternative Space for Political Action’, Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 12 (1): 23–47.
Pérez-González, Luis (2016) ‘The Politics of Affect in Activist Amateur Subtitling: A Biopolitical Perspective’, in Mona Baker and Bolette Blagaard (eds) Citizen Media and Public Spaces: Diverse Expressions of Citizenship and Dissent, London & New York: Routledge, 118-135.
|Session 4B | Luis Pérez-González
Theorizing Translation by Non-professional Communities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Building on the overview of non-professional news translation communities provided in the previous session, the focus here shifts towards recent theorizations of news translation in the digital culture, and the implications of these developments for the discipline of translation studies. Acknowledging the existence of a dialectical relationship between media technologies and the participatory practices these technologies enable, this session will explore whether, and to what extent, non-professional translation practices are consistent with those of citizen journalism – where news production incorporates deliberating and witnessing dimensions, in addition to the traditional informative function (Chouliaraki 2010). The shift from referential accuracy towards narrative negotiation and a politics of affinity/recognition of community members, often as a means to extend global narrative spaces for resistance, will be examined from various theoretical perspectives that media and translation scholars have articulated over the last decade.
Blaagaard, Bolette (2014) ‘Situated, Embodied and Political. Expressions of Citizen Journalism’, in Lilie Chouliaraki and Bolette Blaagaard (eds) Cosmopolitanism and the News Media, London & New York, Routledge, 40-53.
Pérez-González, Luis (2014) ‘Translation and New(s) Media: Participatory Subtitling Practices in Networked Mediascapes’, in Juliane House (ed.) A Multidisciplinary Approach, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 200-221 21.
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MODULE 5 | Academic Career Development
|Session 5A | Mona Baker
Publishing in International Journals
Publishing in peer-reviewed international journals is now key to progressing in an academic career anywhere in the world. With the proliferation of journals that are becoming increasingly focused on either specialist strands of various sub-disciplines or on specific cross-disciplinary themes, identifying a suitable outlet for a research article and pitching it at the right level for that outlet has become a complex affair. This session will draw on the tutor’s experience as a journal editor, as well as a referee for a large number of high-ranking periodicals within and outside the field of translation studies. In addition to established journals of translation studies, emphasis will be placed on publishing in journals that welcome contributions on media-related and digital culture themes and are potentially open to engagement with scholars of translation. Illustrative, anonymized examples from various types of submission and referee feedback will be used to outline recurrent patterns of writing and structuring research articles that result in negative assessment and rejection, and guidance on avoiding such patterns and producing research articles that meet international standards of excellence will be provided.
|Session 5B | Mona Baker
Designing Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Research Projects
Translation Studies is now a vast and growing area of scholarship and is recognized as such by major funding bodies in different parts of the world. At the same time, the success of translation scholars in competing for large grants has largely depended in recent years on their ability to address key priorities such as interdisciplinarity and collaborative research. This session will focus on a number of new and emerging themes that have successfully crossed the boundaries of translation studies proper to engage with scholars in other disciplines, highlighting in particular issues of methodology and impact. These include themes such as the role of translation in shaping intellectual history and mediating our understanding of key concepts in society; translation and digital culture; translation and news production and dissemination, and translation in the context of global activism. The presentation will also offer some ideas for future directions, specifically related to translation in the context of media and digital culture, including further engagement with non-professional translation and the impact of new media cultures and technologies on our ability to formulate research questions in translation studies. It will further offer guidance on writing and structuring research proposals.
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The 2019 Media School was held at the SJTU Minhang Campus: 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, Postcode: 200240
The venue is located in the Shangyuan (上院) building, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which enjoys a beautiful campus along with an active, intellectual and intimate campus atmosphere.
The nearest gate is Siyuan Gate (思源门) facing Dong Chuan Road (东川路). After entering the campus from Siyuan Gate, please turn right and go eastward along the South Nanyang Road. Yang Yongman Building is the red brick building on your left hand side.
Find the Minhang campus here on Baidu maps: https://bit.ly/2JRtAXa
Alternatively, you can use the online university map. Visit the online map page (http://map.sjtu.edu.cn/) and search the Shangyuan (上院) building by using the search box (use ‘上院’ as a search word).
Room 512 on the fifth floor of the building will be the main lecture room for the Media School, and can accommodate 45 people. It is equipped with individual desktops, allowing the participants to have easy access to various websites and media resources available on the internet during the school.
The group and individual tutorials will be held in rooms 511, 512, 413, 412, and 411.
Once you are in the Shangyuan Building, take the lift to the fifth floor, and turn right to find Room 512.
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