Media School 2021

International Research School for Media Translation and Digital Culture

12-17 July 2021

Structure and Organization

The 2021 International Research School for Media Translation and Digital Culture will consist 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: Translation and Distribution in the Streaming Age
  • Module 5. Academic Career Development

Each module encompasses three contact hours and six hours of guided reading.

Students participating in the School spend their mornings in taught sessions, while afternoons are spent in small group tutorials and independent study. Each student participates in two tutorials during the School.

On the sixth and final day, students will present their work to fellow students and staff and receive oral feedback.

Programme


MODULE 1 | Theoretical Approaches to Media Translation Research
Session 1A | Neil Sadler
Stories and Socials: Narrative Theory in (Social) Media Translation Research

Although narrative has long been recognised as a key way of being and knowing in translation studies and beyond, it has received comparatively little scholarly attention in new media research. This is because many aspects of new media communication operate according to a logic seemingly at odds with that of the story: narrative boundaries are hazy, distinctions between tellers and audiences are blurred, and data is frequently structured in non-linear databases rather than chains of cause and effect. This session will argue that narrative nonetheless remains an extremely useful concept for theorising and analysing translation practices, as well as communication more broadly, on social media. Drawing on phenomenology, narrative theory and new work in existential media studies, it will explore the idea that much social media communication remains grounded in narrativity deriving from the temporality of human existence, despite the significant formal differences between much social media storytelling and prototypical literary, journalistic and historical narrative.

Reading

Hayles, Katherine (2007) ‘Narrative and Database: Natural Symbionts’, PMLA 122(5): 1603–8.

Lagerkvist, Amanda (2016) ‘Existential Media: Toward a Theorization of Digital Thrownness’, New Media and Society 19(1): 96–110.

Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of New Media, Cambridge, MA & London: The MIT Press | Chapter 5: ‘The Forms’, 212-243.

Session 1B | Luis Pérez-González
Remediation Studies in Media Translation Research

A relatively substantial body of literature on subtitling in digital culture published over the last ten years has re-directed the focus of research away from processes of interlingual transfer towards the social substratum and participatory dimension of this form of non-professional translation. By contrast, the fact that ordinary people’s search for mediated vehicles of self-expression, including those that require translation across languages, often involves “highly personalized assembly, disassembly and re-assembly of mediated reality” (Deuze 2006: 66) has received less attention – even though the remixing of original and/or ‘borrowed’ audiovisual content is redefining the relationship that has traditionally existed between original texts and their translations. This session draws on the insight that subtitling in digital culture is generally driven by an attempt to maximise the transformative potential of remediated audiovisual material, where interlingual transfers are subsumed into more comprehensive processes of semiotic modification. After exploring various conceptualisations of remediation across different disciplines, students will be presented with various examples, including both playful remixes pertaining to the ever expanding meme culture and critical remixes functioning as tools of political advocacy, forms of activist protest and modes of political commentary.

Reading

Gallagher, Owen (2021) ‘Remediation’, in Mona Baker, Bolette Blaagaard, Henry Jones and Luis Pérez-González (eds) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media, London & New York, 355-362.

Pérez-González, Luis (2017) ‘Investigating Digitally Born Amateur Subtitling Agencies in the Context of Popular Culture’, in David Orrego-Carmona and Yvonne Lee (eds) Non-Professional Subtitling, Newscastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 15-36.

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MODULE 2 | Research Methods in Media Translation
Session 2A | Neil Sadler
Working with Fragments: Researching Translation in Microblogs

Contemporary Internet communication is defined by intense fragmentation. Nowhere is this more evident than on microblogging platforms such as Twitter or Sina Weibo, which strongly emphasise very small chunks of information presented to users in a largely decontextualized way. This session will explore, and propose responses to, some of the issues which this fragmentation raises for research. Some challenges are methodological: bodies of data lack obvious boundaries, greatly complicating data selection; social media platforms frequently change with retroactive effect, raising obstacles for archival or ‘genetic’ approaches; the increasing importance of algorithms and ‘personalisation’ of search results limits replicability. Other difficulties are grounded in the mismatch between scholarly approaches to microblogging and how they are employed by other users: the focused attention of the researcher differs radically from the inattentive reception more common in everyday life; the fixed outputs of scholarly work are markedly different from the fluid intertextual networks which define meaning on social media. Further challenges are ethical: public/private distinctions, while often challenging in internet research, are especially hazy, making it difficult to determine what data can and cannot be reasonably analysed; the distinctive temporality of microblogging blends ephemerality and immediacy with permanence and searchability, creating a need to continually reassess the usability of collected data.

Reading

franzke, aline shakti, Anja Bechmann, Michael Zimmer, Charles Ess and The Association of Internet Researchers (2020) Internet Research: Ethical Guidelines 3.0. Available online at https://aoir.org/reports/ethics3.pdf 

Meraz, Sharon and Zizi Papacharissi (2013) ‘Networked Gatekeeping and Networked Framing on #Egypt’, The International Journal of Press/Politics 18(2): 138–66.

Session 2B | Luis Pérez-González
New Research Methods for Emerging Media

Historically, the invention of new media – whether in the form of novels, films or digital technologies – has prompted the reinvention of affective responses from readers or viewers (Littau 2006). Centred on translation practices conceived originally over a century ago, when the novelty of the film medium was able to overpower and assault the senses, audiovisual translation studies was dominated for decades by research on readability standards and the transfer of linguistic naturalness and humour across languages. Digitisation, however, has significantly widened the range of textualities featuring evolved forms of interlingual or intersemiotic audiovisual translation to shape new contexts of consumption and reception – including, but not limited, to 3D, 360° and other immersive environments. Although some of the research methods deployed to investigate how translation is used in these environments (e.g. eye-tracking) have already become a staple of the toolkit used by scholars in the field, other empirical methods seeking to inform our understanding of translation practices in emerging media are currently still being piloted. This session will introduce participants to a range of methods focusing on the elicitation of media users’ biofeedback, such as heart rate monitoring or galvanic skin response, and explore how they can contribute to shaping intersemiotic and accessible translation practices in digital culture.

Reading

Agulló, Belén and Pilar Orero (2017) ‘3D Movie Subtitling: Searching for the Best Viewing Experience’, CoMe – Studi di Comunicazione e Mediazione linguistica e culturale 2: 91-101.

Jones, Henry (2018) ‘Audiovisual Translation and Mediality’, in Luis Pérez-González (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation, London & New York: Routledge, 177-191.

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MODULE 3 | Media Research Design and Dynamics 
Session 3A | Kyung Hye Kim
Practical Issues in Media Research Design

Social interactions, movement, communication, and incessant flow of contents in the digital arena are increasingly digitised and datafied, enabling our immediate access to authentic data. However, the fluidity and diversity nature of data in digital culture, and participatory nature of Web pose new challenges to conventional (static data) analysis in audiovisual translation research. This session is thus specifically intended to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake media translation research in such a vast and growing reservoir of kinetic media data. It will offer an overview of some key issues to consider when researching media translation in digital culture, centering on the following three areas: (i) research design, i.e. ways to establish appropriate research questions; (ii) data selection and collection, i.e. identifying a suitable dataset (e.g. assessing authenticity, credibility and validity of various types of data available online) and capturing fragile and volatile data; and (iii) research methods, i.e. various ways to carry out qualitative and quantitative research and to use appropriate tools for fluctuating data. Participants, working in groups, will have a chance to develop (or review) their own research questions, establish a set of data collection criteria, determine research methods, and to provide/receive feedback on their rationale.

Reading

Olohan, Maeve and Mona Baker (2009) ‘Coherence and Clarity of Objectives in Doctoral Projects: A Research Design Workshop’, The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 3(1): 143–164.

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.

Session 3B | Jonathan Evans
Researching Sensitive Topics in Media Translation

Publication in international journals and international collaborative research both require an understanding of research ethics and the risks to participants and researchers. Research in translation and interpreting is increasingly diversifying into areas such as war, activism, LGBT+ topics, race, workplace relations, and other areas that can put participants at risk emotionally (e.g. relating to traumatic experience), physically, or reputationally. Even areas such as fandom offer some risks for participants. Researchers themselves may also face physical risks from lone working or travel to unsafe areas, among other risks. Yet these are rich areas for research, where new work can have significant impact within and beyond academia. Undertaking research in them requires addressing the risks to all involved in order to minimise the potential for harm. This session centres on the question of how to research sensitive topics (understood as those that put the researcher or participants at risk of harm, understood broadly), focusing on notions and practices of research ethics, as well as research design that will minimise risk to all involved. As a participatory session, it will include group work allowing students to discuss hypothetical and existing projects and to develop their understanding of implications for research ethics and practice.

Reading

Baker, Mona (2010) ‘Narratives of Terrorism and Security: “Accurate” Translations, Suspicious Frames’, Critical Studies on Terrorism 3(3): 347-364.

Shilton, Katie and Sheridan Sayles (2016) ‘”We Aren’t All Going to Be on the Same Page about Ethics”: Ethical Practices and Challenges in Research on Digital and Social Media’, 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Koloa, HI, 1909-1918.

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MODULE 4 | Featured Theme: Translation and Distribution in the Streaming Age
Session 4A | Jonathan Evans
Streaming and Translation: Theoretical Approaches

The growth of video on demand (streaming video) is a key area in the shift to digital media, removing the need for physical media (e.g. video tapes or DVDs) to have access to a vast array of media products. This superabundance of media is changing how audiences perceive texts as well as how texts themselves are created. In addition, streaming is shifting media consumption away from a linear, broadcast model to a non-linear, on demand model that alters the notion of audience as well as the historicity of texts themselves, de- and re-contextualising narratives. The notion of national audiences is also complicated by the ways in which streaming companies (e.g. Netflix) include media from around the world in translation, also disrupting notions of mediatic centres and peripheries, as more media from previously peripheral linguacultures (e.g. South Korea, Thailand) become easily available (in translation) around the world. This session will address these changes in the global media ecology, focusing on the role of translated media in streaming. Beginning with a discussion of the theoretical issues of digital media and streaming, it will then turn to how translation develops and alters global media ecologies through notions of centre/periphery, attention and participatory practices.

Reading

Dwyer, Tessa (2017) Speaking in Subtitles: Revaluing Screen Translation, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press | Chapter 6: ‘Streaming, Subbing, Sharing: Viki Global TV’, 164-185.

Reynolds, Simon (2011) Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, London: Faber | Chapter 5: ‘Turning Japanese: The Empire of Retro and the Hipster International’, 162-179.

Session 4B | Kyung Hye Kim
Film and TV in Translation: A Streaming Story

Along with the disruption that streaming services are causing to the established global media ecology, they are also enabling unprecedented cultural/linguistic diversity and non-linear media content flows. The emergence of Internet-distributed, subscriber-funded digital streaming services – from Amazon Prime to Rakuten Viki, Netflix, Youku, YiQiYi, and Bilibili –  and the video-on-demand contents library they bring with them are empowering audiences to take control of what they watch and when they do so, ultimately reversing the flow of cultural traffic. This session revolves around various polyglot films and the plurality of voices found in streaming services. Taking Netflix as a primary example, it will explore how streaming providers have decentralised the hierarchy in the media system and diversified cultural flows. Adopting a translation studies perspective, it will explore the impact of these streaming services in terms of linguistic homogenisation, audience exposure to ‘foreignness’ and the proliferation of subtitled and dubbed content in audiovisual markets that had been hitherto dominated by dubbing and subtitling, respectively. Various films and series featuring different languages will be used for the purposes of illustration. Among them, South Korean auteur film Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017) – a feature film financed and distributed by Netflix –  will be used to demonstrate how streaming services are challenging the largely monolingual, Eurocentric, Anglophone-led media system, while contributing to the diversification of languages used in films.

Reading

Lobato, Ramon (2017) ‘Rethinking International TV Flows Research in the Age of Netflix’, Television & New Media 19(3): 241-256.

O’Sullivan, Carol (2007) ‘Multilingualism at the Multiplex: A New Audience for Screen Translation?’, Linguistica Antverpiensia 6: 81–95.

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MODULE 5 | Academic Career Development
Session 5A | Luis Pérez-González
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 presenter’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 associated with other disciplinary domains that are potentially open to engagement with scholars of audiovisual and media 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 migration; the role of translation in the context of pandemics and major health crises; 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. Participants will be offered guidance on writing and structuring research proposals.

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Venue: SISU Hongkou Campus (Downtown Campus)

Inspired by its first president, Jiang Chunfang, who was a renowned translator of Russian, Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) is an internationally recognized, prestigious academic institution distinctive for its multidisciplinary and multicultural nature. SISU has developed a diverse and distinctive mix of disciplines with language, literature and international and regional studies as its pillar. As of March 2020, it offers courses in 46 languages, including 35 modern languages (including English, Russian, Arabic, Greek, Korean, Persian, Swahili, Javanese, Pashto, Tajik, Romanian and Chinese), and teaches 11 classical and constructed languages, such as Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Syriac Aramaic, Pahlavi, Classical Nahuatl, Akkadian, Sumerian, Classical Hebrew and Esperanto. The Graduate Institute of Interpretation and Translation (GIIT) of SISU is ranked by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters, as the only Asian university among the 15 top professional conference interpreting schools in the world.

SISU has two campuses – Hongkou Campus and Songjiang Campus. MTDC 2021 will be held in the Hongkou campus, which is located in downtown Shanghai, one of China’s most affluent and diverse cities, and home to great cultural and entertainment attractions.