Creating a Shared History of Learning Through Online Collaborative Translation

Chuan Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


Nowadays, the ways in which people communicate has been complemented by a variety of participatory media (e.g. online forums and social networking tools) where both the original creators of content and the audience play an active role. Translation practice has also kept pace with this trend and expanded its arena to include the internet. Various online translation practices (e.g. fansubbing, crowdsourcing and volunteer translations) have caught the scholarly attention, key issues that have been examined include the impact of such practice (e.g. Dwyer 2012), the motives for participation (Olohan 2014), and the processes of translation and revision (McDonough Dolmaya 2015). Despite the importance of these issues, scant attention has been paid to the role that online translation communities and practices play in translator training.

In this paper, I intend to examine “online collaborative translation” (OCT) (Yu forthcoming) taken place on the digital platforms as situated learning (Lave and Wenger 1991), focusing on such practice on the Chinese internet. I argue that online collaborative translation is a dynamic social practice. The participants, who are also the ‘prosumers’ (Cronin 2010) of participatory media content, share the enterprise of learning and create a history of collective learning through the process of collaboration. The paper begins with a discussion of the notions of situated learning (ibid.) and virtual communities of practice (VCoP) (Wenger 1998), followed with the analysis of the primary data collected from longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork in the Chinese translation communities like Yeeyan and citizen media portals like Cenci Journalism Project. Through the analysis, I shall showcase how online collaborative translation taken place in VCoPs can be conceptualized as situated learning from four perspectives: informality, situatedness, co-participation and sustainability. Finally, I conclude the paper by discussing the pedagogical implications of OCT.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2019
EventThe Conférence Internationale Permanente d'Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes - Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 3 Jun 20195 Jun 2019


ConferenceThe Conférence Internationale Permanente d'Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes
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