Online Collaborative Translation in China: From 2006 to the Present

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This presentation sets out to provide an overview of online collaborative translation (OCT) on the Chinese internet and how it has developed in the past fifteen years with the aim to analyse the past to prepare for the future. The practice of collaborative translation is age-old, yet the image of the lone translator working in relative isolation has continued to inform perceptions of how translations are produced and what it means to translate. In the digital age, there has been increasing recognition of translation as a collaborative effort, largely due to the proliferation of online translation activities. To date, the only two books concerning the topic of collaborative translation present a Western perspective (Cordingley and Frigau Manning 2017; Jiménez-Crespo 2017). This presentation, based on the author’s forthcoming monograph (Yu Forthcoming), situates OCT in the Chinese context. It begins with a discussion of the phenomena of participatory culture and media convergence on the Chinese internet as they underpin the emergence and development of OCTs. From fansubbing communities to independent journalism projects, from massive open online courses to news translation, several examples of OCT practices and the platforms where such activities take place will be given. After that, it moves on to discuss how OCTs and the social aggregations formed can be understood theoretically. Following its development alongside the change of the Chinese internet ecology chronologically, OCT will be analysed respectively as citizen media practice, social act and situated learning by drawing on the theory of communities of practice (Wenger 1998), socio-narrative theory (Baker 2019) and complexity theory (Burnes 2005). The presentation concludes with the reflections on the methodological approaches in investigating translation in the digital space and outlining future research areas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2022
Event10th Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpreting Forum: Collaboration in the World of Translation and Interpreting - New Changes and New Modes in the New Era - Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China
Duration: 25 Jun 202226 Jun 2022


Forum10th Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpreting Forum
Internet address


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