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Monday, 21 December 2020 18:12

Translaboration in Analogue and Digital Practice: Labour, Power, Ethics (Extended deadline)

Edited by Cornelia Zwischenberger (University of Vienna, Austria) and Alexa Alfer (University of Westminster, UK), contracted with Frank & Timme, Berlin.

Translaboration, as an essentially ‘blended concept” (Fauconnier & Turner 2002), responds to the confluence of ‘translation’ and ‘collaboration’ that is increasingly widespread not only in Translation Studies but also in a range of neighbouring disciplines. Translaboration’s central aim is to bring ‘translation’ and ‘collaboration’, as well as the often highly heterogeneous practices associated with these two notions, into dialogue with one another. This edited volume builds on exchanges first aired at our successful ‘Living Translation as Translaboration’ panel at the 2019 ESTconference at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and will focus on the ‘translation as collaboration’ vector of the translaboration concept (cf. Alfer & Zwischenberger 2020; Zwischenberger 2020).

In Translation Studies, we can broadly distinguish two main research strands when it comes to collaborative translation: the historical perspective (e.g. Jansen & Wegener 2013; Cordingley & Frigau Manning 2017; Brown 2018) on the one hand, and the emerging field of ‘online collaborative translation’ (e.g. O’Hagan 2009; Kageura et al. 2011; Massidda 2015; Jiménez-Crespo 2017) on the other. While the former largely refers to analogue translaborations, the latter examines the interactive possibilities offered by platforms associated with Web 2.0 (O’Reilly & Battelle 2009) and has a distinctive digital framing. Where analogue collaborative translation forms the focus of attention, the aim, particularly from a historical perspective, is usually to prove translation’s inherently collaborative nature and to show that the act of translation has never been anything but collaborative. This line of argument is often pursued in conjunction with approaches from ‘genetic criticism’ (Deppman et al. 2004) and has helped establish a range of ‘Genetic Translation Studies’ projects (Cordingley & Montini 2015) that focus on the many texts and hands involved in the genesis of a translation. Research on collaborative translation in the digital sphere, meanwhile, focusses on the various forms of ‘online collaborative translation’ such as translation crowdsourcing and other non-solicited and self-managed online collaborative translation activities that include, for example, Wikipedia translation or the various forms of online collaborative fan translation such as fansubbing or translation hacking (O’Hagan 2009). Conducted largely via online platforms and often supported by machine translation tools, online collaborative translation is frequently executed by non-professional translators interacting with one another in virtual spaces. The fact that these translation phenomena, and the collaborations that give rise to them, fundamentally depend on digital technologies and virtual worlds is, notably, reflected in the routine conceptual privileging of the digital in the research that makes online collaborative translation its central object.

From a translaborative perspective, the prevalent analogue/digital binary that tends to dominate discussions of collaborative translation, and both intersects with and indeed accentuates other binaries such as professional/non-professional, paid/voluntary, production/ consumption etc., is not entirely helpful. With its emphasis on conceptual blending and confluent practices, translaboration offers an alternative perspective on a range of questions, which contributors to this volume will be invited to explore:

How does the analogue vs. digital framing impact on our conceptions of collaborative translation? What are the consequences of such framings for the various actors, but in particular for the translators involved? How do these framings influence concept(s) of translation as such, and thus affect disciplinary practices in Translation Studies? Does the analogue vs. digital framing entail ethical consequences given that translational collaborations in the digital world, where work often remains largely anonymous and mostly unpaid, can be exploitative? Or is the opposite the case and voluntary translators are empowered by acting in the digital space? And how should we map and interrogate power relations, struggles and hierarchies in analogue vs. digital translational collaborations, neither of which occur in a social vacuum? Who has the power to convene, or indeed to contravene, translaborations in these two worlds?

Extended deadline for proposals: 15 January 2021

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