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Negotiating identity roles during the process of online collaborative translation: An ethnographic approach

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This article examines the processes of online collaborative translation, focusing on the various roles the participants play through their mutual engagement. To enhance our understanding of collaborative translation, Yeeyan, the platform where it takes place, is theorized as a broad community of practice consisting of multiple sub-communities. Supported by Yeeyan's participatory mechanisms, the participants engaging in the collaborative translation actively perform specific roles. Drawing on ethnographic data collected from fieldwork in Yeeyan, a set of materials are analyzed in a holistic manner: online materials documenting Yeeyan's community structure, five Yeeyaners' profiles, parts of the translation manuscripts and two excerpts of the interactions between the participants. The analysis, premised on the theory of communities of practice, reveals that collaborative translation in online translation communities like Yeeyan is an experience of meaning negotiation through which the participants play a variety of roles at different stages as they engage in the shared practice.

Keywords: Collaborative translation; communities of practice; ethnography; identity roles; meaning negotiation; translation process

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: May 4, 2019

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