2010 CATS congress

I’ve just received confirmation that my paper for the 2010 CATS congress at Concordia University has been accepted. I’ll be presenting my research on translator blogs. Here’s the abstract of what I plan to talk about:

Are translators offended when a for-profit company seeks volunteers to translate its website? Should translators lower their rates in a down economy? How can translators educate clients about the challenges inherent to the profession? One way to determine what issues are contentious and/or relevant to translators today is to study the blogs that are currently maintained by language professionals. These blogs highlight attitudes toward clients, working conditions, and other aspects of the profession, indicating how the field is evolving and which views are espoused by opinion leaders. Using content analysis, this paper will explore approximately fifty translation blogs to determine which bloggers are the most influential, what issues these A-list blogs address, and how the stated goals of the blogs compare to their content. Further, it will explore the ways in which these blogs demonstrate competence and whether this one of the main motivations behind the blogs.

Last summer, as I mentioned a recent post, I analyzed six months of posts on twenty-five blogs to see how translators used their blogs and how often they identified themselves, linked to their professional websites and demonstrated translation competence through their postings. In April, once classes are finished here at York, I will be adding to this research for the CATS conference. First, I want to explore the role of translation bloggers as activists. To do this, I will be going back to the original twenty-five blogs to check out their posts immediately after the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, to see whether any of these bloggers encouraged other translators to participate in some of the volunteer initiatives that were introduced by other translators, including this Facebook group launched by a Glendon MA student.

I also want to see whether it’s possible to determine which bloggers are the most influential. I plan to return to the twenty-five blogs and trace the links back to the blogger who wrote the first post on a topic that was later explored by other bloggers. These topics include the LinkedIn controversy, and the ProZ petition. While I may not be able to definitively tell which translators are the most influential bloggers, I do think I’ll be able to draw some tentative conclusions about how translation news and other information circulates among bloggers, whether certain people are quoted more often than others, and whether competence and anonymity play a role in how influential a blogger ultimately becomes. I’ll post more as my research continues, but in the meantime, I would certainly appreciate any comments other researchers and/or bloggers might have on this topic. If you’re a translator, do you blog, and if so, why? If you’re a researcher, do you regularly consult blogs, and if so, do you read those by translators, researchers, or both? Do you maintain your own blog? Have you discovered any trends about how translators or other professionals use blogs and other social media? I’m interested in anything you might have to say on the topic, so feel free to comment here or email me.

One thought on “2010 CATS congress

  1. Topics such as the LinkedIn or Proz issues you mention generally leave me cold. I’m very deliberate about not blogging about them because I don’t see the point. No-one’s interested in actually listening – people are just dying to jump in and swing a punch. Reactions are so extreme and rarely careful and considered. I think these discussions often reflect very badly on translators themselves. They smack of insecurities, fear and (most often) a complete lack of understanding about technology. (Not to mention appalling communication skills.) Moreover, they almost always revolve around how downtrodden we are as professionals, and I just don’t buy that.

    Although I try not to, the fact is I often think less of translators who are too quick to jump on the blogging-bandwagon du jour… so, influential? Yes, but in the negative sense.

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