On academic blogging

Some recent online articles weighing the pros and cons of academic blogging and academic publishing more broadly led me to reflect on my own reasons for blogging over the past 4 1/2 years.

One of the concerns academic bloggers have mentioned is that the writing they do for their blogs does not count as academic research: the posts are not peer-reviewed, so they will typically be counted as professional service rather than research in tenure and promotion assessments, even though blogs–being freely accessible online–are likely to reach a wider audience than a typical academic journal article. As one blogger noted, any time spent writing her blog was time not spent writing a peer-reviewed essay or a book that would “count” as research. And this is certainly something I have considered as well.

When I started this blog in 2009, I had a lot more time on my hands: I had just finished my PhD, was getting ready to teach three courses in the next academic year, and was looking forward to finally being able to write short posts in a single sitting, rather than trying to plow through a major project like a dissertation. Not unexpectedly, I posted much more actively than I did last year, for instance, when I taught five courses, wrote three journal articles and edited the book review section of another journal. But I still enjoy blogging, even if I don’t have as much time for it. And, in case any other academics are trying to decide whether it’s worth starting a blog, here’s a few reasons why I continue to post articles on this one:

  1. First, this blog has helped me connect with many people I would probably not otherwise have met: other researchers, of course, but also graduate students and non-academics from around the world. Over the last four years, several thousand people have visited the site. Some bloggers, of course, can attract that many visitors in a much shorter period, but I don’t have the time to write content more frequently and to promote the website more efficiently. And I’m happy with my readership figures: without this blog, I would not have been able to reach several thousand people who were otherwise interested in the topics I write about.
  2. Second, the blog is a great way to archive things I’m likely to want to look up again later. For instance, because I try to write about the conferences I’ve attended, I’m able to go back months or years later and double-check who said what at which event. I can also review what I was doing in my classes a few years ago and what I thought about it at the time. Without the blog, I probably wouldn’t have that kind of information at hand, since my conference notes would likely have ended up somewhere among the many stacks of papers covering my desk and filing cabinets.
  3. If, like me, you integrate your blog into a website (and WordPress allows you to do so very easily), you can also keep your CV up to date and provide links to (or full versions of) your articles. I realize that you could also do this via sites like Academia.edu, but I like having my own site, which gives me more control over the layout, structure, and kind of content I would like to include.
  4. Finally, with a blog, you can post material you’ve had to cut from longer papers but wouldn’t be able to develop into another full-length article. You can also work out ideas for projects you might later develop into a larger project, or reflect on topical issues that you’re never going to have time to develop into a full-length article. If you use your blog in this way, as I sometimes do, it becomes an extension of your writing activities, fodder for new work, and a platform to test out new ideas rather than a side-project taking you away from your “real” research.

These are my primary motivations for blogging, but I’m sure other bloggers could add more reasons to this list. In case you’d like to read other blogs about translation written from an academic’s perspective, here are a few of the blogs I follow that are written by people who are or were actively involved in Translation Studies:

Know of others? I’d be happy to update the list.

Integrating blogs into a Translation Studies course

At the CATS conference in May 2010, I attended a presentation by Philippe Caignon, who talked about his experience integrating blogs into a terminology course. (Incidentally, Philippe has just one of the prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowships, an honour he richly deserves, and which you can read about here). After the conference, when I finally got around to writing a post about Philippe’s presentation, I resolved to add a blogging component to at least one of my courses in the next academic year. I felt that doing so would expose students to a platform they might use after graduation, since they might be maintaining a company blog, translating blog postings, or creating and sharing their own blogs. I also thought it would provide us with more flexibility, allowing students to reflect on the coursework and exchange ideas outside of the classroom. Although I never wrote a follow-up post, I did, in fact, integrate blogs into the MA-level Translation Studies course I taught in 2011. Since then, I’ve taught the course twice more, and I’ve made some changes to the way I incorporate blogging activities. I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned in case others are considering adding a blogging component to their courses. I’ll focus on three aspects:

  • Blogging platforms
  • Designing the assignments
  • Grading

Blogging platforms

Although Learning Management Systems like Moodle and Blackboard have integrated blogging tools, I wanted to have students work with a platform they’d be likely to use again outside of the classroom. So I asked students to create their own blogs using WordPress or Blogger, and then and send me the URL so I could add a link to these blogs on the course website. This solution has worked out well: the blogs are easy to find (since they’re all listed in the “blogroll” of the course website), students can express themselves more creatively because they can customize the look and feel of their blogs, and I don’t have to deal with emailed assignments and incompatible file formats because every graded assignment must be submitted as a blog post.

So what about privacy then? You might be wondering why students would want to share all their coursework with a) everyone on the Internet and b) everyone else in the class. The answer to the first issue is easy: blogs don’t have to be visible to search engines, nor do they have to be accessible to every Internet user. Once I told students they had to create their own blogs, I made sure to explain how to adjust the privacy settings so that the blog remained invisible to search engines and/or could be accessed by invitation only. Most students chose to make their blogs invisible to search engines, because if they made their blogs private, they would have to email invitations to everyone else in the class. I did mention, though, that they could always change the privacy settings once the course was over, making their blogs as accessible or inaccessible as they wanted.

As for the second issue, whether students might be reluctant to share their coursework with their classmates, I invited everyone to use pseudonyms. Some students liked this option, and named their blogs something like “Translation Studies 5100” or “Glendon Translation Student.” Others didn’t seem to mind either way and used their real names. I also informed everyone that when commenting on their classmates’ blogs, they had to be respectful and constructive, rather than negative. To date, I haven’t had any problems with inappropriate comments. Generally, students have found the feedback from their peers very helpful. In fact, many of the comments offered a perspective very different from mine: details about cultures and languages with which I’m unfamiliar, references to sources I hadn’t seen, etc. And as one student mentioned to me last year, students are able to get a better sense of how they compare to their classmates, in terms of their writing skills, their background knowledge and their familiarity with theoretical texts, which can give them greater confidence in their own skills or alert them that they may need to do some catching up.

Designing the assignments

A big mistake I made the first time I assigned blogging as part of the coursework was not indicating specific deadlines for the blog posts. Although students were required to post five critical reflections on the assigned readings, I didn’t assign a specific due date for each post because I wanted to provide some flexibility about which readings the posts could cover. Unfortunately, most of the students procrastinated and posted nothing until the last week of the semester, leaving their classmates with very little to comment on (more on that in a minute). Ever since then, I’ve assigned fewer blog posts (just two critical reflections this year), and I’ve also set specific due dates for these posts: the first is due on Week 4 of our 13-week course, and the second is due on Week 8. These deadlines still allow students to choose which course readings they want to comment on in their post, but it also ensures they are submitting their posts throughout the semester rather than at the end.

As part of the coursework, students are required to comment on at least six different blog posts over the course of the semester. This means they can read six different blogs and leave comments on each one, or they can leave several comments on just two or three blogs. After my experience the first year, I’ve set deadlines here as well: comments are due by Weeks 6 and 10, though of course everyone is welcome to leave comments at any time. And based on some of the advice Philippe gave during his presentation, I also require students to respond to the comments they receive from their peers: this helps maintain a dialogue rather than a one-way discussion.

Grading

The critical reflections, along with all the other coursework (like an annotated bibliography and the final paper) are submitted via the blog and are all marked in the same way I’d grade a traditional paper: based on the clarity of the argument, the relevance of the examples, the extent of the documentation, etc. I send students an individual email with my feedback and their grade because I don’t feel this is something that should be shared with everyone.

As for the comments, I assign a mark for completion, provided the comment meets the standards I set out in the syllabus (i.e. it offers thoughtful constructive criticism that also highlights some of the argument’s strengths). At the end of the term, I tally up the number of comments and replies, award an A+ to any student(s) who went beyond the requirements, A’s to the students who left the required number of comments and replies, B’s to the students who missed a few, and so on. In total, comments are worth 15% of the final grade for the course (10% for comments and 5% for replies).

Overall, I think blogs are a useful tool to integrate into the classroom. Although this was a graduate course, Philippe’s presentation focused on his experience with an undergraduate class, so blogs can definitely be used in a variety of contexts to achieve multiple learning objectives, include peer collaboration, asynchronous discussions, and critical reflections on the coursework.

CATS Conference at Concordia University, Part II

Well, it’s now more than a month since I got back from Concordia, and I’ve only just gotten around to writing about a really interesting presentation I attended while I was away. I put the blame squarely on house-hunting and the subsequent packing, moving and unpacking, which all required more time than I was expecting. And what’s more, I had no access to the Internet for over two weeks, which really inhibited me from writing a few blog posts and finishing up my research on translation blogs.

Now that I finally have wireless again at home, I’m sitting down to write a summary of the presentation by Philippe Caignon at the 23rd CATS conference. He spoke about his decision to use blogs as a pedagogical tool in his terminology class last year, when he chose a topic (green economics) and had students blog about terminology in this field. Students were graded only on their blogs, which they had to present in front of the class on a weekly basis. Their classmates could then offer constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.

Philippe noted that adding blogs to the course led to several positive results. For instance, there was better collaboration among the students, who gave each other advice; students paid more attention to their spelling/grammar and to their sources, since their peers could read and comment on their postings; and students felt free to be as creative as they wanted, which may not have happened in a traditional terminology course. However, he did have to spend class time teaching students how to create a blog, as many of them didn’t know how to go about it. The students also complained that they were spending too much time on their blogs tweaking the appearance, widgets, etc., and Philippe found that the creativity manifested by the students led to such diverse blogs that he had to spend much more time marking their work than he would have if he had assigned another type of project.

What intrigued me the most in the presentation was the assessment rubric. Students were graded on various aspects of their blogs, including the quality and originality of the blog, student responses to comments from their peers, the evolution in the blog’s quality and the student’s critical thinking, and the relevance of the student’s comments on other blogs. I think this kind of rubric would greatly encourage collaboration among students and I also believe this model could be adapted for a translation theory course. Students could write weekly comments on the readings and the topics seen in class. And every week, two or three students could spend ten minutes presenting their blogs (and their thoughts on the previous week’s topics) to the class. Blogs also allow students to share links to videos or podcasts, which could enrich our in-class discussions.

It’s too bad that I won’t be teaching the translation theory course again this year, because I would have liked to have used blogs as a teaching tool, now that I’ve prepared most of the course material. However, I will still keep this idea in mind, as I’ve proposed a master’s-level course on political translation, and I think blogs could be incorporated into that course instead. If I do work something out, I’ll write another post about what I decided to do. I’d really like to hear from professors who have already used blogs as teaching tools in their translation courses, or from students who have any thoughts on blogs in the classroom, so please add a comments or send me an email if you’d like to share your experiences.

Translation Blogs II

Note: This post follows my previous one on translation blogs. That post explained my methodology and research goals, along with my initial findings, which I won’t be discussing again. If you haven’t read it, you can do so here.

House-hunting and a couple of small translation projects set my research back a few days, so I wasn’t able to finish studying the second group of blogs until yesterday. I spent today going over the data and analyzing it for trends. What did I find? Well, here are a few of my conclusions, along with an updated ranking of translation blogs. I’ll post some more data next week.

While I was looking at the blogs, my biggest problem was trying to decide what made them “translation-related.” The blogs in the original sample group were very clearly about translation: nearly all of them were written by translators, and the content was similar (translation-related advice, examples of translation errors, reviews of software or books related to translation, news about translation conferences, workshops, publications, etc.). However, as I started to look at the blogs that the translators in the first sample group had linked to or otherwise mentioned, I found that while the cited blogs were usually related to language, they were not all directly related to translation. For example, Bruce Humes reviews Chinese books, but his blog is in English: does this make his blog about translation? What about the fact that he is a writer and translator? Language Log and Languagehat were also problematic: both touch on translation, but are really better described as linguistics or language blogs. Eventually I decided to include them in the list, as they did have posts that had been tagged or categorized as “translation.” (I also admit to being influenced by the ATA’s list of translation-related blogs, which included both Language Log and Langaugehat). And these helped me set the following rule for considering a blog as “translation-related”: it had to be language-related, first and foremost, and then it had to have either a category or a tag for translation, along with a few posts that fell into these categories. And this is why I’ve been calling these blogs “translation” rather than “translator” blogs; after all, they are sometimes written by bilingual or multilingual readers, writers, linguists, etc. who have an interest in translation or who translate to complement their main career rather than by someone who earns a living exclusively from translating.

So what did this expanded study of translation blogs reveal? Not a lot that I hadn’t already seen when I studied the first sample group. The twenty-five blogs in my initial sample group linked to 57 blogs (some of which were already part of my sample group), giving me a total of 67 different translation blogs to rank. When I studied another group of twenty-five blogs, they linked to 65 different blogs, most of which had either been in my original sample group or cited by someone in my sample group. So in total, I now have 100 translation blogs on my list, and I’ve ranked all 100 using the same methodology as last time (1 point every time a blog was cited, 2 points for every blogger who cited it).

As you can see if you compare the table below with the table in my last post, the top ten most influential bloggers haven’t changed very much: eight of the ten bloggers who were on the original top ten list are also on this list. However, only two kept the same rank: Thoughts on Translation (#1) and Beyond Words (#13). The other seven blogs that were on both lists have shifted, though not by much: There’s Something about Translation, Blogging Translator, and Global Watchtower all moved down a few places, while About Translation and Naked Translations both moved up a couple of spots. This demonstrates that the blogs that were cited in my first sample group are some of the most influential, and not just among the core group of bloggers who made up my sample. This is clear from the fact that of the top 25 blogs, only three—Language Log (#10), Brave New Words (#20) and Yndigo (#25)—were not cited by at least one blog in each sample group.

Blog No. of citations No. of bloggers Score
Thoughts on Translation 21 12 45
Musings from an Overworked Translator 14 10 34
About Translation 15 9 33
Naked Translations 13 8 29
Global Watchtower 11 6 23
Matthew Bennett 8 7 22
Masked Translator 9 6 21
There’s Something About Translation 9 6 21
Translation Times 8 6 20
Language Log 17 1 19

The outlier in this list is Language Log, which was the only blog in the top ten not to be mentioned by at least six of the 94 blogs. It ranked so high only because Langaugehat (which published an average of 30 posts per month between January and June 2009) referred to Language Log on 17 occasions. This indicates that Language Log was considered very important to Languagehat, but not necessarily to other bloggers. Fidus interpretes, the next-ranked blog on the list, was cited by 5 bloggers on 6 occasions, more in line with the other most influential blogs in the above table.

It’s getting late so I’ll stop here for now, but in a few days I will post more about blogger groupings and the relationship between a blog’s longevity and its rank.

Translation Blogs I

Now that classes have finished and marks have been submitted, I can finally get back to the research I left behind last summer: analyzing translation blogs to determine:

  • Which blogs are the most influential
  • How blogs are used by translators (are bloggers anonymous or do they identify themselves and provide links to their professional services?)
  • What type of content can be found in the blogs (e.g. personal diary-like entries, book reviews, translation-industry news/announcements, reflections on the practice of translation)
  • How long (on average) the most (and least) influential blogs have been online, and
  • Whether there’s a link between a blog’s content and longevity and its influence among other bloggers

I’ll be presenting the results of my research at the CATS congress at Concordia University in a few weeks, but I wanted to write a few posts here first to give an overview of my research, along with a few of my findings. I’ll post more details after the conference.

One of the problems I had while I was trying to determine which translation blogs are the most influential is that no comprehensive list of blogs exists. (Some partial lists have been draw up by two translation bloggers. This one by Sarah Dillon, the blogger behind There’s Something about Translation, includes over 100 blogs, while this one from Christine at Polyglot Blog offers links to approximately 90 translation blogs in English, French, Spanish Portuguese, Dutch, German, Italian, Arabic and Polish).

The fact that no one really knows how many translation blogs exist means I couldn’t just list them all and then rank them according to the number of inbound links. Instead, I started with a sample of 25 blogs about translation, which I randomly chose from the 2009 LexioPhiles Top Language Blogs nominees (Language Professionals Category). I then consulted six months of blog postings (January to June 2009) on each of the 25 blogs to determine what content was offered, how many posts were created each month, how many comments were made on each post, and how many other translation blogs were cited by the bloggers. I did not count the blogs listed in the blogrolls of my sample group because a blog that is listed in a blogger’s blogroll is not necessarily read by that blogger. I counted only blogs that were directly quoted or linked to by a blogger in one of his or her posts. Finally, I checked the date of each blog’s first post so that I could draw conclusions about how a blog’s age affected its influence among translation bloggers.

The 25 blogs in my sample cited numerous translation blogs—57 in fact, including 15 that were already part of my sample group. This fact surprised me, as I had expected that a few blogs would stand out as being very influential (ie. as being cited numerous times by various bloggers), but I hadn’t expected that so many different blogs would be cited only once or twice by a single person. Instead, I found that a whopping 42 blogs (or 74% of the 57 blogs) were linked to or quoted by a single blogger from my sample group of 25. I have a few hypotheses to explain this finding.

The first is that bloggers may be reading many other translation blogs but not quoting from them for their own posts. Some of the blogs had a significant number of comments on each post (e.g. Algo más que traducir and Masked Translator, neither of which were ranked in the top 10 but which had an average of 8.17 and 6.44 comments per post, respectively), which indicates that other bloggers, instead of using their own blogs to respond to what they had read somewhere else, commented directly on the original poster’s blog and only occasionally wrote a post in response.

The second is that some bloggers are simply outliers in the sense that they do not cite other bloggers and are not cited by anyone. This was the case, for instance, with Se Habla English? and The Translation and Interpretation Blog. Next week, I’ll write more about this point, as I’m going to look into whether a number of strong-tie blogger communities exist (meaning that a number of blogging translators regularly cite one another and comment on each others’ blogs), even though most translators who blog do not belong to such communities.

The third is that because such a significant number of translation blogs exist, not all of them are being widely read. Moreover, readership often depends on the blogger’s language pairs: There’s a strong link between the language pairs of the blogger who is cited and the blogger who does the citing. The twenty-five blogs I studied were written in either English, French or Spanish—or in the case of Fidus Interpres, in a combination of English and Portuguese—and the blogs that were cited were written in either English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, or a combination of these languages. I’m sure translators are blogging in other languages as well (since Technorati’s 2006 Q3 State of the Blogosphere report indicated that English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese posts made up less than half the posts indexed by the search engine*), but these blogs haven’t turned up in any of the outbound links in my initial 25-blog sample. For this reason, I’m now sampling another six months of postings from 25 blogs I’ve randomly selected out of the 57 that were cited by my initial sample group. This should help show whether the blogs I’ve listed as the most influential really are influential among many bloggers or only among the 25 in my initial sample group. I’ll post the results next week. For now, though, I thought I’d share my initial ranking of translator blogs. Next week, I’ll compare this ranking to the revised ranking after I’ve studied my second sample of 25 blogs. I’ll also compare the revised ranking with Google Reader subscribers and Techonrati Authority.

To determine how “influential” a blog is among translator bloggers, I counted the number of times a particular blog was linked to/cited by another blogger. I then weighted the results, giving a blog one point for every reference to the blog and two points for every blogger who linked to the blog. For example, Translation Times was quoted 4 times by 3 of the 25 bloggers, giving it a score of 10 (4 citations x 1 point + 3 bloggers x 2 points), while Musings from an Overworked Translator was quoted 7 times by 5 bloggers, giving it a score of 17 (7 citations x 1 point + 5 bloggers x 2 points). Here’s the top 10 list:

Blog No. of citations No. of bloggers Score
Thoughts on Translation 12 7 26
There’s Something About Translation 8 5 18
Global Watchtower 9 4 17
Musings from an Overworked Translator 7 5 17
Matthew Bennett 5 5 15
Blogging Translator 4 3 10
Naked Translations 4 3 10
Translation Times 4 3 10
About Translation 3 3 9
The GITS Blog 3 3 9

More next week….

* Be sure to check out this link for details about the limitations to Technorati’s methods for determining the language of blog postings.

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.

Translation blogs and social activism

Recently, I’ve been revising a paper that I started working on last summer. It explores translation blogs, a topic that drew my interest when I began researching translation networks. While my earlier research focused on how bloggers demonstrate competence through their blogs, I now intend to study various aspects of translation blogs, including which blogs are most influential, what motivates bloggers, and how blogs are used by translators.

Over the summer, when I studied seven months of postings on twenty-five translation blogs, I found that more than 60% of the posters used their blogs to share language-related news, while more than half offered translation tips of a practical or professional nature, and 40% reviewed articles, books, or software (although clearly some translators used their blogs for all three of these purposes). More recently, as I began to review additional blogs for my paper, I came across several instances of translators using their blogs to support a cause and/or to encourage others to do the same. While the blogs in my initial sampling did voice their opinions on contentious issues (crowdsourcing by for-profit companies, professionals accepting lower rates in a down economy, reverse-auction sites), they did not directly urge readers to engage in a particular action; however, the expressive and persuasive nature of many of the posts on these topics (see this post on reverse auctions, for example), showed the blogger’s opinion and encouraged readers to agree with him or her. A more direct call to action, though can be found here on Una Vita Vagabond. Although translation is only one of many topics addressed by the blogger, he is a translator, and he has written three posts describing the reasons for and encouraging others to sign a petition against ProZ for the way it operates its job posting system, where clients and not freelancers set the rates for projects.

Since I still have a few months before the conference where I’m planning to present this paper, I’ll now be considering how often translation blogs are used for activist purposes, and trying to determine whether a blogger’s influence affects how often he or she writes persuasive posts to directly or indirectly encourage readers to act in a certain way. I’ll post more as my research continues.

The whys of translation blogs

During my background reading for an article I’m writing about translator blogs, I came across “Blog Use Motivations: An Exploratory Study”, an article by Barbara K. Kaye in Blogging, Citizenship, and the Future of Media. It presents the results of a survey of 2397 blog users to determine their reasons for accessing blogs. Respondents were asked an open-ended question, which resulted in sixty-two general reasons for why they consulted blogs. Their motivations ranged from finding links to information, interacting with people, seeking diversions, and engaging in a dialogue to researching, fact-checking, and keeping up with news. While I do have some questions about the way the results were grouped (e.g. why is the item “for links to more information/sources” grouped under the “blog presentation” motivation instead of “information seeking” motivation?), the article did lead me to start thinking about blog user motivations for accessing translation blogs.

Since the respondents were not asked about what kinds of blogs they were accessing (e.g. blogs by friends, political blogs, professional blogs), the survey results could very well be different if the question was more focused. Would such a wide range of responses still be offered if the survey was directed at readers of translation blogs in particular? And how might reader motivations compare to blogger motivations? For instance, Kaye reported that 14 percent of respondents were seeking information (e.g. specific/wide range of information, accurate news, social trends/issues) and about 8 percent were seeking opinions. Would these figures be the same if respondents were asked only why they consult translation blogs? And if the bloggers themselves were surveyed to determine why they maintain their blogs, how would their answers compare to those of blog users? I hope to start surveying bloggers and blog users in the next few months to learn about their motivations. Anyone interested in participating in the survey or the analysis is welcome to contact me

Blogging about bloggers

For the past few weeks, I’ve been researching translator blogs as part of a larger project on how translation competence is perceived and demonstrated by translators who work largely online. While reading recent postings from about thirty blogs, I noticed that translation blogs seem to operate as a translation network. Many of the bloggers had frequent contact with one another–either passively, by reading the postings of others, or actively, by reading posts, writing comments, citing other blogs, and occasionally by inviting other bloggers to write guest posts. At first glance, the ties among many bloggers didn’t seem much different from the ties among members of some of the translation networks I studied for an earlier project.

This is something I’d like to explore in greater depth once I’ve finished my current article. Social network analysis would be useful here to help determine how bloggers writing about translation are tied to one another and how one blogger’s postings are influenced by another’s. I’m also interested in the way opinions about the same topic evolve through the blogs. So for instance, if I track all the postings about LinkedIn attempting to crowdsource translations of its website, what trends might I find? Do blogger opinions change over time? How do these opinions differ from one blogger to the next? Does the story originate one one particular blog, and if so, does this happen on a regular basis, making one (or several) bloggers more influential than others? There’s definitely some room here for more research. Any thoughts?