THE IMPACT OFTHE SOCIAL WEB ONEMOTIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL SUPPORTIN PROFESSIONAL NETWORKSOF FREELANCETRANSLATORSMarie-Luise G...
TRANSLATION STUDIES• interdiscipline• drawing from linguistics, literature, sociology, computer science, terminology etc.•...
TRANSLATORS• hidden industry, but constantly growing• majority of translators are freelancers• majority of translators are...
RESEARCH QUESTIONWhich impact does the Social Web have on the social networksof freelance translators?picture credits: ine...
PREVIOUS RESEARCH ANDASSUMPTIONS• translation is a solitary profession• translators are a hidden population• freelancers r...
RESEARCH DESIGNcredits: inesmergel.wordpress.com• explorative, qualitative study• cluster sample:• 234 freelance translato...
NAME GENERATORAdapted Fischer-Network (Fischer, 1982) and Global Social Survey (Bailey/Marsden,1999; Burt, 1984) name gene...
Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”NAME INTERPRETER• Density: Please also ...
RESULTSImpact of the Social Web on freelance translators’ networks:• Weak ties to information resources disappear:WWW is m...
SURPRISE, SURPRISE! (1/2)• Business ethics and norms serve as market regulation techniques andare passed on from experienc...
SURPRISE, SURPRISE! (2/2)• Participants of my study receive support (emotional and practical) throughtheir personal networ...
• Why do translators choose one wayof organizing over the other?• Are there differences in sense-making, self-perception a...
THANKYOU FORYOUR ATTENTION :-).VISIT: TRANSLATOR-STUDIES.COM...OR FOLLOW ME ONTWITTER: @MARIELUISEGROSS13
“Anything the theories sayshould be tested on somekind of non-theory,quantitatively orqualitatively.”(Pym 2010)14
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The Impact of the Social Web on Freelance Translators' Support Networks

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Slides from my presentation at Sunbelt 2013 conference about freelance translators' social networks and how they are impacted by the Social Web.

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The Impact of the Social Web on Freelance Translators' Support Networks

  1. 1. THE IMPACT OFTHE SOCIAL WEB ONEMOTIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL SUPPORTIN PROFESSIONAL NETWORKSOF FREELANCETRANSLATORSMarie-Luise Groß, Center forTranslation Studies, University ofViennaXXXIII Sunbelt Social Networks Conference, May 23rd, 2013, Hamburg, Germany1
  2. 2. TRANSLATION STUDIES• interdiscipline• drawing from linguistics, literature, sociology, computer science, terminology etc.• systematic study and description of theory and application of translating written text• new subfield Translator Studies*:* Coined by Andrew Chesterman, 2009Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”2
  3. 3. TRANSLATORS• hidden industry, but constantly growing• majority of translators are freelancers• majority of translators are women• members of the “Freie Berufe”:highly-qualified, creative individuals withstrong professional ethics and social normspicture credits: http://www.zm-online.de/Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”other members of the “FreieBerufe” are e.g. physicians,engineers or lawyers who areself-employed3
  4. 4. RESEARCH QUESTIONWhich impact does the Social Web have on the social networksof freelance translators?picture credits: inesmergel.wordpress.com•user-generated content•social network(ing) sites•architecture of participation(O’Reilly 2005)•the long tail (Anderson, 2008)•Enterprise 2.0 (McAfee, 2006)Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”4
  5. 5. PREVIOUS RESEARCH ANDASSUMPTIONS• translation is a solitary profession• translators are a hidden population• freelancers rely heavily on their formal and informal networks for...• emotional and functional support• acquisition of new projects and customers• production networks• personal and professional advice• translators use online-communities to connect with colleagues and agencies(Dickinson, 2002)• translators turn to online-communities for emotional and functional support(Risku/Dickinson, 2009)credits: http://www.zm-online.de/Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”5
  6. 6. RESEARCH DESIGNcredits: inesmergel.wordpress.com• explorative, qualitative study• cluster sample:• 234 freelance translators (members of the largest GermanTranslators’AssociationBDÜ) contacted with personalized e-mails• response rate: 23%; only 6% of the responses were positive• 4% (10 individuals) of overall sample participated in study• 8 female, 2 male; between 5 and 35 years working experience• observation and think-aloud-protocols at work places• unstructured, narrative interviews• structured interview + survey of first-order-zones (ego-networks)Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”6
  7. 7. NAME GENERATORAdapted Fischer-Network (Fischer, 1982) and Global Social Survey (Bailey/Marsden,1999; Burt, 1984) name generator for surveying emotional and functional support:• Cooperation: Looking back over the past six months, who are the people with whom youhave worked together on a translation project?• Knowledge exchange: With whom do you talk about your work on a regular basis?• Information resources: Who do you contact if you need background information or helpwith terminology when you are translating?• Help: If you are facing difficulties with a translation or in a situation with a customer, who doyou ask for help?• Functional support: If you are not well or prevented for any reason, is there someone whotakes on a translation project for you?• Advice: If you need to make a professional decision, who do you ask for their opinion or foradvice?• Feedback & four-eyes-principle: Who gives you feedback on your work?Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”7
  8. 8. Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”NAME INTERPRETER• Density: Please also draw a line between people who have some kind ofrelationship with each other.• Multiplicity: Please highlight the people who you also have a relationship withbeyond the translation business.•Map of first order zone(ego-network + alters’relationships with each other)•I (= Ego) + 3 concentric circles(very important, important, lessimportant) + periphery•Multiplexity (blue curls)8
  9. 9. RESULTSImpact of the Social Web on freelance translators’ networks:• Weak ties to information resources disappear:WWW is main informationresource.• Agencies’ participation in online-communities leads to dumping rates and marketerosion:Agencies suggest/generate competition which does not exist as such intraditional translator networks.• The majority of the participants in my study are not participating in online-communities:• not used to it (digital divide?)• lack of confidence in qualifications and professionality of other users• annoyed by questions and bored by discussions• fear of free riders• WWW is no marketing channel; projects and customers come through word of mouthcredits: http://www.zm-online.de/Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”9
  10. 10. SURPRISE, SURPRISE! (1/2)• Business ethics and norms serve as market regulation techniques andare passed on from experienced translators to novices throughcooperations both in online-communities and traditional, local networks.However, their impact is much stronger in local, personal networks.• Strong ties with regular customers are vital to satisfaction andperceived success. Professional attitude and behavior is key to sense-making (cf.Gold/Fraser 2001): Translators want to demonstrate their professionality directlyto the customer (deliver high-quality and on time, being reliable, doing extraservices, high availability to regular customers, be a trusted advisor in language,culture and communications issues, understand customer needs).• Negative impact: Agencies act as buffers between translators andtheir clients:Translators become anonymous services providers, their sense-making efforts come to nothing.Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”10
  11. 11. SURPRISE, SURPRISE! (2/2)• Participants of my study receive support (emotional and practical) throughtheir personal networks and their membership inTranslators’Associations.• Participants of other studies (e.g. Risku/Dickinson, 2009) receive the same kindof support through participation in online-communities.➡ There are two ways of organizing / organization for freelance translators:★ online-communities + personal networks✴ translators’ associations + personal networks➡ Ambivalent development ofthe profession➡ Digital Divide?Dickinson, 2002Marie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”11
  12. 12. • Why do translators choose one wayof organizing over the other?• Are there differences in sense-making, self-perception andprofessional success (income,satisfaction) as a result?• What impact does this ambivalentdevelopment have on the profession?• Is there a digital divide betweengenerations of freelance translators?FUTURE RESEARCHMarie-Luise Groß:“The Impact of the Social Web on Networks of FreelanceTranslators”12
  13. 13. THANKYOU FORYOUR ATTENTION :-).VISIT: TRANSLATOR-STUDIES.COM...OR FOLLOW ME ONTWITTER: @MARIELUISEGROSS13
  14. 14. “Anything the theories sayshould be tested on somekind of non-theory,quantitatively orqualitatively.”(Pym 2010)14

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