Article published in:Fair MT: Towards ethical, sustainable Machine Translation
Edited by Joss Moorkens, Dorothy Kenny and Félix do Carmo
[Translation Spaces 9:1] 2020
► pp. 12–34
“A tiny cog in a large machine”
Digital Taylorism in the translation industry
Translators have worked with the assistance of computers for many years, usually translating whole texts, divided into segments but in sequential order. In order to maximise efficiency and inspired by similar moves in the tech industry and predictions for Industry 4.0, large translation companies have begun to break tasks down into smaller chunks and to rigidly define and monitor translation processes. This is particularly true of platform-mediated work, highly collaborative workflows, and multimedia work that requires near-live turnaround times. This article considers such workflows in the context of measures of job satisfaction and discussion of sustainable work systems, proposing that companies prioritise long-term returns and attempt to balance the needs of all stakeholders in a translation process. Translators and translator trainers also have a role to play in achieving this balance.
Keywords: translation industry, fair MT, digital Taylorism, scientific management, business ethics, labour sociology, sustainable work systems
Published online: 17 August 2020
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