Conflicting discourses of translation assessment and the discursive construction of the ‘assessor’ role in cyberspace
This article explores the ways in which translation assessment is discursively constructed by readers participating in an online translation debate. Focusing on a controversy over the Korean translation of Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Steve Jobs, it examines how readers participating in a translation debate in Daum Agora, the largest online discussion forum in South Korea, enact the ‘assessor’ role in evaluating the translation. Drawing on the concepts of ‘social role,’ ‘activity role,’ and ‘discourse role,’ I argue that online translation assessors perform the discourse roles of ‘expert-judge,’ ‘activist,’ and ‘assessment evaluator.’ The findings suggest that translation assessment in cyberspace is a subjective, contextualizing process where value, meaning, and function are often a matter of uptake. Furthermore, discourse-based approaches may play critical roles in examining translation assessment in cyberspace as a socially situated act that involves an intricate negotiation of meaning, complex workings of power, and a reconstitution of local social positioning within global cultural flows.
While systematic models and persuasive discussions have led to many fruitful research projects related to translation assessment, especially in the field of translator training, many translation scholars still consider assessment as subjective, controversial, and/or ad hoc (cf. Nord 1997; Maier 2000; House 2001; Colina 2013). Translation quality has been regarded by many as elusive, making it extremely difficult for any researcher to define in concrete terms what a ‘good’ translation is. The divergence in opinion may also be related to different conceptualizations or [ p. 455 ]theorizing of translation. As House (2008, 222) convincingly argues, “[t]ranslation quality assessment presupposes a theory of translation” and “[d]ifferent views of translation itself lead to different concepts of translational quality, and hence different ways of assessing it.” Furthermore, the distinct contexts in which assessment occurs add to the complexity of the discussion. Assessment research typically addresses one of three areas: criticism of published translations, assessment of professional translation work, and evaluation in a teaching environment (Martínez Melis and Hurtado Albir 2001). Different types of assessment are often grouped under the single category of ‘translation assessment.’
2005 “Personal Web Pages and the Semiotic Construction of Academic Identities.” In The Writer’s Craft, the Culture’s Technology: PALA, ed. by Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard and Michael J. Toolan, 23–46. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
2011 “Evaluation/Assessment.” In Handbook of Translation Studies, vol. 2, ed. by Yves Gambier and Luc Van Doorslaer, 43–48. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
2013 “Assessment of Translation.” In The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, ed. by Carol A. Chapelle, 245–251. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
2013Translation in the Digital Age. New York: Routledge.
2002 “What is Special about the Ethical Issues in Online Research?” Ethics and Information Technology 4: 195–203.
Fowler, Roger, and Gunther Kress
1979 “Critical Linguistics.” In Language and Control, ed. by Roger Fowler, Robert Hodge, Gunther Kress, and Tony Trew, 185–213. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
2006 “Constructing Identities in Cyberspace: The Case of Eating Disorders.” British Journal of Social Psychology 45: 463–477.
1974Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. New York: Harper and Row.
1981Forms of Talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
2008 “Entering the Blogosphere: Some Strategies for Using Blogs in Social Research.” Qualitative Research 8 (1): 91–113.
2001 “Translation Quality Assessment: Linguistic Description versus Social Evaluation.” Meta 46 (2): 243–257.
2008 “Quality.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. 2nd ed., ed. by Mona Baker and Gabriela Saldanha, 222–225. London: Routledge.
2011aSteve Jobs. New York: Simon and Schuster.
2011b스티브 잡스 [orig. Steve Jobs]. Translated by Jin-Hwan Ahn. Seoul: Minumsa.
2013“Penyek Swuyongcatulun ‘Penyeknunglyek’ul Ettehkey Ihayhanunka? [How do translation readers understand ‘translation competence’?]” Thongpenyekhakyenkwu [Interpreting and Translation Studies] 17 (4): 1–34.
2011“Onlainsang Tokcatuluy Penyek Piphyeng [Online translation criticism by readers].” Penyekhakyenkwu [The journal of Translation Studies] 13 (2): 7–40.
2000 “Translation Quality Assessment: Where Can Theory and Practice Meet?” The Translator 6 (2): 149–168.
2000 “Introduction.” In Evaluation and Translation, ed. by Carol Maier, special issue of The Translator
6 (2): 137–148.
Martínez Melis, Nicole, and Amparo Hurtado Albir
2001 “Assessment in Translation Studies: Research Needs.” Meta 46 (2): 272–287.
2009 “Role, Positioning and Discourse in Face-to-Face Interpreting.” In Interpreting and Translating in Public Service Settings: Policy, Practice, Pedagogy, ed. by Raquel de Pedro Ricoy, Isabelle Perez, and Christine Wilson, 52–73. Manchester: St. Jerome.
Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism
2012Chwulphanmwunhwasanep Cinhung 5Kaynyen Kyeyhoyk [The 5 year plan for the promotion of publishing culture industry]. Seoul: Kyeymwunsa.
2011 “Community Translation: Translation as a Social Activity and Its Possible Consequences in the Advent of Web 2.0 and Beyond.” In Translation as a Social Activity, Community Translation 2.0, ed. by Minako O’Hagan, special issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies 10: 11–23.
2010 “Ad-hocracies of Translation Activism in the Blogosphere: A Genealogical Case Study.” In Text and Context, ed. by Mona Baker, Maeve Olohan, and María Calzada Pérez, 259–287. Manchester: St Jerome.
2010 “Reconfiguring Self/Identity/Status/Role: The Case of Professional Role Performance in Healthcare Encounters.” In Discourse, Identities and Roles in Specialized Communication, ed. by Giuliana Garzone and James Archibald, 33–58. Bern: Peter Lang.
2012Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Revised ed. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
2000 “Quality Assessment and Literary Translation in France.” In Evaluation and Translation, ed. by Carol Maier, special issue of The Translator
6 (2): 271–294.
Walther, Joseph B
2002 “Research Ethics in Internet-Enabled Research: Human Subjects Issues and Methodological Myopia.” Ethics and Information Technology 4: 205–216.