Doctoral Research

Lingjuan Fan
A Narrative Perspective on News Translation by Non-Professional Virtual Communities: The Case of Yeeyan

The advent of the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we interact with the world, including the way we translate. An increasing number of amateurs are now actively participating in the translation of news, novels, TV and movie subtitles, as part of a growing phenomenon of collaborative translation facilitated by the development of information and communication technologies (Salzberg 2008). Although the social impact of non-professional translation is attracting an increasing amount of scholarly attention (Pérez-González & Susam-Sarajeva 2012), Chinese communities of non-professional translators have been largely ignored in translation and media studies.

This thesis delivers a narrative theoretic study of the translation of news reports by non-professional communities, drawing on Yeeyan as a case study. Yeeyan, the largest non-professional translation community in China, acts as an effective platform to bring the latest international news to Chinese readers (Stray 2010). The project involves a comparative analysis between the narratives disseminated by high-profile news stories published by Chinese mainstream media and Anglo-American media, and the narratives circulated by news stories on the same events translated from English into Chinese by Yeeyan. I aim to explore how Yeeyan translators position themselves between the Chinese mainstream narratives and their Anglo-American counterparts through the selection and (re)narration of news stories. I also consider the extent to which the narratives embedded in Yeeyan’s translations may be contributing to processes of social change in China.

Rebecca Johnson
Rebecca Johnson
The Clash of Articulations: A Narrative Account of Creative Subversion, Intersectional Identity and Islam in post-9/11 Britain and France

This study investigates audiovisual texts (specifically, hip hop music videos and film) circulating in both the UK and France which challenge narrative hegemonies relating to Islam by means of ‘aesthetic shock’. Using the sociological manifestation of narrative theory as the framework for analysis, which holds that human behaviour is not guided by fixed attributes such as gender or race so much as by the stories people come to believe about themselves and the world around them, it aims to explore the methods and implications of using subversion to creatively negotiate intersectional identities under conditions of accelerated globalisation in the post-9/11 era. The impetus of the study is the contention that we are now in a position to observe the creative articulation of the ontological impact that 9/11 and its ‘narrative fallout’ (in particular, the development of the ‘War on Terror’ meta narrative) had on Muslims living in Europe, and that we must listen to such narratives if we are to understand the globalised communities in which we live

Drawing parallels between the position of the translator and that of the Muslim convert – in that both are situated at the juncture of often conflicting narratives which they are required to mediate, and both tend to be underrepresented and only partially or inaccurately understood by mainstream society – I argue that in producing/engaging with subversive texts, individuals at such junctures create a conceptual space for the contestation of narratives that have been impressed upon them and the opportunity to assert themselves against restrictive and essentialist paradigms, such as Huntington’s divisive ‘Clash of Civilisations’ thesis which remains prominent in media and political discourse. Drawing out themes of affectivity and affinity; nationhood and multiculturalism; and the construction/deconstruction of identities and meanings related to Islam, I propose to build a narrative model around the texts in which both converts and translators emerge as key agents of narrative intersectionality in the globalised era.

Dinithi Karunanayake
Theatre Translation, Communities of Practice and the Sri Lankan Conflicts: (Re)narration as Political Critique

Various forms of cultural production play a key role in negotiating political conflict. Among these, theatre is of special significance due to the strong emotional and ideological impact that can be created through live dramatic performances, given the immediacy of the experience and the involvement it requires of members of an audience. This study proposes to examine the role of plays in translation during the 1980-2009 period in Sri Lanka, with a view to exploring how a particular set of performances may have promoted social justice agendas and provided a counter historical narrative to that legitimised by the state. Although Sri Lanka has a rich theatre tradition and plays in translation have always been a significant part of Sinhala theatre in particular, no study has looked at the political potential of plays in translation and their role in (re)narrating conflict and history, a lacuna that this study aims to address.

Dang Li
Dang Li
Amateur Translation and the Development of a Participatory Culture in China: A Netnographic Study of The Last Fantasy Fansubbing Group

Triggered by globalisation and the increasing technological connectivity, fansubbing has become one of the most observable aspects of Chinese participatory cultural, both domestically and internationally. Scholarly attention on the fansubbing phenomenon within translation studies remains largely focused on the mediation of Japanese anime. Much of the work undertaken in this area has emphasised the formal and textual differences of fansubbed anime with regard to commercial subtitling, while downplaying its heterogeneity and geopolitical complexity (Dwyer 2012). Operating in the shadow of state-regulated and market-based media consumption, the emerging fansub culture in China deserves scholarly attention and calls for new theories and methods that capture the mediating role of fansubbing networks on both micro and macro levels.

Adopting a systems perspective informed by social self-organisation theories (Fuchs 2008), this study focuses on The Last Fantasy (TLF) fansubbing group, one of the most influential in China. This research aims to investigate how TLF’s fansubbers use digital networked technologies to facilitate content sharing and production, build and maintain relationships, and express a collective voice in relation to the specific media context in China. It is hoped that findings from this study may help extend our understanding of the role played by amateur and fan-driven translations in an increasingly networked society. Applying the method of netnography (Kozinets 2010), this study collects data from the following three sources: (1) fieldnotes data kept by the researcher contemporaneously with her interactive online social experience in the fansubbing group; (2) archival data of online messages posted on the group’s online forum; and (3) elicited data gathered from the online questionnaire. Findings from this study will be used to evaluate the role played by amateur translation, as exemplified by fansubbing online communities organised by Chinese media fans, in the development of a participatory culture in China.


Neil Sadler photo

Neil Sadler
Analysing Fragmented Narratives: Twitter Reporting of the 3 July 2013 Events in Egypt

Much has been made of the ubiquity and importance of narratives on the personal, public and meta levels. Yet although highly nuanced approaches to the study of personal and literary narratives have been developed, comparatively little attention has been paid to how the content of public narratives is determined and how it can be delimited and described.

This thesis seeks to explore the extent to which public narratives can be identified and systematically described using the tools and categories of structuralist narratology, rhetorical analysis and the theory of intertextuality. The aim is to develop an improved theoretical framework and tool kit of concepts for the study of public narratives with diffuse and fragmented sources while avoiding the pitfalls of a totalising model intended for mechanistic application.

The framework will be used to analyse a corpus of textual and visual material published by prominent Egyptian activists on the social networking site Twitter about the actions of the Egyptian military on 3 July 2013. Focusing on writers who post in both Arabic and English, and who situate themselves in broadly similar narrative locations, the study will explore how far it is possible to identify and describe specific intersubjective public narratives that transcend the similar, but not identical, stories told by individual writers.

Diane Williams

Diane Williams
Citizen Media in Contemporary Malagasy Politics: The role of translation in the Global Voices Community of Practice

The fourth largest island in the world, with a population of around 22 million people, Madagascar has been going through a period of political turmoil since 2009. The EU, the USA and other countries have halted aid to the country, and its membership of the African Union has been suspended. This political turmoil is having a devastating effect on the country’s economy and on the lives of ordinary citizens, yet there is barely any coverage of these events in mainstream British news media. However, citizen media can play a role in bringing the country’s plight to the attention of people overseas, and this project will examine the use of translation in this development, focusing on the website Global Voices Madagascar. As its theoretical framework, the research draws on Wenger’s concept of communities of practice.

%d bloggers like this: