Translation Histories and Digital Futures

By Karin Littau
International Journal of Communication, Volume 10, 2016

Abstract: Drawing on Latour’s actor-network-theory and De Landa’s robot historian, this essay asks in what ways translation’s past is a prehistory of the present and to what extent nonhuman agents have shaped and are shaping translation. In particular, it examines the impact of computational media on translation and finds that the difference made by the computer as a convergence medium is that, for the first time in history, one medium has become capable of presenting in its entirety the media history of translation. To grasp the changes that translation is undergoing in the 21st century therefore requires a comparative understanding of its relations to the mediascapes of the past, present, and future.


translation and technology, machine translation (MT, TM), crowdsourcing, translation factories, digital translation, media and translation history, non-human agents
Download PDF: Littau 2016