In-between role and technology : literary translators on navigating the new socio-technological paradigm

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Ruffo, P.
Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
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This thesis looks at Human-Computer Interaction in literary translation. In particular, it centres on literary translators’ perceptions of their own role and their attitudes towards technology. The study adopts a social constructionist, interpretivist and mixed-methods methodological approach and looks at results through the lens of Pinch and Bijker’s Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) framework. Data was elicited via means of a questionnaire administered to 150 literary translators. Findings show literary translators’ self-image as directly opposed to outsiders’ view of the profession. This situates them in a place of in-betweenness. Attitudes towards technology are extremely complex, however having undertaken technology training resulted in more positive attitudes and higher levels of confidence with technology. The youngest generation of respondents was also the most positive and confident with technology. A discrepancy between practitioners’ views and the recent research focus on the application of Machine Translation and post-editing to literary translation workflows was identified. Ultimately, findings suggest literary translators should be involved in the conversation around tools development to promote a convivial approach to technological innovation and produce tools that enhance and empower their end users.