Dr Joss Moorkens, Dublin City University.
Digital Taylorism in the Translation Industry
23 July 2021
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.
Joss Moorkens is an Associate Professor and Chair of postgraduate translation programmes at the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University. He is also a Funded Investigator with the ADAPT Centre and a member the Centre for Translation and Textual Studies. He has authored over 50 journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers on translation technology, user interaction with and evaluation of machine translation, translator precarity, and translation ethics. He is General Coeditor of the journal Translation Spaces with Prof. Dorothy Kenny, and coedited the book ‘Translation Quality Assessment: From Principles to Practice’, published in 2018 by Springer, and special issues of Machine Translation (2019) and Translation Spaces (2020). He leads the Technology working group (with Prof. Tomas Svoboda of Charles University) as a board member of the European Masters in Translation network and sits on the advisory board of the Journal of Specialised Translation.