Wikipedia and Translation

Henry Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Wikipedia is the world’s largest free online encyclopedia and a prominent feature of the emerging media landscape. Ever since the project began in 2001, the site has been viewed as one of the most successful instantiations of the new ‘participatory’ web and as a clear illustration of the democratising potential of networked digital communication tools to enable mass collaboration between physically dispersed volunteers on an unprecedented scale. As a result, Wikipedia has attracted a wealth of scholarship from a variety of disciplines over the past two decades and, while the wiki admittedly remains an under-researched topic of study within our field, translation studies has certainly been no exception.

This chapter aims to consolidate the findings of this growing collection of analyses of translation in Wikipedia and thus to provide a useful starting point for further investigations into these practices. Following a brief history of Wikipedia as a multilingual encyclopedia, I explore the variety of ways in which translation has been shown to contribute to this platform’s production and highlight the complex motivations prompting the site’s translator-contributors to become involved. The chapter also considers the practical and ethical challenges associated with conducting research in this fluid digital environment, and hopes to underline the potential of a focus on Wikipedia for understanding the impact of new media tools on the world of translation today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Translation and Media
EditorsEsperanza Bielsa
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Feb 2020


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