Wikipedia as a translation zone: a heterotopic analysis

Jones, H. (2018) ‘Wikipedia as a translation zone: a heterotopic analysis of the online encyclopedia and its collaborative volunteer translator community’ Target: International Journal of Translation Studies on-line 20 December 2018


Recent research has highlighted the emergence and proliferation of online communities of volunteer translators whose intensely collaborative activities are largely facilitated by the participatory and interactive nature of new networked communication technologies. Much of the discussion regarding these forms of web-based translation has tended to focus on what brings individuals together to give up their time, skills and effort when co-operating within such prosumer-led projects. By contrast, this paper presents a case study focused on the construction of the English Wikipedia article about Tokyo in order to argue that it is important for translation scholars to additionally take into account the difficult processes of fierce conflict and debate which often characterise interactions within such communities. It does so by means of the spatial mode of analysis encouraged by Foucault’s writings on ‘heterotopia’, demonstrating how this conceptual method can be applied to explain and explore the multifaceted negotiations that occur in this environment.