Narrating Motivation : A New Perspective on Arabic Volunteer Translators’ Motivations to Participate in Crowdsourced Translation Projects

Alonayq, Abdulmohsen and Fulop, Erika and Naguib, Shuruq (2021) Narrating Motivation : A New Perspective on Arabic Volunteer Translators’ Motivations to Participate in Crowdsourced Translation Projects. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract Due to advancing technologies and Internet access, the use of crowdsourcing models and collaborative platforms has become popular in translation projects. This has led to an increase in participation by volunteer translators, and, in turn, to attention being drawn to these volunteers’ motivations (which drive them to expend effort without any expectation of monetary reward). Most studies of such motivations have used surveys and/or interviews. However, an exclusive reliance on surveys and/or interviews could lead to a failure to consider some underlying factors motivating volunteers’ decisions to perform unremunerated translation work. Therefore, this study has used, instead, a socio-narrative approach; exploring the common discursive narratives regarding translation in the Arabic linguistic context — to understand the influence of the presentation, in the public discourse, of Arabic translation on volunteering for this activity. Undergirded by Baker’s (2006) socio-narrative theory, a mixed-methods approach was implemented to answer the research questions raised in this study. The data examined included interviews, surveys, and case studies comprising textual materials published by four leading Arabic translation initiatives: Kalima, the Arab Organization for Translation, Taghreedat, and the Translation Challenge. Other smaller translation initiatives were the source of survey and interviews participants. These initiatives are Ollemna, Edrak, Autrjim and the Wikipedia Club at Princess Nourah University. In summary, the present study found that the Arabic discourse on translation relies on three motivating narratives: (1) the Golden Era of translation, (2) the bridge to knowledge, and (3) the dearth of Arabic online content. These findings highlight the differences between the motivations of Arabic-speaking volunteers and those of their European and North American counterparts. For example, religion, gender, and diglossia proved to be key motivating factors for the (Arabic) study participants. This study has demonstrated the need to go beyond the usually discussed intrinsic and extrinsic motives to include the influential narratives that affect volunteers and inform their actions.

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03 Nov 2021 21:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:56