Game of Translations: Virtual Community doing English Translations of Chinese Online Fiction
AbstractFan translations are an important part of global fan subculture activity, intensified especially through the new media platforms which connect producers and consumers all around the globe. One recent trend within this category is that of English translations of Chinese online fictions. It is a newly emerging form of activity which takes place on blogs connected through a blogroll. Through these channels, fans comprising blog moderators, translators, and readers can engage in exchanges which add value to the appreciation of literature. Thus, it can be imagined as a ‘virtual settlement’ (Jones, 1997) after Anderson (1983)’s ‘imagined community’. Within this community, a further observation can be made about the mechanics of this practice. Like a game, the fans act as players where they negotiate rules regarding the production of translations. Given the community-centric nature of these websites, my paper outlines the formation of ‘illusio’, or “agreed rules of the game”, a concept introduced by Bourdieu. This is operationalised using Järvinen (2007)’s framework, locating the nine elements of a ‘gamified practice’ within the interactions of this community, known as Shusheng Bar. The findings suggest that members of Shusheng Bar possess a shared history and connected future. The significance of this observation assists in understanding the dynamics of online subcultures.
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