Sneak Peek 3: Julie McDonough Dolmaya

Translation, Wikipedia, and Linguistic Justice

Julie McDonough Dolmaya

York University–Glendon Campus (Canada)

Abstract: In crowdsourced projects like Wikipedia, where translation decisions are user driven and open to the public, speakers of majority and minority languages seem to have an equal voice, since they are given more control over the translation process, potentially making crowdsourced translation an “enabling force” (Cronin 2003, 167) for minority languages. However, the number of Internet users who can speak and write a language will affect the directions in which translations flow even in Wikipedia, making information unevenly accessible to Internet users around the world (cf Cronin 2013, 8). This presentation combines statistics from Wikipedia’s Content Translation extension with the concept of linguistic justice to help determine how any future Wikipedia translation policies might achieve a more balanced flow of translations into and out of minority languages. I will argue in favour of a translation policy that is both fair and efficient, while still conforming to Wikimedia’s “official multilingualism” language policy model (Patten 2001).

Keywords: Crowdsourced translation, minority languages, linguistic justice, Wikipedia translation, translation in digital spaces, collaborative translation

Bio: Julie McDonough Dolmaya teaches in the School of Translation at York University. Her research interests range from translation, politics and oral history to translation in digital spaces, and she has published articles on these topics in Meta, The Translator, Translation Studies, Target and others. The secretary of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies and a member of the IATIS Executive Council, Julie also blogs about her teaching and research at