Media Convergence, AVT and Translation Criticism in the Digital Era

by Sare R. Öztürk
PhD Student, Boğaziçi University, Translation and Interpreting Studies, Istanbul, Turkey.



With the increased integration in the 21st century of the internet and digital technologies into our daily interactions and ways of engagement with life, new audience profiles emerged for mass media consumerism. Viewers are becoming more involved in the process of media dissemination with a hands-on attitude that creates a plethora of possibilities for the “afterlife”- as Walter Benjamin might have called it- of media products. Research on contemporary reception trends refers in this vein to such concepts as media convergence, participatory culture and civic engagement.

Participation on the part of the audience, which can be traced back to fandom activities that had been emerging in the media consumption trends of the late 1980s and early 1990s, has increased to become a feature of today’s digital culture (Jenkins, 2006; Orrego-Carmona, 2018). The ability to determine, to some degree, the afterlife of a media product has endowed the audience with a certain power (albeit a relative one) that signalled “uneasy convergences of the market and non-market modes of cultural production” (Burgess & Green, 2009, p. 75). The appropriation of mass media products using amateur skills and the incorporation therefore of “folk culture practices” (Jenkins, 2006, p. 246) into the experience of media consumerism indicated a bottom-up, grassroots involvement with what previously had been accessible only to the central authorities and the corporate production machinery. Beyond fandom activity, such participation has the potential to empower media users in the realm of civic engagement and political activism through “exercis[ing] the civic imagination” (Jenkins & Shresthova, 2016, p. 258) towards, hopefully, more democratic futures.

In this chapter, I will discuss audio-visual translation (AVT) within the framework of digital culture and civic engagement and how it can be used as bottom-up new media resistance to top-down mass media production strategies. Regarding such engagement as a form of translation criticism, I will offer a case study through which I observe how Arab consumers of translated (dubbed) Turkish TV drama, particularly the Kurtlar Vadisi [valley of wolves] series, react to strategies of dubbing and censorship that are politically motivated and express their criticism via new media outlets using creative methods that involve translation. I will explain my theoretical framework and methodology in the second part, before moving in the third part to the discussion of my case study. I will conclude with some remarks on audience participation and the role of digital culture in facilitating new expressions of translation criticism.

Keywords: Digital Media, Translation, audio-visual translation

This chapter is a part of: Contemporary Translation Studies (Eds. Tian Chuanmao, Ph.D.)

© CSMFL Publications & its authors.


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