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Social Networks of Freelance Translators

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These are the slides from the Colorado Translators Association's first webinar (in cooperation with Academia Webinars). The speaker Dr. Marie-Luise Groß presented findings from her research on freelance translators' social relations and the role of social capital in these professional networks.

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Social Networks of Freelance Translators

  1. 1. T H E I M PA C T O F T H E S O C I A L W E B 
 O N T H E S O C I A L N E T W O R K S 
 O F F R E E L A N C E T R A N S L AT O R S C O L O R A D O T R A N S L AT O R S A S S O C I AT I O N & A C A D E M I A W E B I N A R S A U G U S T 2 7 , 2 0 1 5 ! D R . M A R I E - L U I S E G R O ß , W O R D Y C AT T W I T T E R : @ M A R I E L U I S E G R O S S
  2. 2. A B O U T Dr. Marie-Luise Groß Diploma in Translation Studies, Heidelberg Doctorate in Translation Studies, Vienna Enterprise 2.0, Social Media, Collaboration ! Twitter: @marieluisegross Web: wordycat.com
  3. 3. A G E N D A 1. Introduction 2. Research Question 3. Research Design 4. Ego-Networks 5. Findings Image source: swissmiss studio; http://bit.ly/UOszC4
  4. 4. W H AT ’ S I N I T F O R Y O U ? • Gain a new perspective on the translation industry • Learn about social network markets • Reflect on the importance of social capital in the translation industry
  5. 5. W E B 2 . 0 = T H E „ S O C I A L W E B “ ! • User generated content • Collective intelligence • Communication and collaboration • No programming skills required • Share content and information 5 Tim O’Reilly, 2006
  6. 6. E X P E C T E D B E N E F I T S F O R F R E E L A N C E R S • Information (McAfee, 2006) • Knowledge sharing (Gruber, 2008) • Manage relationships (Koch & Richter, 2009) • Social support (Golden et al., 2008) • E-Lancing (Laubacher & Malone, 1998) • Efficiency, innovation, visibility (McAfee, 2006) “We call it work“
  7. 7. W H AT I M PA C T D O E S T H E S O C I A L W E B 
 H AV E O N T H E S O C I A L N E T W O R K S 
 O F F R E E L A N C E T R A N S L AT O R S ? Image source: http://www.remodelista.com/posts/architect-visit-casa-kike-writers-retreat-by-gianni-botsfordImage source: http://bit.ly/19Csm9H
  8. 8. W H AT I M PA C T D O E S T H E S O C I A L W E B H AV E O N 
 T H E S O C I A L N E T W O R K S O F F R E E L A N C E T R A N S L AT O R S ? • Which resources do freelance translators receive from their personal and virtual social relationships? • How do professional freelance translators use the social web as a virtual space for social interaction, collaboration and business? • Do virtual and personal networks converge or do they oppose each other?
  9. 9. A B O U T F R E E L A N C E T R A N S L AT O R S • Home based business • Portfolio work (Gold & Fraser, 2002) • Boundaryless career (Osnowitz, 2010) • Female profession • Liberal profession • Members of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002) Image source: swissmiss studio; http://bit.ly/UOszC4
  10. 10. T R A N S L AT O R S A R E PA R T O F 
 T H E C R E AT I V E I N D U S T R I E S 10 • a set of knowledge-based activities • tangible products and intangible intellectual or artistic services • creative content • economic value and market objectives –– UNCTAD, 2008
  11. 11. T R A N S L AT O R S A R E PA R T O F 
 T H E C R E AT I V E I N D U S T R I E S 1 2 3 4 The creative industries (Kari, 2011): 1. Arts and cultural heritage 2. Entrepreneurship in arts and culture 3. Entrepreneurship in the creative industries 4. Other sectors Book market (Söndermann, 2010) Content Industry (Sturm, 2010) Movie industry (Hill, 2008) Print media (ZHDK, 2008) 11
  12. 12. I N T H E C R E AT I V E I N D U S T R I E S , 
 S O C I A L R E L AT I O N S A R E K E Y T O S U C C E S S • Emotional support • Knowledge exchange & learning • Occupational norms • Employability • Market regulations • “Social network markets” “ T H E C E N T R A L E C O N O M I C C O N C E R N [ … ] I S N O T W I T H T H E C H A R A C T E R O F I N P U T S O R O U T P U T S I N P R O D U C T I O N [ … ] , B U T W I T H T H E C H A R A C T E R O F T H E M A R K E T S T H AT C O O R D I N AT E T H I S I N D U S T RY. W E T H I N K T H E Y A R E B O T H C O M P L E X A N D S O C I A L … ” — P O T T S E T A L . , 2 0 0 8
  13. 13. W H Y T R A N S L AT O R S B L O G “ … E D U C AT E T H E G E N E R A L P U B L I C A N D C O N T R I B U T E T O C H A N G I N G T H E E X I S T I N G D I S C O U R S E O N T R A N S L AT I O N A S A L O W - S K I L L A C T I V I T Y I N T O A D I S C O U R S E E M P H A S I Z I N G T R A N S L AT O R E X P E RT I S E ” — D A M , 2 0 1 3 “ AT T E M P T T O A C H I E V E R E C O G N I T I O N A S P R O F E S S I O N A L S B Y G A I N I N G C O N T R O L O V E R T H E I R M A R K E T C O N D I T I O N S ” — G O L D & F R A S E R , 2 0 0 2 Topics: • Skills and attitudes of successful translators • Professional behavior • Coping strategies • “No peanuts” tips • Promote industry “stars”
  14. 14. W H Y T R A N S L AT O R S PA R T I C I PAT E 
 I N O N L I N E C O M M U N I T I E S Reason 0 0,225 0,45 0,675 0,9 15 % 38 % 82 % 30 % 32 % 42 % 54 % 56 %Find work: Feeling of community: Learning and benchmarking: Access to industry information: Networking and cooperation: Share knowledge and help others: Give something back: Cultivate my professional image: Source: Risku & Dickinson, 2009 O N L I N E O N LY !
  15. 15. D O W N S I D E S O F O N L I N E C O N T R A C T I N G Reason -0,5 -0,375 -0,25 -0,125 0 0,125 0,25 0,375 0,5 -44 % 48 % 35 % 39 % Risk in social contracting Source: Shevchuk & Strebkov, 2012; study among Russian contractors Problems ! Client disappears ! Client doesn’t pay + + + O N L I N E O N LY !
  16. 16. R E S E A R C H D E S I G N • Explorative, qualitative study • Observation at the personal workplace • Think-aloud protocols • Guideline-based interviews • Qualitative network analysis of first-order stars • Case studies
  17. 17. T H E S A M P L E S T R U C T U R E PA R T I C I PA N T ( G E N D E R ) A G E W O R K E X P E R I E N C E Emma (F) 20 - 29 3 Cora (F) 30 - 39 8 Mia (F) 30 - 39 10 Doris (F) 40 - 49 15 Flora (F) 30 - 39 16 Kirsten (F) 30 - 39 16 Charlotte (F) 50 - 59 20 Pia (F) 50 - 59 20 Matthias (M) 50 - 59 20 Karl (M) 60 - 69 30 Average Ca. 40 Years 15.8
  18. 18. M A P P I N G E G O N E T W O R K S Ego less important important very important Gender: o male o female ! Age: ! Are you a freelance translator? o yes o no, I work as ______________ ! If yes, how many years of working experience do you have? _____ years ! Please provide your e-mail address, if you would like to receive the results of this survey: ____________________________________
  19. 19. N A M E G E N E R AT O R Q U E S T I O N S 1. Looking back over the past six months, who are the people with whom you have worked together on a translation project? 2. If you are facing difficulties with a translation or in a situation with a customer, who do you ask for help? 3. If you are not well or indisposed for any reason, is there someone who takes on a translation project for you? …and other questions…
  20. 20. N A M E I N T E R P R E T E R Q U E S T I O N S 1. Please draw a line between people who know each other well and maintain a social relationship with each other, either professionally or privately. 2. Please highlight the people who you maintain a social relationship with beyond your translation business.
  21. 21. N E T W O R K M A P ( E X A M P L E : E M M A * ) ! Drawn network map Digitalized with VennMaker *alias; not her real name
  22. 22. F I N D I N G : T R A N S L AT O R S H AV E D I V E R S E S O C I A L N E T W O R K S 22 • Individuals and groups: • Organizations, companies • colleagues, (potential) clients, subject matter experts • Professional/private/virtual relations 2 6different types of alters
  23. 23. F I N D I N G : N E T W O R K S I Z E D E P E N D S O N C A R E E R P H A S E Fig.: Overall number of alters with moving averages (excl. Mia, Kirsten and Charlotte) —> Number of alters seems to depend on portfolio and career phase 0 8 15 23 30 Emma (3) Cora (8) Doris (15) Flora (16) Pia (20) Matthias (20) Karl (30) 6 27 25 18 25 1920 # of Alters very important important less important periphery
  24. 24. F I N D I N G : N E T W O R K D E N S I T Y D E P E N D S O N C A R E E R P H A S E Fig.: Network density with moving averages —> Density seems to depend on portfolio, career phase and resources required. 0,0 0,1 0,3 0,4 0,5 Emma (3) Cora (8) Doris (15) Flora (16) Pia (20) Matthias (20) Karl (30) 0,43 0,120,130,120,11 0,22 0,20 Density (incl. Ego)
  25. 25. T R A N S L AT O R S B E N E F I T F R O M W E B 2 . 0 • Access to tangible and intangible resources • Increased visibility & job prestige • Passing on and cultivating social norms • Social regulation of an unregulated market S O C I A L C A P I TA L A N D S O C I A L S U P P O RT
  26. 26. F I N D I N G : O N L I N E C O M M U N I T I E S A N D M A R K E T P L A C E S A R E R A R E LY U S E D • No virtual collaboration with social technologies • Auctions and online marketplaces are perceived as very negative for the profession: Sell Off! • Lack of trust in other users’ competencies • Access to competent experts (colleagues, clients’ employees) through personal relations P I A : “ H O W C A N I B E S U R E T H AT [ … ] T H E O T H E R P E R S O N I S M O R E K N O W L E D G E A B L E T H A N I A M ? [ … ] B U T M AY B E I W O U L D T H I N K D I F F E R E N T LY I F … [ O N L I N E C O M M U N I T I E S ] W O U L D H AV E A L R E A D Y E X I S T E D B A C K I N T H E D AY S . ”
  27. 27. F I N D I N G : T R A N S L AT O R S G E T S O C I A L S U P P O R T F R O M T H E I R P E R S O N A L R E L AT I O N S • Invisibility is not an issue: Recognition by regular clients and colleagues • Little acquisition activities: Social contracting ensures employability • Weak ties and a heterogeneous social network provide important business information. • Strong ties are trusted relationships. • Professional associations provide access to social support resources
  28. 28. C O N C L U S I O N S Two types of organizing: • Virtual: Lower threshold; might be used by individuals who don’t have access to professional associations • Personal: Professional associations and colleagues
  29. 29. „ S O M E T H I N G W I C K E D T H I S WAY C O M E S “ ? • Social network relations are the backbone of the industry • Social norms are informal market regulators • If virtual organizing happens mainly on online marketplaces, moral hazard and “sell off” might increase • Risks: Adverse selection, precarious working conditions, old age poverty —> Members of the translation ecosystem should work together to increase social capital in the industry.
  30. 30. „ W O R D Y C AT “ B U I L D S O N T H I S R E S E A R C H • Exclusive network: Invitation-only • Translators are recommended to clients based on their skills • No auctions or reverse auctions I’m a co-founder of wordycat.com
  31. 31. T H A N K Y O U F O R Y O U R AT T E N T I O N .

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