Position of the translator as an agent in website localization: The case of Turkey

Sinem Canim Alkan


The rapid growth of e-commerce has contributed to the development of website localization activity as a major professional industry. Despite the high volume of website localization practices, there is little research on translators participating in website localization projects. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the position of the translator as an agent in website localization processes in Turkey. Interview method was used to collect data. Nine interviewees were interviewed face-to-face using interview forms in Istanbul between September 2011 and February 2012. In determining the corpus of interviews, maximum variation sampling was used. All of the interviewees took part in website localization processes as agents but in different positions. The conceptual and theoretical framework of the study comprised functional translation theories by Justa Holz-Mänttäri and Hans Vermeer, and Agency Theory. The study showed that translators in production networks experienced the problem of information asymmetry which affected their performance negatively. It is common to associate low levels of quality with the translator’s incompetence. This study suggested that when the translation/localization product fails to meet the expectations of the initiator, it is more than reasonable to look at not just the translator but the whole production network to find the source of problem.


Agency; asymmetric information; qualitative research; translator’s position; website localization

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