Machine translation in the news: A framing analysis of the written press

Lucas Nunes Vieira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
726 Downloads (Pure)


Machine translation (MT) is now firmly in the public eye. The media can reflect and influence the public perception of MT and, by extension, of translation itself, but the news coverage of MT has to date remained largely unexplored. This study draws on the news framing literature to present an analysis of how MT is described in the written press. Based on a sample of 284 MT-focused newspaper articles, the news reporting on MT was found to be significantly more positive than negative. This positive framing was unrelated to the launch of Neural MT. Furthermore, the portrayal of MT in the press tended to lack nuance, with few efforts to raise awareness of the technology’s use implications. The study calls for higher standards in the public discussion and promotion of MT and for more research on non-professional conceptualisations of translation technologies and their role in communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-122
Number of pages25
JournalTranslation Spaces
Issue number1
Early online date17 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Aug 2020


  • Machine translation
  • news
  • media
  • news framing
  • attitudes
  • translation
  • translation studies
  • translation technology


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