Translating Perceptions and Managing Expectations: An Analysis of Management and Production Perspectives on Machine Translation

Lucas Nunes Vieira, Elisa Alonso

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

16 Citations (Scopus)
295 Downloads (Pure)


The use of machine translation (MT) in professional translation tasks can change not only how translators work, but also how projects are managed and the expectations they entail across translation supply chains. Previous research has looked extensively into translators’ attitudes to MT but has often ignored
important aspects of how translators’ views interact with those of other language industry stakeholders. This article presents a contrastive analysis of attitudes to MT which covers management and production perspectives. The discussion draws on semi-structured interviews which were thematically coded and
qualitatively examined. The study shows how MT adds uncertainty to translation production networks. It argues that the challenges posed by MT are exacerbated by how the current makeup of the language industry restricts translators’ field of influence to texts while possibly alienating them from wider aspects of business
strategy. The article makes two suggestions. First, it calls for increased translator involvement in the management aspects of service provision. Second, it emphasises the need for a deeper discussion of MT which, rather than framing the technology itself as a potential ‘threat’, addresses broader societal issues
involving misguided perceptions and mismatched expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-184
Number of pages22
JournalPerspectives Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Issue number2
Early online date14 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • machine translation
  • translation technology
  • language service providers
  • translation companies
  • translators
  • translation industry


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