Leiden Translation Talk: Irene Cenni on Multilingualism 2.0

Please join us for the next Leiden Translation Talk on Wednesday 26 February. Due to a change in our teaching schedules, the talks will be held from 17:15-18:15 hrs from now on. Room: Lipsius building, Cleveringaplaats 1, room 228

On 26 February Irene Cenni will talk about: Multilingualism 2.0: online translation tools and language policies on social media platforms.



At present, the existing 2.0 Web is far more multilingual than was ever anticipated in the early days of the Internet (Hale, 2014; Hale & Eleta, 2017). Indeed, the increasing variety of languages is a phenomenon that signals the end of the first stages of the digital era in which the Internet was characterized by English-language dominance (Leppänen & Peuronen, 2012).

In this talk I will present the emerging topics in multilingual research applied to 2.0 platforms. In particular, I will offer an overview of the language policies, and the related  use of translation tools, adopted by five popular platforms: Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram, Booking.com and TripAdvisor.

For most 2.0 platform providers multilingualism constitutes an opportunity (to grow their users’ base) but also a challenge. Typically, these platforms do not opt for an English-only rule, but rather develop linguistic policies and include machine translation in order to accommodate their multilingual users (Cenni & Goethals, 2017). The case of TripAdvisor is particularly striking, not least because it is characterized by the coexistence of two divergent multilingual strategies on the same platform.

Keywords: multilingualism online, 2.0 platforms, language policy, online (machine) translation, user-generated content


Bio note

Irene Cenni is a PhD candidate with teaching mandate at the department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication (Ghent University, Belgium) where she is affiliated to the research group MULTIPLES-Language in Society. Her PhD project focuses on the investigation of pragmalinguistic features of computer-mediated tourism discourse, with close attention paid to hotel reviews (and responses) posted on TripAdvisor. She adopts a cross-linguistic perspective analyzing user-generated content written in Italian, English and Dutch. Her research interests include pragmatics, sociolinguistics, intercultural communication, translation and second language acquisition/teaching. She currently teaches courses on Italian L2, business and intercultural communication and translation at Ghent University both at Bachelor and Master level.


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