The Medium is Global, the Content is not: Translating Commercial Websites

  • Yvonne Lee


Unrestricted by geographic constraints, websites seek to counter linguistic barriers via translation or localisation to reach international web users. Website translation serves as a mediator between users and the reality constructed with multimodal signs in different linguistic and cultural contexts by multinational companies. In comparison with literary translation, website translation is characterised by various unconventional elements, such as the uncertain presence or lack of a definite source text, the choice of multimodal materials for translation, and the representation of meanings in different language versions. Verbal and non-verbal elements, therefore, hold equal significance in the translation process. Considering the complex and interwoven factors in the translation of a website, this paper investigates the non-verbal and verbal signs in commercial websites translation with a corpus of multinational companies (MNCs) operating in Greater China. It argues that translation in commercial websites, contrary to the traditional paradigm with a definitely source-target textual pair, is a fluid concept that involves a ‘globally-relevant source text’ (Adab, 1998 p.224) that allows space for locally-relevant factors to weigh in to produce content appealing to the target website users.
January 21, 2009
How to Cite
Lee, Y. (2009). The Medium is Global, the Content is not: Translating Commercial Websites. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 2(1).
MeCCSA-PGN Conference Papers