Collaborative translation: approaches and perspectives

Head: Francesco Laurenti

Year 2021

Collaborative translation can take a multitude of forms, many of which have not yet been explored. A new awareness in this regard may lead today to re-exploring issues such as: the notion of text and the relationship between the aesthetic aspect and the communicational purpose of a translation; the plurality of possible interpretations of a text and the questioning of the notion of a "unique" translator; the status of the translator's voice and the concept of authorship; the notions of "know-how" and "knowledge" in relation to the figure of the translator. 

These are a few aspects that, when explored through the lenses of collaboration, can be useful in understanding and addressing the recent issues generated by the use of new technologies.

Translation studies research on collaborative translations throughout history may contribute to a better understanding of the different processes and practices in today's global translation market. An understanding of the intrinsic plurality that has characterized the practice of translation since its origins is now crucial in order to interpret, and possibly direct, the "collaborative turn" that lies behind many translation flows on a global scale.

Comprehensive investigations into the plural practices of translation, which for a long time have tended to be isolated in translation histories, have only recently begun to appear as a sign of a burgeoning interest in shared activities. However, collaborative translation remains the subject of investigations that have been repeatedly hoped for, rather than actually initiated.

Today, the global language market requires a profound reshaping of the division of labour in translation work , and although many agencies still retain the three consecutive steps of translation, editing and proofreading as thier main workflow model, this structure will have to give way to the work of “communities” of translators in the near future.

An alternative model, and one already partially adopted by some of the major international translation agencies, is the one defined with the acronym PCTP: Plan, Coordinate, Translate and Publish (Beninatto and De Palma). In practice, this model centres on "communities" of translators working together on a given project via the use of technological tools that allow them to manage translations through web-based gateways and that allow collaboration through a series of modules capable of optimizing productivity.

The impact that the advent of new technologies has had on translation practices has been profound and has contributed to a shift towards collaboration that is facilitated by the participatory and interactive nature of the web. 

These changes raise new questions about these practices, as it is not even clear how widespread they are.

It is important to understand, and to accept, that it will soon be reductive to speak generically of a “translator” and that we must instead think of the translator's work as the work of a team made up of different figures (team managers and heads of unit, team coordinators and terminologists, supervising consultants and experts who will respond in real time to translators’ doubts).

In such a scenario, translators will need to be able to gain acceptance from the “communities” they will be working with, as the collboration will  only work if both parties accept and are ready to collaborate with one another. 

One of the main features of this research is its interdisciplinary approach, organically organised with reference to the field of investigation.

All participants in the research group are scholars from specific disciplines with a shared interest in translation practice.

The research will be developed according to the following perspectives of investigation (which may be integrated with others in the course of the research). 

The participants in the research will share their investigations on some of the following areas: 

  • Multilingual texts (as a form of collaboration) 
  • Collaborative translations in history
  • Author-translator collaborative translations
  • Collaboration and new technologies
  • Collaborative editorial translation and proofreading (by translators, editors, proofreaders, etc.)
  • Specialist and technical translation teams (and thier clients, project managers, terminologists, translators, etc.)
  • “Schools” of translation and collaboration (such as the Bagdad School, the Salerno School, the Toledo School, etc.)
  • Translation “pairs” and co-translation 
  • “Team” translations and co-translations
  • Retranslation as a form of co-translation
  • Translations from a third language as a form of collaboration
  • Translation workshops and collaborative translations
  • Collaborative translation and new technologies (e.g.: crowdsourcing)
  • Human translator/technology "collaboration"
  • Theory of collaborative translation and translation studies
  • Audiovisual translation and collaboration
  • Oral translation (interpretation) and collaboration
  • Funsubbing and collaboration
  • Social networks and collaborative translation
  • Intersemiotic translation and author-translator collaboration
  • Theatrical translations and collaboration
  • Teamwork and specialist translation 
  • Translator communities and minority languages
  • Future perspectives of collaborative translation 

The methodological approaches and the disciplinary differentiation of the scientific fields involved are intended to add value to the achievements of the project.


The research will be carried out thanks to the financial support of the Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM, Milan (Department of Humanities), and is co-financed by the Institut de Recherche en Langues et Littératures Européennes - ILLE (Université de Haute-Alsace of Mulhouse).


"Permanent workshop on collaborative revision of texts on/in translation"

As part of the project Collaborative Translation: Approaches and Perspectives, the Permanent Textual Revision Laboratory is open to students of the Master's Degree Course in Specialized Translation and Conference Interpreting. The purpose of the laboratory is to provide basic training, in an experimental way, in order to consolidate and refineme techniques for the revision of texts on translation and in translation, in a collaborative dimension. The laboratory will be divided into in-person training and online lessons, during which the active participation of students will be required.

  • Lab. manager: Francesco Laurenti
  • Coordinator: Andrea Di Gregorio
  • Support: Silvia Velardi

Participants: Azzurra Taccini, Claudia Taurino, Antonella Castria, Allegra Mancini, Andrea Vercelli, Federica Villareale, Claudia Scurria, Lucrezie Boccasile, Sharon Seminara, Lorenza Abbamondi, Sofia Ballan, Ilaria Castiglioni, Claudia Coppola, Lara Delle Foglie, Eleonora Gardella, Eleonora Gatto, Lorena Mazzocchetti, Giorgia Vacri, Teresa Vettor, Camilla Zacchi.


"Permanent workshop on collaborative revision of texts on/in translation": collaborative translation/revision of the book Le guerre di Putin, Gremese Editore, Rome, 2023.

 As part of the "Permanent workshop on collaborative revision of texts on/in translation", the project of collaborative translation/revision of the book Le guerre di Putin, Gremese Editore, Rome, 2023 was activated in collaboration with Prof. L. Maggi (ESIT, Sorbonne Nouvelle - ISIT, Paris Panthéon-Assas) and students of ESIT (École Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs, Sorbonne Nouvelle).