Conflict, opacity and mistrust in the digital management of professional translation projects


  • Elisa Alonso Universidad Pablo de Olavide


project management, professional translation, computer-mediated communication, conflict


This paper is aimed at exploring the computer-mediated communication that takes place during the management of translation projects. More specifically, we will analyse the nature of communication among the actors involved in a translation project, and will outline the existing sources of conflict. Our methodology approach, qualitative and interpretative, was based on two focus group sessions, of approximately one hour each, where a total of five translation professionals participated. We have found that communication between clients-managers and translators was mainly virtualised (email and translation project portals). The translators reported that, very frequently, after accepting a translation project, they felt cheated by clients-managers, because, apparently, changing volume, deadlines, translation tools and even the texts to be translated are common practices. Some translators questioned the professionalism of managers and pointed to their lack of training, while others complained about the existence of very complicated instructions (super skopos) imposed by the client/manager. As a result, a number of tensions appeared in the management of the project, forcing a loop of continuous negotiation and renegotiation.