TransCollaborate was formed in 2016 as part of a funded project for the Monash-Warwick Alliance. The original team of researchers was Dr Jessica Griffiths (Monash University), Dr Gioia Panzarella (University of Warwick), Dr Christian Griffiths (Monash University) and Dr Georgia Wall (University of Warwick).
The project was inspired by a collaborative translation that developed organically between two doctoral candidates at Monash University. One was a monolingual scholar of Shakespeare studies who needed to understand an article in their field that was available only in Italian; the other was a native Italian scholar of Translation studies who was able to read the article but was not confident enough in the field of Shakespeare studies to translate it into English. By bringing together their respective fields of expertise, they were able to translate the article.
Based on this process, a specific model of collaborative translation was conceived, and was ultimately adopted as the authoritative model for the project’s activities more generally. It remains the clearest distillation and embodiment of our aims and while we have developed it further in recent years, it should still be recognisable in our more recent collaborations.
The research project applied this model to a range of translations with a view to answering the following questions:
Can collaborative translation provide a platform for academic collaboration and research?
Can collaborative translation provide valuable English practice for ESL learners?
Can collaborative translation support the integration of migrants into English-speaking communities?
These questions formed the basis of three streams – Academic/Literary, Language Learning and Migrant streams – and within each stream, multiple translations or workshops were completed. The outputs were collected in various publications, and presented at the Prato symposium, held in July 2017. At this event, the above model was discussed alongside other ideas and experiences of collaborative translation, and collectively these were brought together in our special journal issue which appeared in mTm: A Translation Journal in 2019.
The project concluded that while academic collaboration, language support and cultural integration are all possible via a process of collaborative translation, each will also be found naturally in any given collaboration conducted according to the above model. As a result, we need not designate separate streams but can observe these outcomes in each translation we pursue.
The work of the project continues under the banner of TransCollaborate Incorporated, a Melbourne-based not-for-profit association formed by the Monash team, Jessica and Christian, in April 2018. TransCollaborate will continue the work begun by Collaborative Translation: a Model for Inclusion on a local and international level.