HCI as Translation Work: How Translation Studies Can Inform HCI Research and Practice

This position paper extends the argument that HCI work is a kind of translation work, in which the HCI worker both transforms and transports knowledge from one culture (e.g., users) to another culture (e.g., software professionals). Based on earlier work with ethnocritical heuristics, I explore how the thousand year history of translation studies may inform our work in HCI. Lessons learned illuminate choices in the following areas: the unit of work, the transformation of information, the construction of “users,” and the organizational positioning of the HCI work. I hope to use cultural critique and translation theory to interpret and advance HCI as a hybrid, interdisciplinary endeavor.

By: Michael Muller

Published in: RC23318 in 2004


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