Volume 69, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Technological advancement has brought changes to many professions across the world. Furthermore, it has triggered a discussion about ethical issues. Machine Translation (MT) or Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) has vastly increased work efficiency and technology-related ethical issues are gaining academic attention these days. However, the discussion of ethical issues for literary translation against the backdrop of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is limited. After a quick review of the stages of MT, this paper will delve into literary translation’s emerging ethical issues, for example, the literary translator’s professional identity and copyright. Copyright ethics is an indispensable part of AI-enabled literary translation since training data and participatory NMT involve copyright issues. This study revealed that technological advancement will facilitate literary translation. However, no direct evidence exists that machine translation will replace human translators. Given the new working mode of “multi-players” or participatory translation, ethical issues arising from the human and machine interaction merit further academic inquiry.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aranal, Lyshiel
    2021 “‘He Works, She Cooks’: Google Translate Results Reveal Gender Bias in Tech.” InqPOP!, 11 March 2021. Accessed1 December 2021. https://pop.inquirer.net/107105/google-translate-gender-bias
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Baker, Mona, and Carol Maier
    2011 “Ethics in Interpreter and Translator Training.” The Interpreter and Translator Trainer5 (1): 1–14. 10.1080/13556509.2011.10798809
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2011.10798809 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bostrom, Nick, and Eliezer Yudkowsky
    2014 “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence.” InThe Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, edited byKeith Frankish and William M. Ramsey, 316–334. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139046855.020
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139046855.020 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bowker, Lynn
    2021 “Translation Technologies and Ethics.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Ethics, edited byKaisa Koskinen and Nike K. Pokorn, 262–278. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Castilho, Sheila, and Natália Resende
    2022 “Post-editese in Literary Translations.” Information13 (66):1–22. 10.3390/info13020066
    https://doi.org/10.3390/info13020066 [Google Scholar]
  6. Chan, Sin-wai
    2018The Human Factor in Machine Translation. London: Taylor and Francis.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Dignum, Virginia
    2018 “Ethics in Artificial Intelligence: Introduction to the Special Issue.” Ethics and Information Technology20 (1): 1–3. 10.1007/s10676‑018‑9450‑z
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-018-9450-z [Google Scholar]
  8. Drugan, Joanna, and Chris Megone
    2011 “Bringing Ethics into Translator Training: An Integrated, Inter-disciplinary Approach.” The Interpreter and Translator Trainer5 (1): 189–211. 10.1080/13556509.2011.10798817
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2011.10798817 [Google Scholar]
  9. Drugan, Joanna
    2019 “Ethics.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy, eds. byPiers Rawlingm and Philip Wilson, 243–255. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Feng, Quangong 冯全功
    2012 “Cong shiti dao guanxi: fanyi yanjiu de jianxing tanxi” 从实体到关系——翻译研究的间性探析 [From entity to relation – Exploration of “interness” in translation studies]. Dangdai waiyu yanjiu当代外语研究 [Contemporary foreign languages studies] 12 (1): 48–52.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Flynn, Sean, Christopher Geiger, Joao Quintais, Thomas Margoni, Mathew Sag, Lucie Guibault and Michael W. Carroll
    2020 “Implementing User Rights for Research in the Field of Artificial Intelligence: A Call for International Action.” European Intellectual Property Review42 (7): 393–398. 10.2139/ssrn.3578819
    https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3578819 [Google Scholar]
  12. Garcia, Ignacio
    2011 “Translating by Post-editing: Is It the Way Forward?” Machine Translation25 (3): 217–237. 10.1007/s10590‑011‑9115‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10590-011-9115-8 [Google Scholar]
  13. Gouadec, Daniel
    2007Translation as a Profession. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/btl.73
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.73 [Google Scholar]
  14. Guerberof-Arenas, Ana, and Antonio Toral
    2020The Impact of Post-Editing and Machine Translation on Creativity and Reading Experience. Translation Spaces. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/ts.20035.gue
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ts.20035.gue [Google Scholar]
  15. Kaisa Koskinen, and Nike K. Pokorn
    eds. 2021The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Ethics. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kenny, Dorothy, and Stephen Doherty
    2014 “Statistical Machine Translation in the Translation Curriculum: Overcoming Obstacles and Empowering Translators.” The Interpreter and Translator Trainer8 (2): 276–294. 10.1080/1750399X.2014.936112
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1750399X.2014.936112 [Google Scholar]
  17. Kenny, Dorothy
    2011 “The Ethics of Machine Translation.” InProceedings of the XI NZSTI National Conference, edited bySybille Ferner, 121–131. Auckland: NZSTI.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. 2019 “Machine Translation.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy, edited byPiers Rawling and Philip Wilson, 428–445. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. 2020 “Technology and Translator Training.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Technology, edited byMinako O’Hagan, 498–515. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Lee, Hyang, and Yun Seong Woo
    2020 “How Can We Improve the Codes of Ethics for Translators?” Babel66 (4–5): 706–718. 10.1075/babel.00190.yun
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.00190.yun [Google Scholar]
  21. Lee, Tong King
    2011 “The Death of the Translator in Machine Translation: A Bilingual Poetry Project.” Target: International Journal of Translation Studies23 (1): 92–112. 10.1075/target.23.1.06lee
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.23.1.06lee [Google Scholar]
  22. 2020 “Translation and Copyright: Towards a Distributed View of Originality and Authorship.” The Translator26 (3): 241–256. 10.1080/13556509.2020.1836770
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2020.1836770 [Google Scholar]
  23. Loeb and Loeb LLP
    Loeb and Loeb LLP 2018 “Naruto v. Slater.” Lexology, 23 April 2018. Accessed1 December 2021. https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=6c52581e-d82f-4bb7-802c-191db44dca9f
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Maouche, Seraya
    2019 “Google AI: Opportunities, Risks, and Ethical Challenges.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies23 (4): 447–455. 10.1080/17409292.2019.1705012
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17409292.2019.1705012 [Google Scholar]
  25. McDonough Dolmaya, Julie
    2011 “Moral Ambiguity: Some Shortcomings of Professional Codes of Ethics for Translators.” JosTrans: The Journal of Specialised Translation151: 28–49.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Moorkens, Joss, Antonio Toral, Sheila Castilho, and Andy Way
    2018 “Translators’ Perceptions of Literary Post-editing Using Statistical and Neural Machine Translation.” Translation Spaces7(2): 240–262. 10.1075/ts.18014.moo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ts.18014.moo [Google Scholar]
  27. Poibeau, Thierry
    2017Machine Translation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/11043.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/11043.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  28. Ragni, Valentina, and Lucas Nunes Vieira
    2022 “What Has Changed with Neural Machine Translation? A Critical Review of Human Factors.” Perspectives30 (1):137–158. 10.1080/0907676X.2021.1889005
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2021.1889005 [Google Scholar]
  29. Shoshan, Ofer
    2018 “Neural MT and Blockchain Are about to Radically Transform the Translation Market.” Slator, 21 May 2018, Accessed16 January 2022. https://slator.com/neural-mt-and-blockchain-are-about-to-radically-transform-the-translation-market/
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Stupiello, Érika Nogueira de Andrade
    2008 “Ethical Implications of Translation Technologies.” Translation Journal12 (1). Available at: translationjournal.net/journal/43ethics.htm
    [Google Scholar]
  31. TAC (Translators Association of China)
    TAC (Translators Association of China) 2019Code of Professional Ethics for Translators and Interpreters (ZYF 012–2019). Beijing: Standards Press of China.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Taivalkoski-Shilov, Kristiina
    2019 “Ethical Issues Regarding Machine (-assisted) Translation of Literary Texts.” Perspectives27 (5): 689–703. 10.1080/0907676X.2018.1520907
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2018.1520907 [Google Scholar]
  33. Toral, Antonio, and Andy Way
    2018 “What Level of Quality Can Neural Machine Translation Attain on Literary Text?” InTranslation Quality Assessment: From Principles to Practice, edited byJoss Moorkens, Sheila Castilho, Federico Gaspari, and Stephen Doherty, 263–287. Switzerland: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑91241‑7_12
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91241-7_12 [Google Scholar]
  34. Toral, Antonio, Sheila Castilho, Ke Hu, and Andy Way
    2018 “Attaining the Unattainable? Reassessing Claims of Human Parity in Neural Machine Translation.” InProceedings of the Third Conference on Machine Translation: Research Papers, 113–123, Brussels, Belgium: Association for Computational Linguistics. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1808.10432.pdf10.18653/v1/W18‑6312
    https://doi.org/10.18653/v1/W18-6312 [Google Scholar]
  35. Wu, You
    2021 “Revisiting Translation in the Age of Digital Globalization.” Babel67 (6): 819–844. 10.1075/babel.00248.wu
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.00248.wu [Google Scholar]
  36. Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit, and Xiaoqiong (Jackie) Liu
    2018 “When Artificial Intelligence Systems Produce Inventions: The 3A Era and an Alternative Model for Patent Law.” Cardozo Law Review391: 2215–2262
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit, and Cynthia Martens
    2019 “From the Myth of Babel to Google Translate: Confronting Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence – Copyright and Algorithmic Biases in Online Translation Systems.” Seattle University Law Review43 (1): 99–168. 10.2139/ssrn.3345716
    https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3345716 [Google Scholar]
  38. Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit, and Sean K. Hallisey
    2019 “Equality and Privacy by Design: A New Model of Artificial Intelligence Data Transparency via Auditing, Certification, and Safe Harbor Regimes.” Fordham Urban Law Journal, 461:428–486.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Zhang, Yongzhong 张永中
    2014 “Bianyi: zhuti jianxing de shiyu ronghe” 变译:主体间性的视域融合 [Translation variation: Horizon fusion of inter-subjectivity]. Waiyu xuekan外语学刊 [Foreign language research] (1): 89–93.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Zheng, Jianwei 郑剑委
    2018 “Zhongguo wangluo wenxue de haiwai jieshou yu wangluo fanyi moshi” 中国网络文学的海外接受与网络翻译模式 [A Study on the overseas reception and internet translation mode of Chinese internet literature]. Huawen wenxue华文文学 [Literatures in Chinese] (5): 119–125.
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error