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ERIC Number: EJ1077566
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1568-4555
"See Translation": Explicit and Implicit Language Policies on Facebook
Hendus, Ulrike
Language Policy, v14 n4 p397-417 Nov 2015
The currently tested "See Translation" button can be considered an expression of Facebook's explicit language policy. It offers the users fast and easy translations of others' status updates and can therefore be seen as diminishing language barriers and reducing the need for a lingua franca in polylingual networks, thus enhancing linguistic diversity and freedom of language choice. As Spolsky (2004) stated, however, the effect of an explicit language policy on actual language practices, and the corresponding implicit language policies is not guaranteed. In this article, I investigate the effect of the "See Translation" button as an instance of explicit language policy on Facebook users' practices and beliefs, thus their implicit language policies. The study addresses the effect from two perspectives: the active usage of the button in order to understand others' status updates, as well as the way in which users rely on it in choosing a language for their own status updates. Based on a survey conducted among Facebook users it appears that their translation behavior is strongly dependent on their media ideologies (Gershon, 2010). Furthermore, the study suggests that, despite the effort by Facebook to modify users' language use, language choice for one's own status updates is not determined by the "See Translation" button, but is based on a whole range of criteria and thus remains a socially meaningful choice made by the user, resulting in a discrepancy between explicit and implicit language policies on Facebook.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A