A Unique Medium
by Gabe Bokor
Whether youre a novice Web-surfer or a veteran hacker, youll agree that there has never been a medium similar to this one. Youre reading information stored in the form of a few electrons on a computer probably located hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from where you are at little or no cost to you. Millions of other potential readers can also access it at the click of a mouse.
Since weve chosen to call this publication a journal, it can be revealing to compare it with its traditional namesakes.
From the readers viewpoint: You, the reader, are getting quality information at no cost, without advertisements. You can never misplace the Journal, because you can recall it at any time, even if youve forgotten its URL, by entering the key words Translation Journal in any Web search engine (the optimum search strategy may vary from one engine to the other). In addition to the current issue, you can access any of the five previous issues with a click of the mouse from the front page.
In addition to the pages specifically dedicated to links of interest, Surfing the Web for Fun and Profit and Translators Web Resources, many other pages contain references that are immediately available with a click on the hyperlink. You can also contact the editor or the author of any article on the spur of the moment as if they were sitting next to you.
From the contributors viewpoint: The Translation Journal offers a unique promotional opportunity to translators with specific knowledge in selected areas, be it technical, educational, or other. They can display their capabilities and reach potential clients at no cost and more convincingly than through thousands of résumés sent via snail-mail. These potential clients can easily contact them via e-mail while the impression is still fresh on their minds or go to these authors web sites (if they have one) for more information.
The process of contributing an article for the TJ is unlike that for any other publication. After approval of the abstract and of the full article, the e-mailed text is formatted and edited by the editor and placed, together with the relevant graphics, on the Web at an unlinked, secret URL, only revealed to the author, who can then see how his or her article will appear and what (if any) changes have been made by the editor. Questions of form and content are often discussed between author and editor. Either of them can suggest last-minute alterations in or additions to the text, even after publication date! Try to do that with a traditional journal!
The article remains on the Web for months and years, easily accessed by interested readers. It is regularly visited by search engine spiders, so that it can also be found by people who have never heard of the Translation Journal.
For the environment: Since its launch in July 1997, the Translation Journal was visited by over 18,000 readers. At 3 ounces (or 85 g) a copy, this circulation of a traditional journal would have consumed over 1.5 tons of paper. This much less trees have to be cut down and processed, and this much less waste has to be disposed of. Even considering that some readers will print out the articles of their interest, the savings in resources consumed are considerable.
From the publisher-editors viewpoint: Producing and mailing 18,000 copies of a paper journal would cost tens of thousands of dollars. It certainly couldt be done without defraying at least some of the costs either by charging subscription fees or by accepting advertisements or both. Not depending on printers and the postal service is a big advantage, and so is the flexibility of not having to fit the text in a predefined number of fixed-size pages.
But the greatest bonus to the editor is the contact with translatorsreaders and contributorsfrom all over the world. Some of these contacts have resulted in long-distance friendships or valuable business leads. To me, editing the TJ has been both enjoyable and useful. I sincerely hope that reading it has been a similar experience for you.