The Role of Translation in Multilingual User Experience

Tetyana Zhyvotovska, University of Texas at El Paso


Examining the intersections of technical communication, user experience, and translation, this study focused on the contexts of a user experience (UX) research center as a site where these intersections occurred and on practices of multilingual users while encountering translated information. In order to explore translation practices in relation to UX and cover the gap in understanding multilingual UX, the study examined how multilingual users worked with translated content, how they acted and reacted to it, and what they experienced during this process. Based on the existing scholarship in translation and usability studies in technical communication, this dissertation undertook empirical research (qualitative and usability study) to expand the definition of multilingual UX and explain the role of translation in UX and in technical communication in general. The qualitative study aimed to identify the contexts a UX research center navigated and functioned in through the interviews with the affiliated researchers of the Multilingual UX Consortium. The usability study was conducted to record and analyze practices of multilingual users while using a higher educational institution website with translated content. Finally, using the findings of these studies, the dissertation provided the definition of multilingual UX and described the contributions of a UX center to translation and UX theory and practice. This research illustrated strong connections between areas of technology design, translation, and UX, including complex relationships involved in translation and design processes for multilingual audiences. The study calls for a change in understanding multilingual UX and its practices by recognizing its complexity, humanity of translation, and value of users’ experience when engaging with multilingual information products. The study also offers strategies for technical communicators, UX researchers, and content design specialists in industry contexts to help guide effective design of information products for multilingual users and communities.

Subject Area

Rhetoric|Technical Communication|Translation studies|Computer science|Communication

Recommended Citation

Zhyvotovska, Tetyana, "The Role of Translation in Multilingual User Experience" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28413248.