5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things Anhaita Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Anhaita, who volunteers with the Translation Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As a volunteer, I’m part of the Translation Committee. Our main objective is making the site and its content available in different languages for easy accessibility and understanding to all those whose first language isn’t English. We help in cross lingual communications with other Committees as well! (Support and Abuse, for example).

Translation is also subdivided into smaller language teams, so no matter what language you wish to communicate in, we most likely have someone to make sure the message gets interpreted correctly. As the OTW is geared towards fans from various communities and cultures, our goal is to make sure people can access our website in languages they feel comfortable with.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

As I’m part of a very small team (literally, it’s just two of us here), we mainly have a large number of documents to sort through and translate. So usually, I spend the week translating a document, perhaps a webpage for the OTW site, like the FAQs or a News post. At times, I may get contacted to help translate a text-image, or fic-tags in my language, for a different Committee — we are kind of the go-between here!

Translating some words into my language, Marathi, can be pretty tough, and sometimes hilarious even. We have to figure out how sentence structures have to be changed to fit a text, or the closest possible translation is used. Fun fact: Fanvid is literally translated to mean “Western Picture Gallery” in Marathi (because that’s a word English totally dreamt up one day and refused to inform the other languages).

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Sharon Marcus

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Sharon Marcus is the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and editor in chief of Public Books. Today, Sharon talks about the book she published this year, The Drama of Celebrity, from Princeton University Press.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I became a fan long before I knew what a fan was, and my initial experiences of fandom were very out of phase with those around me. When I was around six, in the early 1970s. I saw Errol Flynn on television in the movie Robin Hood (1938) and developed a crush on him. No-one else my age even knew who he was, and my parents mocked him, but I liked his insouciance, his bow and arrow, and the fact that he wore tights.

A few years later, I developed an interest in Vivien Leigh, who died in 1967, a year after I was born. None of my friends had heard of her, either. My earliest experiences of fandom were solitary, mediated, and nostalgic –- the celebrities I became obsessed with had long departed this world. Perhaps as a result, I never thought of myself as a fan, at least not the way my friends were fans of David Cassidy, Farrah Fawcett, or John Travolta. (I did, however, develop an opinion about Charlie’s Angels: Jaclyn Smith was my favorite.)

The first times I heard the word “fan” used, it was associated with violence. Irving Wallace’s novel The Fan Club became a best-seller in 1974: the plot focused on five male fans who kidnap an actress they’re obsessed with so that she’ll have sex with them. In 1980, Mark Chapman murdered John Lennon; in 1981, John Hinckley tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan to get Jodie Foster’s attention. Fandom seemed excessive, criminal, pathological.

In college and graduate school, I studied nineteenth-century literature and learned that fandom had a long and complex history. The young Charlotte Bronte wrote a fan letter to a favorite poet and asked him for advice about her writing. Charles Dickens’ readers felt a personal connection to him that he fostered by addressing them directly in prefaces to his novels and by giving live readings from his works.

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Fanhackers Logo

OTW Announces Fanhackers Relaunch

The team behind Fanhackers, the OTW’s project to make fan studies research accessible to fans, is excited to announce the relaunch of their WordPress site.

Over the past years, we’ve built a wonderful following on Tumblr with quotes from academic and non-academic research on fans. We’ll stick around on Tumblr, of course. However, the new site will be a more stable platform to preserve our content. It will also make it easier for us to expand to other platforms and to support non-blog projects that Tumblr can’t accommodate easily. This week will also see our Twitter account starting a regular schedule of updates, so if you’re active there please follow us!

What’s on the new site? The blog, first and foremost, and all the content shared by fannish and scholarly contributors since 2011 (remember when it was the Symposium blog?). We’ll keep filling the blog up with interesting news, quotes from new and old fan studies research, tips and tricks for tools and methods to study fan culture, and advice on how to contribute to the OTW’s open access journal Transformative Works and Cultures.

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