Fan translations of SKAM: Challenging Anglo linguistic and popular cultural hegemony in a transnational fandom
The transnational success of the Norwegian multimedia series SKAM is unique in the Scandinavian context and a prime example of how fans’ translation, communication, and dissemination practices can lead to a series’ international success. In this study, we argue that fan translation of SKAM emphasizes the value of bi-/multilinguality by positioning Norwegian as a resource within a transnational online community, while simultaneously masking the ways in which translation into English normalizes English as the global language of communication and contributes to the Anglo-American dominance of online global media fandom. Nonetheless, fans’ use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) positions it as a democratic resource, challenging native-speaker hegemony (cf. House 2013; Widdowson 1994), and fans’ online translation and dissemination of non-Anglo media into English are practices which subvert the very dominance they actualize, challenging the privileged status of English by carving out space for non-Anglo linguistic expertise and positioning linguistic knowledge and the multicompetent language user as valuable (cf. Cook 1991; Cook 1992). This also creates a digital space for valuing non-Anglo popular cultural objects, languages, and cultures.