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Kevin Nguyen

Professor Johnson

ACE Writ 2

May 20, 2019

Genre Translation Analysis

Genre translation needs understanding of a basic concept, which is the rhetorical triangle.

The rhetorical triangle consists of an audience, speaker, and message. For the genre translation I

have decided to turn an academic journal named, Wakefield’s article linking MMR Vaccine and

Autism was Fraudulent, by Fiona Godlee, into a reddit post. The scientific article by Godlee tries

to send a message through an academic community. Godlee’s message is catered toward the few

that receive the scientific magazine. On the other hand, reddit if a forum that is open ended to

any and all topics. Reddit allows for the audience to voice their own opinion. On the other hand,

a scientific journal just allows the speaker their voice their opinion and thoughts on their

message. Both genres will be analyzed through means of their respective genre conventions and

discourse communities. Translating the scientific journal into a reddit post will give me a broader

view on audience’s perspective and the change of speech to get the same message across.

Godlee’s academic journal has the same basic writing conventions as any other academic

journal. Godlee posts this academic journal to inform and give depth on why some people have a

negative connotation about vaccines. Godlee gives a brief summary of Wakefield’s research

study and begins his initial analysis on the article. Wakefield made claims that the MMR vaccine

that creates immunity against measles causes dangerous side effects such as autism. The faked

research caused a surge in the populous to be afraid of receiving a vaccination. Godlee caters the

article to his audience which is an academic discourse community. Godlee doesn’t use any
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informal language and uses words such as “falsification” and “fabrication” instead of faking or

lying. Godlee creating this article creates an agenda or an objective for presenting Wakefield’s

fraudulent research as background. Godlee creates a solution so that this situation doesn’t happen

again. Godlee suggest that, “research ethics committees should not only scrutinize proposals but

have systems to check that what is done is what was permitted.” (GodLee 65). Godlee’s purpose

is to show that there was a problem in the system to allowed fraudulent research to be published.

By proving that there was a problem in the system there would be a solution needed. Godlee’s

purpose in writing this article is to suggest solutions to his respective academic community so

this situation does not happen again.

Reddit is also a discourse community but it opens to the general public. Anyone may

create something known as a subreddit on this platform. A subreddit is a small forum dedicated

to a certain topic where people could make posts are talk about that topic. For example, a

subreddit may contain the topic of dankmemes which obviously contain dankmemes. I decided

to translate Godlee’s scientific journal to a widely known subreddit called unpopular opinion.

Unpopular opinion subreddit works by a user posting what is known to be as an “unpopular

opinion” and the topic will be free reign for anyone that sees the post to comment and discuss.

The topics are sometime controversial and there is a variety of different opinions within every

topic. Although all the topics are different there is still a basic formatting and a common

language that floats around the community. Such as a single letter F representing someone

paying respects to the dead. Users do this to show when another user says something oblivious or

ignorant without realizing referencing that the user’s awareness is dead.

Translating the academic journal into a reddit post broadened my interpretation of

audience views on the topic. Through changing the article into the reddit post it help builds a
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deeper understanding of what Godlee was trying to convey. To change the genres, I had to

review the rhetorical triangle to understand that I had to overhaul the target audience and

message. The rhetorical situation poster stated that, “a rhetorical situation includes an audience

that can be influenced by or react to the writing.” (Rhetorical Situation Poster). I decided to make

the reddit post an over the top mom that seems very irrational and erratic which describes a large

number of posters on the subreddit unpopular opinion. I created a situation that supports

Wakefield’s fraudulent research and I made Godlee a user giving their own opinion on the post’s

subject. Not only did I add in Godlee’s input, but I also added what could be a possible all other

audience’s opinion ranging from negative to supportive. Adding other inputs not just Godlee is

the essence of the subreddit because the audience has a say in the message on the other hand the

academic journal is just the original authors claim and resolution.

The translation shows that different words are needed between the two genres. The

original academic journal is a formal setting that must use the common language amongst her

colleagues. Godlee would not be taken seriously without using the common language and would

not be credible because the lack of academic language. Driscoll discuss this as a, “dialogue: what

topics are currently "hot," how to discuss these topics in ways appropriate for the readers of their

genres” (Discroll 516) in the article, Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice.

Every academia is required to use a certain domain of language but reddit has no restrictions.

The only rules are the ones set be the moderators of the subreddit and there are very few in the

subreddit unpopular opinion. People are free to say mostly whatever they want to say. When

translating I made users that believed vaccination caused autism to have grammatical and

mistaking homophones for the other word. I intended for these users to be portrayed as less

intelligent. Alternatively I made Godlee into an informed person on subreddit rather than a
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scientist with a degree. Godlee was rather angry and this has been a common trend among any

subreddit because most users do not like stories or opinions that results in the danger to

anybody’s health. I also chose to misspell words and use “txt talk” because this is just natural to

see while surfing the internet. There is a certain lingo needed to post an academic journal but

reddit is free reign compared to the restrictions of an academic journal.

Changing the article from an academic journal to a reddit post helped me gain a deeper

understanding of the rhetorical situation of the original piece. To change the audience and the

message into the reddit post I must fully understand who the article was intended for and what

the author was trying to accomplish. Creating the reddit post required extra research to see

different views on the topic because reddit is such an open platform to discuss everyone’s own

opinion. Overall translating this piece into a new genre helps gain new insight in the rhetoric

behind the original.


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Work Cited

Godlee, Fiona, Jane Smith, and Harvey Marcovitch. "Wakefield's Article Linking MMR Vaccine

and Autism Was Fraudulent." British Medical Journal 342.7788 (2011): 64-66. Web.

Rhetorical Situation. N.p.: National Council of Teachers of English, 2010. Print.

Johns, Anh M. "Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice : Membership, Conflict,

and Diversity." Writing about Writing (n.d.): 498-516. Print.