What are the general feelings about the words 'collaboration' and 'collaborate'?
I am translating a document of which 'citizen collaboration' would be the literal translation of the title, but to me 'collaboration' has connotations of collusion rather than co-operation, something verified by Wikipedia.
It is a fairly sensitive document - should I go with 'cooperation' instead
I'd say as long as your usage is correct and doesn't conjure images of wartime collaboration (and 'citizen collaboration' certainly does!), you are probably OK to use 'collaborate'.
We often talk about people 'collaborating on' an undertaking (eg a project) and this is fine - it simply means 'working together', and that's what I'd use in most cases if I was nervous about using 'collaborate', although not here where it's a noun. In which case, 'citizen participation'/'citizen involvement' is about the closest I think, although I might say 'the collaborative efforts of citizens' in certain contexts (unlike 'collaboration'/'collaborate', you are, I think, on safe ground with 'collaborative').
'Collaborate' suggests you're fully immersed in a collective endeavour to achieve a common goal, whilst 'cooperate' has more of a sense of working towards a goal by not hindering, and perhaps helping, one another. So, to use the obvious example, many people cooperated with the Nazis because they wanted to have an easy life and avoid trouble, but only traitors collaborated with the Nazis and actively pursued the persecution of Jews.
Last edited by bertietheblue; 25-May-2010 at 08:47.