e-Journal of Linguistics

Available online at https://ojs.unud.ac.id/index.php/eol/index

Vol. 17, No. 2, July 2023, pages: 182--191

Print ISSN: 2541-5514 Online ISSN: 2442-7586


Translating Illocutionary Verbs of Quick Chat in Mobile Legends Bang Bang

1Dina Isnaeni Putriaji

Universitas Negeri Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia, [email protected]


Universitas Negeri Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia, [email protected]

Article info

Received Date: 3 February 2023

Accepted Date: 27 March 2023

Published Date: 31 July 2023


illocutionary act, illocutionary verb, game translation


The global enthusiasm for online games requires the game developer and publisher to provide various language translations. The players require to communicate and strategize well to win the match. The Quick Chat used by MLBB players to communicate and build strategy must be translated as appropriate to the context. This research investigated the translation techniques applied to the Quick Chat verb in MLBB. Translation techniques are important for transmitting the message from ST to TT. Since Quick Chat primarily consists of verbs, this research focuses on the translation of illocutionary verbs of Quick Chat in MLBB. This research applied qualitative methods. Directive and assertive are the two illocutionary verbs found in 30 randomly selected data. Furthermore, five translation techniques applied in the illocutionary verbs are the literal, transposition, amplification, modulation, and reduction technique. Additionally, this study also reveals that the transposition technique changes the type of illocutionary acts from directive to assertive. Therefore, the selection of translation techniques should be appropriate to preserve the message and purpose of the Quick Chat.

  • 1.    Introduction

Existing research on game translation focuses on game localization around ludological and narratological perspectives (Purnama et al., 2016). Localization in games generally translates terms from one culture to another or translates cultural materials. For example, Cai's (2022) research discusses translation strategies for culture-loaded words. Other research discusses game asset translation which includes audio, visual, and text in the game (Purnama et al., 2016). Another scholar also states that a game tends to involve more text and is highly narrative-driven, it has more translation implications (Mangiron, 2004, as cited in Mangiron & O’Hagan, 2006). In addition to mediating the interaction between the player and the game interface or human-computer interaction (Newman, 2004), translation also mediates the interaction among players. Advances in gaming technology are able to emphasize the social aspect of gaming, which is enhanced by gaming engines that allow communication across borders and time zones through online play options (Bernal-Merino, 2013). Therefore, this research focuses on players' communication in the study of pragmatics.

One type of game that has interaction between players is a multiplayer game. Mobile Legend Bang Bang (MLBB) is a type of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game where two teams beat each other by destroying the enemy base (Hermawan et al., 2020) and are assisted by Minions or small soldiers (Mawalia, 2020). MLBB, developed by Moonton Technology Co. Ltd., has several modes of play, including Classic, Rank, Survival, Brawl, VS A.I., Custom, and Arcade. Classic, the basic or primary game mode, is played in groups. Two groups of 5 players will fight to defend the home base and destroy the enemy's base. There must be excellent teamwork to win the game as it is played in groups. Therefore, MLBB provides several features for players to communicate, such as Voice Chat, Chat, and Quick Chat.

The voice chat feature is like a telephone that allows players to communicate verbally. Voice Chat requires a high internet connection, leading players to prefer to communicate via text, either Chat or Quick Chat (Ryan, 2018). Chat is a communication feature that players use manually. The manual

means that players must type the text they want to convey. Since this feature is cumbersome and inefficient, players often use Quick Chat. The Quick Chat feature is an automatic text communication feature. Automatic means that players do not need to type the text they want to convey to other players but select the available text. Therefore, this study focuses on the Quick Chat feature as the players’ most favorite communication feature. Quick Chat contains several texts classified into three categories based on their functions: Communicate, Defend, and Attack. Moonton has categorized this division based on the function of each Quick Chat.

Players communicate through Quick Chat to provide or encourage performance of an action. This Quick Chat function is in line with Yule (1996), who stated that speakers produce utterances with a purpose. Speakers say something intentionally with the expectation that the purpose is accomplished. Utterances that contain this purpose are called illocutionary acts. In accordance with Searle & Vanderveken (1989) that the speaker intends to produce a certain effect by getting the hearer to recognize the speaker’s intention to produce that effect when performing an illocutionary act in the literal utterance of a sentence.

The characteristic of Quick Chat is that it has a concise structure, such as a verb followed by a noun. Some Quick Chats even only contain a verb. This Quick Chat gives the players an easy way to motivate each other on what to do or what to act while playing the game. Since the most essential part of Quick Chat is the verb, this research focuses on the translation of the illocutionary verb of Quick Chat from English to Indonesian. There are five types of illocutionary acts including assertive, commissive, directive, declarative, and expressive (Searle & Vanderveken, 1989). These five illocutionary acts hold different kinds of illocutionary verbs as follows.

The first illocutionary, assertive, is generally utilized to provide information and state the speaker's circumstances. In this illocutionary, the listener only needs to know the speaker's condition. Searle mentions that assert, affirm, state, claim, disclaim, deny, argue, rebut, assure, inform, remind, notify, object, report, predict, retrodict, suggest, insist, conjecture, hypothesize, guess, swear, testify, admit, confess, accuse, blame, complain, criticize, praise, boast, and lament are included in the assertive category.

The second illocutionary is commissive, in which the speaker's point of utterance is decided to commit to the speaker's future actions. Illocutionary verbs categorized as commissive are commit, threaten, promise, vow, pledge, swear, consent, accept, refuse, offer, bid, assure, guarantee, warrant, covenant, contract, and bet.

The next is directive illocutionary which usually attempts to get the hearer to do something and is made in a mode that allows the hearer the option of refusal or in a mode where refusal is precluded. Searle mentions 24 verbs included in directive illocutionary verbs, namely direct, ask, request, urge, tell, demand, require, order, command, forbid, prohibit, enjoin, permit, insist, suggest, advise, recommend, warn, beg, entreat, supplicate, beseech, implore, and pray.

Declarative illocutionary manifests when the speaker's utterance changes the object or person. Declare, resign, adjourn, nominate, approve, confirm, disapprove, endorse, disclaim, renounce, denounce, repudiate, bless, curse, excommunicate, consecrate, christen, abbreviate, name, and call are part of this illocutionary.

The last is expressive illocutionary. This illocutionary delivers the speaker's feelings and/or circumstances to the hearer. This illocutionary consists of apologies, thank, condole, congratulate, complain, lament, protest, deplore, boast, compliment, praise, welcome, and greet.

Translating illocutionary acts is an important aspect to study because it is an essential part of Quick Chat. The interaction among players with different language backgrounds is the basis for providing several language options in Quick Chat. Thus, this game is enjoyable for players from different countries. As supported by Mangiron (2007), one of the causes leading to game success is internationalization and globalization through the translation process. Kumala (2020) writes that translation is the process of transferring one language as the source language (SL) into another as the target language (TL) involving the same meaning. Similar to Newmark's (2001) definitions, translation is the attempt to replace a written message from one language with another with the same message. Larson (1998) provides more details that translation is the study of the lexicon, grammatical structure, communication situation, and cultural context of the SL communicated through the natural forms of the TL.

Despite the translation perspective, a source text (ST) and target text (TT) should have the same value, called equivalence. House (2009: 29) defines equivalence as a message that fulfills a similar

function. Instead, a particular ST will have many different translation texts that can be called 'equivalent to the ST in different ways, depending on how the message is conveyed. The equivalence of TT in Quick Chat needs to be analyzed to ensure that the messages contained in it are in accordance with ST. Therefore, players can utilize it depending on the game's situation. Inappropriate translation could affect the player's performance in forming the group strategy.

Through translation techniques, the translation process is studied to provide the best way to translate a text or utterance. The category of translation techniques is needed to describe the actual steps taken by the translator in each textual unit and obtain precise data about the general methodological option chosen. Molina & Albir (2002) proposed 18 translation techniques classification. Newmark? The following is a detailed explanation of Molina and Albir's theory.

The adaptation technique replaces the ST cultural element with the one from the target culture. The amplification technique introduces detail unformulated in the ST. Borrowing technique taking an expression straight from another language. There are two types of borrowing which are pure and naturalized borrowing. Pure borrowing doesn’t change any element in the expression borrowed, while naturalize borrowing changes the morphological and phonological form according to the TT principle. Calque technique translated word for word literally. It borrows the form of two or more morphemes. The compensation technique introduces an ST element of information or stylistic effect in another place in the TT because it cannot be reflected in the same place as in the ST. The description technique replaces an expression with a description of its form and/or function.

The discursive creation technique establishes a temporary equivalence that is totally unpredictable out of context. The established equivalent technique uses a recognizable expression as an equivalent in the TT. The generalization technique uses the more neutral term in the TT. Literal technique translates word-for-word expression. Modulation technique changes the point of view lexically or structurally. The Particularization technique uses a more precise or concrete term. The reduction technique suppresses the ST information without changing the meaning. The substitution technique changes linguistic elements for paralinguistic elements. The transposition technique changes the grammatical category of the terminology.

There are some previous studies related to game translation. The first study by Ratulangi (2018) discusses game translation techniques at the phrase level of Heroes' background in MLBB. Ratulangi concluded that there are 10 translation techniques applied to heroes’ backgrounds including reduction, transposition, compensation, modulation, amplification, borrowing-naturalization, particularization, established equivalent, generalization, and calque. These translation techniques have several aims such for eliminating information that has been explained in the previous sentence, avoiding word wastage, naturalizing the TT, changing the grammatical form of plural or singular in the TT, simplifying the text, and maintaining the logicality of the text (Ratulangi, 2018). However, this research only focuses on the translation technique of the Heroes' background and does not reveal the correlation between the use of translation techniques and the players' gameplay. Therefore, this current study discusses translation techniques in one of the MLBB features, Quick Chat, which directly contributes to the players' gameplay.

The second previous study comes from Putri's research on game features (2021) employed the translation strategies of character classes, skills, and gears in the role-playing game Darkness Rises. Apart from the context of text translation, Putri also analyzed the strategy of writing the text using the spatialization strategy. She found that game translation requires appropriate textual and non-textual translation strategies. Textually, the proper translation strategy allows the players to understand the gameplay despite being confined by space limitations. On the non-textual side, the right visual strategy can convey information to the player easily without the problem of space limitations. In the MLBB Quick Chat feature, the text display of ST and TT does not differ significantly. ST and TT Quick Chat applied the same font, color, and visual. Therefore, the present study focuses on the textual strategy of translating illocutionary verbs of the Quick Chat. To accomplish this purpose, the following are two research question utilized to conduct this study: 1) What illocutionary acts in the Quick Chat are used by the player to communicate and build a strategy with each member of the team?; 2) What are the translation techniques of illocutionary verbs in the Quick Chat used by the player to communicate and build a strategy with each member of the team?

  • 2.    Research Methods

This research focuses on the translation technique of illocutionary verbs in Quick Chat. Therefore, this research applies the descriptive qualitative method. According to Fraenkel & Wallen (2009), qualitative research is research with the occurrence of natural attitudes or behavior. Qualitative research has a natural setting, the data commonly in a form of words or pictures rather than a number, and more concerned with the process than the outcomes of the product. Furthermore, Bogdan and Taylor (1984) explained that the qualitative approach uses descriptive data in the same manner as verbal or nonverbal utterances or words from the object of the study.

The object of this study is the Quick Chat in the MLBB, specifically the illocutionary verbs found on these Quick Chats. The source language is English while the target language is Indonesian. The data was collected from the basic or default Quick Chat list in the preparation menu of the game. The collected data was then randomly selected in the amount of 30 data with details of 10 Quick Chats in the Communication category, 10 Quick Chats in the Defend category, and 10 Quick Chats in the Attack category. These 30 data were analyzed to determine the illocutionary acts used by looking at the illocutionary verbs in each Quick Chat category. Then the illocutionary verbs translation technique was analyzed. Thus, the translation techniques of illocutionary verbs in the Quick Chat are revealed based on Molina & Albir's translation technique.

  • 3.    Discussions

This section will display the analysis proses on the Quick Chat category according to their respective functions. The first sub-chapter discusses the illocutionary acts, illocutionary verb shifts, and translation techniques of the Quick Chat Communication category. The second sub-chapter discusses the illocutionary acts, illocutionary verb shifts, and translation techniques of the Quick Chat Defense category. The third sub-chapter discusses the illocutionary acts, illocutionary verb shifts, and translation techniques of the Quick Chat Attack category.

  • 3.1    Quick Chat Communication Category

The Quick Chat Communication category contains a variety of basic communication-oriented cues to greet, apologize, or compliment teammates. This category is the most basic cue but should be included in the Quick Chat option. It is necessary to praise the teammates when they do something good or apologize when doing something wrong. However, in this category, many cues lead to providing information or suggestions to teammates. many directives and assertive illocutionary acts are found in this Quick Chat category. From 10 data taken in the Quick Chat Communication category, 9 Quick Chats be classified as directive illocutionary verbs, and the other one is assertive.

  • 3.1.1    Directive Illocutionary Acts of Communication Category

The two types of directive illocutionary verbs identified are request and suggest. Request allows for the possibility of refusal. A request can be granted or refused by the hearer. Suggest is weak directives, compared to stronger directive insist. Suggest has a special mode of achievement of its illocutionary point, which is persistence.

Table 1

Directive Illocutionary Verb Shifting and Translation Technique


Source Text

Target Text


Verb Shifting

Translation Technique


Let me farm alone

Saya ingin Farm






Let me farm first

Aku akan Farming



terlebih dahulu



Come take the Purple

Kemari ambil Buff






This Quick Chat can be used when players are farming (looking for gold by killing monsters or opponent Minions) but are disturbed by other teammates. Players farm to get gold so they can buy the equipment needed. However, when two or more players farm together, they will share the gold earned.

Therefore, the availability of Quick Chat 1 allows players to convey their intentions to have other teammates farm separately. In this situation, the teammates have two choices: to follow the player’s request or to refuse it. This condition corresponds to the illocutionary verb request, which allows for the responsibility of refusal. The illocutionary verb in Quick Chat 1 is 'Let,' which is then translated to 'ingin' or means want. This illocutionary verb changes from directive to assertive because it changes the value of 'Let,' which is a request, to 'want,' which only informs. Instead of using 'Biarkan,' the role of the verb 'Let' changed from requesting to giving information by translates it into 'ingin' or want.

Quick Chat 2 has the illocutionary verb Let,' which indicates that condition as Quick Chat 1. The speaker asks the teammates to provide a chance to ‘farm first.’ This Quick Chat is usually used when players want to farm before finally attacking the opponent. Farming is a way to prepare for battle and perform the best gameplay. As teammates may give a chance or ignore the speaker's request, this verb belongs to the directive request category. Instead of using 'Biarkan,' the role of the verb 'Let' changed from requesting to giving information by translates it into ‘akan’ or will. This change causes the illocutionary verbs to shift from request to inform.

The illocutionary verb shift in Quick Chat 1 and 2 affect the point of view of the verb—this change in point of view results in a modulation translation technique. Therefore, the change of point of view due to the change of illocutionary verbs is the product of the translation technique, modulation.

Quick Chat 3 has the illocutionary verb ‘Come’ and ‘take,' which indicates that the player suggests teammates take the ‘Purple buff.’ This situation may indicate that the speaker does not need the ‘Purple buff’ and leaves it to other teammates. Other teammates may take the ‘Purple buff’ or do not need it, just like the speaker. This condition is compatible with the requirement for constructing an illocutionary verb 'suggest' where there is persistence. The speaker still gives the suggestion even though others are against or ignore the suggestion. Example 2 uses a literal translation technique. This technique translates the source language into the target language word-by-word (interlinear) according to the grammatical equivalent of the target language (linear). This technique doesn’t change the illocutionary verb with equivalent word choices.

  • 3.1.2    Assertive Illocutionary Acts of Communication Category

One assertive illocutionary from the communication category is inform. Inform is to assert to a hearer with the additional preparatory condition that the hearer does not know what he is being informed. The Quick Chat 4 is ' I'll go push with the minions, ' which translates into 'Aku akan menghancurkan Turret bersama Minion.' This Quick Chat has the illocutionary verb 'go push,' which indicates the speaker's desire to destroy the Turret. The speaker did not ask for help or command other teammates to do this with him. However, the speaker wanted to let his teammates know what he would do. Therefore, this illocutionary verb belongs to assertive inform.

Example 4 uses the amplification technique where the additional information is written in the TT. The word 'push' in ST was translated by adding a description of 'destroying Turret' to split the object. The amplification technique in example 4 still maintains the assertive inform function of the TT.

  • 3.2    Quick Chat Defend Category

The Quick Chat Defend category consists of various defend-oriented cues of taking action to protect something such as ‘Defend the High Ground’, ‘Need Assistance’, and many others. The Defend category is used when a player has to take action to protect his base or teammates. Therefore, this category requires more players to perform an action. Thus, many directive illocutionary verbs are found in this category. Even all 10 data taken in the Quick Chat of the Defend category contain illocutionary directive verbs.

  • 3.2.1    Directive illocutionary Acts of Defend Category

The three types of directive illocutionary verbs identified are warn, order, and request. Warn is to notify or make (someone) aware of a state of affairs that the speaker presupposes is not in the hearer’s interest. Order is similar to command. They have a greater degree of strength than telling. This greater degree of strength derives from the fact that when one issues a command or an order one invokes a position of power or authority over the hearer. Order does not require an institutional structure of authority, but command does.

Table 2

Directive Illocutionary Verb Shifting and Translation Technique


Source Text

Target Text


Verb Shifting

Translation Technique


Beware of Ambush

Hati-hati penyergapan

Directive (warn)



Protect our damage dealer.

Lindungi Damage Dealer.

Directive (order)



Need Assistance!

Butuh Bantuan!

Directive (suggest)


Quick Chat 5 has the illocutionary 'Beware,' which shows the speaker's intention to alert teammates about something dangerous, which is 'Ambush.' This Quick Chat can be used when players notify that there are enemies who are gathering and hiding to get ready to attack teammates. This Quick Chat is uttered as a warning to other teammates. This condition corresponds to the illocutionary verb 'warn,' which indicates that the teammates does not expect an 'Ambush.' Therefore, 'Beware' belongs to the illocutionary verb 'warn.' To build good teamwork, a teammate who knows the danger should warn the other.

Quick Chat 6 has the illocutionary 'Protect,' which indicates the speaker's intention to request, suggest, or order. This Quick Chat is likely to be uttered when the situation is chaotic or in a big battle, requiring teammates to work according to their respective roles. When the 'damage dealer' is deemed essential and under some pressure, then other teammates should give support. This Quick Chat conveys the player's message to teammates about what to do in that situation. Therefore, this illocutionary belongs to 'order' which requires the hearer to do what the speaker says.

Quick Chat 7 has the illocutionary 'Need,' which shows a request for help or ‘assistance’ from teammates. Situations that bring up this Quick Chat are usually players who are in a precarious situation, such as facing a stronger enemy or facing an enemy that attacks together/ambushes. This situation indicates that the player is in need of help from other teammates. However, since there is no guarantee that the teammates will be able to help, this illocutionary verb is covered under the 'request' verb, which allows for refusal.

The three examples above maintain the illocutionary verb in the role of the directive. The translation technique applied is the literal translation technique, where the translation is done word by word without changing the ST's point of view or grammatical structure. This technique does not affect the role of the illocutionary verb, resulting in the same directive purpose.

  • 3.3    Quick Chat Attack Category

The Quick Chat Attack Category consists of various offense-oriented cues of taking action to hurt or damage something. From the 10 data taken in the Quick Chat category Attack, 9 Quick Chats are listed as directive illocutionary verbs, and another one is an assertive illocutionary verb.

  • 3.3.1    Directive Illocutionary Acts of Attack Category

The three types of directive illocutionary verbs identified are order, suggest and request. As explained earlier, directive order, suggest, and request have a role in conveying messages with different purposes.

Table 3

Directive Illocutionary Verb Shifting and Translation Technique


Source Text

Target Text


Verb Shifting

Translation Technique


Kill the Charge Hero

Eliminasi hero yang menyerang

Directive (order)



Push first.

Hancurkan Turret terlebih dahulu.

Directive (suggest)



Wait for me

Tunggu saya

Directive (request)


Quick Chat 8 has the illocutionary verb 'Kill,' which has the power to order teammates to do the action. This power arises because of the conditions that cause the usage of this Quick Chat. Just as Quick Chat 6 is utilized during critical conditions, so is Quick Chat 8. This condition causes the power to arise in the illocutionary verb 'order,' where teammates inevitably have to perform the act of killing. ST and TT, in this example, maintain a sense of order. Despite the fact that this example utilizes the same modulation technique as examples 1 and 3, it does not change the role of the illocutionary verb. This persistence occurs because the modulation technique in this example only changes the verb in terms of cognitive category. The word 'Elimination' to replace 'Kill' is a euphemism that avoids using harsh words to enhance the impression of the sentence.

Quick Chat 9 has the illocutionary 'Push,' which indicates a situation where the player advises what steps to take. This Quick Chat is usually triggered when the team's condition is quite good and nothing urgent. It is just that players utter an advice to 'push' or destroy enemy turrets. Since this is not a mandatory action for teammates, this verb is categorized as suggest. This condition is compatible with the requirement for constructing an illocutionary verb 'suggest' where there is persistence. Therefore, the player continues to do the thing even though others are against or ignore it. There is no alteration in the illocutionary verb, indicated by the same power to give advice. This example employs the amplification technique to introduce details not formulated in the ST.

Quick Chat 10 has the illocutionary 'Wait,' which indicates that the speaker can be categorized as asking teammates to go together. This condition is not too critical and does not require a response from teammates. Therefore, this illocutionary verb belongs to the request category. The illocutionary verb that has been translated into 'Wait' does not result in the shift of the directive illocutionary verb function. This example uses a literal translation technique that does not change the illocutionary function of the verb.

  • 3.3.2    Assertive Illocutionary Acts of Attack Category

The last Quick Chat is number 11 which is classified as assertive illocutionary because it has a purpose only to inform. The Quick Chat is ‘I’ll Take the Buff’ which is then translated became ‘Saya ambil Buff.’ The illocutionary verb from ST is ‘will Take’ transferred into ‘ambil’ only. The illocutionary verb in TT doesn’t shift the sense of inform. However, the ‘will’ verb, which indicates the time sequence, is omitted in the TT. Therefore, it can be concluded that his illocutionary verb translation applied the reduction technique.

  • 4.    Novelties

This research discussed the translation study of the illocutionary verb under the pragmatics study of illocutionary acts. Illocutionary verbs are found in Quick Chat used by MLBB players to communicate. This study is conducted to improve the translation quality by analyzing the change of illocutionary verbs of utterances. Good translation quality can increase user satisfaction and enhance the popularity of the game. In addition, game translation studies can also support the development of the translation science of popular culture. The development of a culture that demands the development of learning is one of the encouragements in game translation study.

  • 5.    Conclusion

To sum up the analysis, there are two types of illocutionary acts and five different translation techniques applied to the illocutionary verbs in the Quick Chat of MLBB. The illocutionary acts found in the Quick Chat of MLBB are directive and assertive. The type of directive illocutionary includes request, suggest, warn, and order. The type of assertive illocutionary is inform. The Quick Chat Communication category consists of directive inform, directive suggest, and assertive inform of illocutionary. The Quick Chat Defend category consist of directive request, warn, and order. The Quick Chat Attack category consists of directive request, suggest, order, and assertive inform. The translation technique found in each illocutionary verb is transposition, literal, modulation, amplification, and reduction. The translation technique applied in the illocutionary verbs does not affect the function of the illocutionary, except for the modulation technique. This translation technique shifts the illocutionary verb directive request into assertive inform. The illocutionary verb shifting maintains the ST message in the TT but removes the element of asking and the possibility of teammates responding to the speaker. For future research, it is recommended to analyze the other part of Quick Chat including cultural

material. This acknowledgment is important in order to improve the quality of translation in Quick Chat.


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Biography of Authors

Dina Isnaeni Putriaji is a student in the English Literature study program at Universitas Negeri Surabaya, Faculty of Languages and Arts, Surabaya, Indonesia, Ph.


Email: [email protected]

Dr. Widyastuti, S.S., M.Pd. was born in Jember on June 26th, 1972. She is a lecturer in the English Department of the Faculty of Language and Arts, Universitas Negeri Surabaya. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Letters at Universitas Negeri Jember in 1995. She finished her master’s degree in the postgraduate program, magister program, linguistics studies, UNESA in 2006. Her doctorate was completed in translation studies in the Universitas Sebelas Maret, Surakarta postgraduate program in 2000. Onomastics in translation and interpersonal meanings has been her research project since 2006. She is currently the chief editor of Language Horizon Journal in UNESA.

Email: [email protected]

Scopus ID: 55899436800 / https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5380-6225