konferencia fordítás konceptualizáció kognitív nyelvi világkép filológia szakdolgozat nyelvészet metafora imperative language patterns phraseology representation death linguistic worldview infinitive szecesszió grammatika főnévi igenév kettős állítmány stilizáció stíluselemzés dekorativitás decorativity nyelvi példa klasszikus modernség eufemizmus euphemistic phrases alcoholic drink irodalmi vita theory of criticism the betrayal of the intellectuals az írástudók árulása recenzió irodalomtörténet recepciótörténet irodalompolitika hungarian literature modernity classical modernism magyar irodalom modernitás cognitive analysis prevalence inflection frazéma frazeológia antonima antonímia horvát nyelv rikkancs bulvársajtó media kognitív metafora kognitív nyelvészet linguistic image of the world cognitive linguistics nyelvoktatás didaktika pszicholingvisztika tartalomelemzés croatian language antonymy irodalmi társaságok modern magyar irodalom ady endre vörösmarty díj literary organizations modern hungarian literature vörösmarty prize irodalomtudomány újraszerkesztés újrafordítás polish language metaphor szaknyelv fordítástudomány retranslation phraseme facebook proto slavic perspective ekvivalencia hatalom ideológia deontikus modalitás sajtótörténet history of press nyelvtörténet dialektológia nyelvi kép világ_nyelvi_képe szemantika nyelvi_kép conceptualization ideology magyar_nyelv nyelvhasználat faktitív ige hungarian language equivalence focalization irony családregény nézőpont fokalizáció gyermekelbeszélő irónia vonzatkutatás szövegnyelvészet nyelvjárás szerb translation tudománytörténet critical_discourse_analysis factitive verb causativity tanulmánykötet optimalizáció zenitism szabadverselés szabadstrófa horvát expresszionizmus zenitizmus önéletrajz performativitás autobiography identity performativity criseology szláv lexika orosz nyelv ősszláv historical linguistics slavic vocabulary avantgárd expresszionizmus horvát filológia nyelvhelyesség funkcióige eszmetörténet narratológia diskurzuselemzés narratology discourse analysis modern_filológiai_társaság krízeológia önéletírás életrajz asszociáció analógia szimmetria nyelvi intuíció nyelvi formalizáció russian language

Translation Studies, Power and Ideology: Text Linguistic Trends in the Analysis of Political Discourse - 3. Translation, Power and Politics
Translation Studies, Power and Ideology: Text Linguistic Trends in the Analysis of Political Discourse
1. Introduction
2. Text, Power and Ideology
3. Translation, Power and Politics
4. Critical Discourse Analysis: A Systematic Approach
5. Conclusions
Minden oldal

3. Translation, Power and Politics

In recent years, more precisely after the ‘cultural turn’ of the early 1990s (Dimitriu 2002:2, Hatim and Munday 2004:313), Translation Studies has shown intense interest in analysing the translation of political texts and the power relations involved in the translation of such texts. The main research areas in this field include the following research directions, represented by the scholars appearing in parentheses below:

(1) diverse purpose cross sections of discourse analysis, translation studies and politics (Hatim and Mason 1990, Chilton and Schäffner 2002, Schäffner 2004);

(2) the analysis of the social, cultural, ideological and political contexts of source and target texts and cultures (Pym 1992, Pym 2000, Schäffner 2003);

(3) text typology and textual functions of source and target language texts (Nord 1997, Trosborg 1997);

(4) the role of translators as intercultural agents or cultural mediators (Venuti 1992, Katan 1999);

(5) translators being potential points of conflict during their work (Tymoczko and Gentzler 2002, Tymoczko 2003);

(6) translators’ purposeful manipulation of target texts and translators’ textual choices reflecting ideological and/or political commitment (Alvarez and Vidal 1996, Baker 2006); and, very recently,

(7) translators’ political activism and social activism as part of their professional work (Baker 2007).

Apart from the field dealing with the cross section of discourse analysis and translation studies, most of the above approaches, however, do not use specific text linguistic approaches to support their text-related claims. Nor do some of them use textual evidence quoted from the texts under scrutiny through pinpointing textual differences between source and target language texts as part of their respective research methodology and analysis. Such approaches and their results often seem unconvincing, methodologically inappropriate and ad hoc: if there is no systematised methodology or a theoretically well-grounded foundation of analysis, or if analysts pick a few expressions of their choice from the source and target texts and add some subjective personal comments as explanation, the resulting analysis cannot be deemed valid or reliable as it lacks a clear methodology, an underlying theory and sufficient objectivity.

Not denying the merits of any of these approaches, I often find that some of the resulting data are based on explanatory details and contexts rather than hard textual data. Text linguistic approaches, however, are able to provide such hard data. Below, I will to briefly present the ways in which text linguistic approaches surface in the study of political texts within Translation Studies and present-day critical linguistics.



3.1. Translation Studies oriented Text Linguistic Trends in the Study of Political Discourse

Text linguistics offers several approaches to the analysis of political discourse and the translation of political discourse. Research relevant to Translation Studies in this field may be categorised into two distinct groups. While the first group comprises cultural and social psychological approaches, which perceive translation primarily as cultural mediation, the second group of studies embodies (psycholinguistic) text-centred approaches, which (a) examine source and target language texts from the point of view of text production (composing texts), or (b) deal with source and target language texts as linguistic products and the linguistic qualities of the texts composed as well as focus on the understanding and interpretation of political texts and the effects such texts have on their receivers (i.e. the ways readers interpret texts and the ways such texts influence them). In the next sections, a short summary of these two research areas and their major contributors will be presented.


3.1.1. Cultural and Social Psychological Approaches

The first group of approaches to political discourse, i.e. the cultural and social psychological approaches of relevance for the present study include the following research fields:

(a) the analysis of the strategies of text production (Chilton and Schäffner 1997, Schäffner and Adab 2001, Baker 2006);

(b) the interpretation of context, i.e. the effects of social and sociocultural factors on actual texts produced (van Dijk 1997, Munday 2007);

(c) the ideologies of given societies and the surfacing of such ideologies in texts (Tymoczko 2000, van Dijk 2002, van Dijk 2006);

(d) theories that deal with implicitly surfacing evaluative beliefs (van Dijk 1997, Schäffner and Kelly-Holmes 1996, Wodak and van Dijk 2000) and

(e) the interrelation of all the above research fields with the media industry (Fairclough and Wodak 1997, Bell and Garrett 1998).

As the above analyses focus primarily on culture and society and provide an account of how these features influence text production, they are methodologically relevant for the present study. I will return to those of the above approaches that have been used in Translation Studies in Section 1.3.2 in more detail.


3.1.2. Text-centred Approaches

The second group of text linguistic approaches to political discourse, the so-called text-centred approaches is an umbrella term I use for various research perspectives. They include the following areas:

(a) pragmatic-oriented approaches, in the scope of which text is viewed as the interaction of communication partners (Álvarez and Vidal 1996, Chilton and Schäffner 1997, Hatim and Mason 1997, Gutt 1998, Baker 2006),

(b) the research of quasi-correct text production (hybrid texts) evolving as a result of cultural and political differences in the source and target cultures (Schäffner and Adab 2001), hedges in the translation of political texts (Schäffner 1998) as well as

(c) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), a further development of critical linguistics (Kárpáti 2007). CDA is practically an offshoot of earlier research in the field of the above-mentioned pragmatic-oriented approach and views communication as a battlefield of conflicting powers and ideologies taking place in the form of social interaction (van Dijk 1985, Kress 1985, Seidel 1985, van Dijk 1993, van Dijk 1997, Fairclough and Wodak 1997, van Dijk 2001, van Dijk 2003, van Dijk 2006, Valdeón 2007, Chan 2007).

Text-centred approaches strive to provide a more meticulous picture of the interrelation of cultural, societal and social features surfacing in texts than cultural and social psychological approaches do and, as a consequence, they are relevant for the purpose of the present study. I will return to those text-centred approaches that have been used in Translation Studies in Section 1.3.2 in more detail.


3.2. Research on the Translation of Political Discourse

After having reviewed the relevant text linguistic approaches to political discourse, this section will introduce political discourse oriented translation research. In Translation Studies such discourse is often termed discourse in situations of conflict. In my interpretation, translation research involving political discourse can be classified into seven distinct groups as far as research topics are concerned. These seven topics, research fields and their representatives are the following:

  1. Translators’ professional roles and politics: Palmer (2007), Dragovic-Drouet’s (2007), Gagnon (2006);
  2. Translators acting as mediators in situations of political conflict: Tang (2007), Calzada Pérez (2007);
  3. Translators’ professional responsibilities and the strategies they apply: Maier (2007), Schäffner (1998);
  4. The inference of translators’ own historical, social and cultural backgrounds: Kuhiwczak (2007), Nikolaou (2007);
  5. Manipulation in the translation of different text types: Foster (2007), Williams (2007), Chadwick (2007), Baker’s (2006);
  6. Critical discourse awareness in translation: Valdeón (2007), Chan (2007), Schäffner (2004).

Below, I will introduce these current research areas and summarise their main findings. By doing so, I will demonstrate how varied and how diverse these approaches are and will argue that it is nearly impossible to compare research results and findings. Depending on the nature of the research in question and on the theme of politics involved, diverse researchers apply a very wide range of research tools, which makes the advances of translation research on politics very difficult to compare and systematise.


3.2.1. Translators’ Professional Roles

With the internationalisation of politics, translators’ professional roles and divided loyalties have been foregrounded by Translation Studies. Palmer (2007) deals with the different roles Iraqi people working for Western media assume and the political commitment-induced conflicting loyalties such a situation poses to these translators. Relying on Wadensjö’s (1998) Conduit Theory, Palmer (2007) traces media reporters’ and translators’ roles in the flow of information about the Iraqi situation of conflict and concludes that, even if such translators are trusted by Western media people working in the area, misinformation may happen as a result of (1) translators’ providing summaries rather than word-by-word translations, (2) omissions of textual material considered irrelevant by the translator, (3) journalists’ linguistic inability to mingle in the local community and the resulting incapacity to understand the local culture, and finally (4) as a result of translators’ biased social embeddedness, social status and non-neutral contacts in the local community in question. Palmer (2007) considers different cultural and political backgrounds as a potential source of conflicting political orientations in source and target texts.

Dragovic-Drouet’s (2007) starting point in her discussion of translations related to the Yugoslavian conflict is neutrality as interpreted by Seleskovitch (1983) as well as the Newmarkian (1989) criteria of moral and factual truth. Through a textual analysis of source and target language texts of the Yugoslavian conflict, Dragovic-Drouet (2007) aims to prove that the above-mentioned professional standards are oftentimes not observed by translators and that translators may resort to censoring or modifying texts should they perceive that, in their judgement, primary text producers (reporters, media personnel, etc.) show unwanted embeddedness (cultural bias), which results in unfair communication. Turning to translation methodology, Dragovic-Drouet (2007) claims that translator training should develop future translators’ ability of coping with situations of conflict both linguistically and in terms of terminology management. This study reveals that translators can potentially manipulate texts politically and also sheds light on the issue of awareness-raising in connection with the translation of political texts.

Gagnon (2006) describes the ways official translations are produced in Canada by the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office, the Parliament and other government institutions and explores how such translations are received. With reference to the status of originals and translations, Gagnon (2006), discussing the hybridity of target texts (texts showing unusual, strange textual features in the target culture as a result of conscious, deliberate translator decisions), concludes that translations have a lower status than originals in Canada. In terms of the adaptation of texts and the reception of French and English parallel texts, Gagnon (2006), relying on textual analysis performed by way of Fairclough’s (1989) Critical Discourse Analysis Model, claims that the way translations are done, i.e. what institutional translation strategies are applied, are decided by the audience to be convinced. This signals that the actual ideological aims will determine the translation strategies applied. This points towards the assumption that “French- and English-Canadian cultures do not often meet in translated federal speeches” (Gagnon 2006: 84), which is contrary to the expectations of a homogeneous Canadian nation. This seems to indicate that it is almost impossible (and probably at some points not even desired) to produce politically equivalent texts even in the case of bilingual countries, let alone other, more diverse political contexts.

The studies described above illustrate that the analysis of the translation of political texts must definitely extend to the contemporary national and/or international contexts the text under scrutiny have been created in.


3.2.2. Translators Acting as Mediators in Situations of Political Conflict

As politics is becoming an increasingly international activity, translators often find themselves in the role of mediators in political conflict. Tang (2007) focuses on cross-cultural conflicts surfacing as either cultural, social or ideological conflicts. Tang (2007), on the basis of LeBaron’s (2003) Theory of Cultural Conflicts, argues that cross-cultural conflicts can be subdivided into soft and hard conflicts on the basis of their scope, i.e. suppression or open voicing of conflict by the society (societies) involved. With reference to translation from English into Chinese and vice versa, Tang (2007) sees translators “sandwiched between Chinese and Western cultures” (Tang 2007: 139), and, through the culturally contextualised close reading of the English translation of Chinese texts, concludes that translators actually tend to eliminate soft conflicts. Given this, Tang (2007) calls for translators’ sensitisation for enabling them to cope with hard conflicts on an international scale in a more effective manner. This suggests that awareness-raising should be a component of translation training.

Calzada Pérez (2007) explores translators’ roles in situations of conflict and urges that translators tackle situations of conflicts rather than avoid them. The starting point of the discussion is that advertising is in fact a “site of ideological conflict(s)” (Calzada Pérez 2007:  149), and that advertisements can cause or settle conflicts. In this context, translators, relying on their cross-cultural skills, abilities and strategies, may become “ideal conflict mediators” (Calzada Pérez 2007: 149). Relying on Cronin’s (2003) categorisation of censorship and zero translation, and connecting this categorisation with possible translation strategies, Calzada Pérez (2007) concludes that translators, acting as text producers, may easily reach acceptable points of settling problems through “focusing on consensus” (Calzada Pérez 2007: 156), or can modify disagreements to “achieve long-lasting benefits” (Calzada Pérez 2007: 156). This suggests that translators can also interfere in politics.

The studies presented above show that the translators of political texts are often in the frontline: the way they translate texts will influence the reception of their translations and the political events associated with the texts in question. Therefore, the analysis of political texts by researchers must extend to the reception and, if possible, the political events closely connected to the translated texts in question.


3.2.3. Translators’ Professional Responsibilities and Strategies

The professional responsibilities translators take and the strategies they apply when translating political texts have also been researched within Translation Studies. In connection with professional responsibilities, Maier (2007) claims that even if translators have recently acquired a higher status in terms of their usefulness and visibility as compared to earlier times, they concurrently fail to recognise the need to discuss their responsibilities and to learn to account for their work in situations of conflict. In Maier’s (2007) interpretation, translators can act as intersections between two opposing sides or can function as points of resistance and conflict. Maier (2007) claims that even today some translators are insensitive to perceiving situations of conflict and argues that translators actually face internal conflicts when exposed to translating texts of situations of conflict. In addition, Maier (2007) calls for an exploration and a deeper understanding of the diverse situations of conflict today’s translators might encounter during their work, which designates a further field of (possibly job ethical) research. In this respect, Maier’s (2007) study touches upon the relationship between job ethics and the translation of political texts as reflected by target texts.

Schäffner (1998) explores different types of hedges in European political discourse. Relying on Lakoff’s (1973) definition, Schäffner (1998) defines hedges as words whose meaning involves “vagueness, indeterminateness” (Schäffner 1998: 185) with reference to the phrase they modify. Schäffner (1998) establishes five types of hedges: evidentiality hedges such as I think, it seems, which refer to the speaker’s degree of commitment to the truth expressed in a text; modifying hedges such as fairly, too, typical, which “shift the scope of indeterminateness of the utterances” (Schäffner 1998: 191); quantifying hedges such as in every respect, in some respect, which “relate to characteristics of the whole scope of precision” (Schäffner 1998: 191); descpecifying hedges such as kind of, roughly, which “extend the scope of indeterminateness” (Schäffner 1998: 192); and specifying hedges such as real, genuine, true, exactly, which “narrow down the scope of indeterminateness of a concept or a proposition” (Schäffner 1998: 193).

Based on comparative pragmatic textual analysis, Schäffner (1998) concludes that source text hedges can be rendered as the same type of hedges in the target language, as different type of hedges causing shifts in the target text, can be deleted and even new hedges can be added in the target text. Politically contextualising the examples, Schäffner (1998) explains the effects such hedges have on the receivers of the translated texts. Schäffner (1998) concludes by noting the semantic and pragmatic problems hedges can cause to translators and calls for a more systematic description of hedging devices. This suggests that microlevel textual features must be taken into consideration in the analysis of the translation of political texts.

The above studies show that text research must extend to the realisations of certain recurrent translation strategies surfacing in translated political texts as conclusions established on the basis of one-off or non-contextualised microtextual instances may give misleading research results.


3.2.4. The Inference of Translators’ own Historical and Cultural Backgrounds

Translators’ historical and cultural backgrounds can also interfere with the translation of political texts. Translators’ historical and cultural backgrounds shape readers’ understanding of, and attitude to, historical events through translators’ interpretation of events surfacing in target texts. Kuhiwczak (2007) attempts to show how, during the transition from oral to written Holocaust history, the translation of originally non-English oral sources into written English historical records published as English translations, altered the nature and tone of such primary historical sources. Kuhiwczak (2007) goes as far as theoretically questioning whether translation, at a universal scale, is capable of (precisely) communicating others’ thoughts. This suggests that translators’ interpretation of the texts for translation play a crucial role in the finalised target text.

Nikolaou (2007), with the help of a comparative textual analysis, examines how Christopher Logue’s own personality and his life experiences contributed to his creative translation of Homer’s Iliad. Nikolaou claims that, as an artefact, Logue’s own literary piece, War Music is in fact the result of the act of translating Iliad and that Logue’s views of the situations of conflicts of Iliad evolve through a hermeneutical dialogue between the text to be translated and the translator. Interpretation, it seems, plays a vital role in the translation of political texts.

In the light of the above, any reliable and valid textual analysis must allow for the exploration of the translators’ own political commitment and political attitudes as traceable in the translated text.


3.2.5. Manipulation in the Translation of Literary Texts and Other Text Types

Manipulation in the translation of political texts has developed into a prolific research area. Williams (2007) describes 19th century contemporary German-English national rivalry and compares the biographical details of Wordsworth and his German translator, Freiligrath to reveal textual realisations of such rivalry. Apart from the analysis of Freiligrath’s translational practice (i.e. the translation of poems, including metre, imagery, etc.), Williams (2007) investigates Freiligrath’s selection procedure of choosing Wordsworth’s politically-charged poems for translation, and the effects contemporary German-English national rivalry and hostility had on the German reception of Wordsworth’s poetry. It is concluded that interpretation in only possible in the light of contemporary historical and cultural contexts.

In what follows, I will describe Baker’s (2006) approach to the translation of discourse of conflict in a more detailed way as Baker in Translation and Conflict (2006) provides an integrative, fully developed framework for the analysis of political discourse. Such a description can serve as a potential model for the description of the features translated political texts display. As we will see, Baker (2006) restricts her approach to narratives only and does not rely very heavily on text linguistic findings. Baker’s (2006) approach is multidisciplinary in nature and is based on several theories.

Baker’s (2006) starting point is the premise that political conflicts and the resolution of such conflicts in today’s globalised world, as a rule, stretch over national boundaries and thus inevitably involve translation and interpretation activities. According to Baker (2006), power is present exclusively in situations in which a party or parties are forced to act contrary to their wills and interests. Conflicts, Baker (2006: 1) asserts, come about when parties of opposing interests intend to “undermine each other because they have incompatible goals, competing interests, or fundamentally different values”.

By integrating theories of translators’ attitudes towards consenting to or denying the reproduction of ideologies contained in narratives for translation, theories of the conscious perception of texts’ ideological content as well as theories concerning the assessment of the effectiveness of such narratives, Baker (2006) demonstrates that translation itself can either function as a tool in the hands of politics by creating one single truth and enforcing a given social and political order on citizens or, quite the contrary, can be used as a tool for fighting against such manipulation and corruption of texts.

Baker (2006) intends to provide a framework for exploring how translators and interpreters, through text production, contribute to or resist the creation and promotion of politically-charged narratives. By adopting a standpoint assumed in social and communication theory, Baker (2006: 3) defines narrative (or story) as a linguistic realisation of sequential events of “everyday stories we live by” and later, relying on Fisher’s (1987) claim of all human communication essentially being a narrative, extends her definition to incorporate practically every type of discourse. This broad definition allows for the investigation of several genres of discourse, broadcast by a very diverse range of media.

As far as the possibilities for manipulating narratives in the translation process are concerned, Baker (2006) depicts temporality, relationality, causal emplotment and selective appropriation as factors affecting the reception of narratives. Such instances of manipulation are common in mediatised communication and in translations transmitted by the mass media. Below Baker’s (2006) concepts will be explored in more detail.

Not necessarily portraying a true-to-life sequencing of events, temporality is the subjective, person-specific interpretation and ordering of the sequences of events contained in a narrative, created through an individual’s perception of such events. It is temporality of narratives that allows translators to interpret the textual material and logical implications contained in the text. Altering the sequencing of events, e.g. as a result of translation, can have different implications in the target language text from those surfacing in the source text.

Relationality refers to the interrelatedness of events within a narrative: events have to constitute one single narrative. Furthermore, every event of a certain narrative must be interpreted in the light of other events of the given narrative as a whole. Translation is of key importance here as, for instance, the choice of certain lexical items in the target language text can trigger associations of certain narratives that are possibly different from the narrative associations of the source language community. This feature seems easy to be utilised for political reasons (e.g. for war propaganda) in case well-selected lexis is used that evokes references to well-established public narratives of political agendas.

Carrying also ethical implications, causal emplotment entails the significance of events in narratives, and is connected to the fact that narratives do not merely list events but “weight and explain” them (Baker 2006: 67) in terms of the interpretation and evaluation of events, motifs, etc., thus providing a moral reading of the narrative. Through translation, the weighting of events can be changed to produce deliberately altered patterns of causal emplotment in the target language text.

The last factor in Baker’s (2006) theory affecting the reception of narratives, selective appropriation, denotes the conscious or subconscious processes during the creation of a narrative through which certain events get included whereas others get excluded from the final version of the narrative. This, in the large scale, in terms of translation, extends to the choices of what narratives of the source culture (i.e. narratives about which events) get translated. This selection in the hands of politics, might easily contribute to the creation of false images or, in worse cases, to the creation of enemy cultures through acts of deliberate appropriation, i.e. purposeful selection of events along certain ideologies or political purposes (c.f. selective appropriation above). Baker’s (2006) approach is revealing and exemplary in a way that is shows that power, ideology and politics related translation research must be multidisciplinary and based on interrelated theories.

With a view to the reception of narratives, Baker (2006) identifies translation as an act involving possible alterations in the resulting target text with the intention of renegotiating the features of a given narrative “to produce a politically charged narrative in the target context” (Baker 2006:105) as a means of constructing a modified, influenced reality for receptors through “strategic moves that are consciously initiated in order to present a [social, political or other] movement or a particular position within a certain perspective” (Baker 2006:106). Baker (2006) terms this practice framing.

Baker (2006) explores four different ways of framing selecting from among the endless methods available and describes the potential uses of such means in translation. The first method of framing is termed temporal and spatial framing and involves no alterations in the text for translation itself but achieves its effect by the careful selection of a suitable text for translation and by embedding such a text “in a temporal and spatial context that accentuates the narrative it depicts and encourages receptors to establish links between it and current narratives” (Baker 2006: 112). This practice is capable of exerting political influence despite the fact that the events of the narrative of the source text may actually be contained within an absolutely different temporal and spatial setting.

An especially common way of framing that appears in connection with the translation of literary pieces is selective appropriation of textual material, which also has possible political implications. In this case, omissions from or additions to the original text are effected in order to “suppress, accentuate or elaborate particular aspects of a narrative encoded in the source text or utterance, or aspects of the larger narrative(s) in which it [the given narrative] is embedded” (Baker 2006: 114). This act can happen either consciously or unconsciously and may well serve political purposes.

Another way of framing is by labelling. Labelling in this context denotes the practice of using “a lexical item, term or phrase to identify a person, place, group, event or any other key element in a narrative” (Baker 2006: 122), given that such names embody particular viewpoints, beliefs or political commitments of a community. The fourth method of framing is termed repositioning of participants. This denotes rearranging the hierarchical positions of the characters of the narrative and the receptors of the narrative through altering partly the socio-linguistic features of the participants’ speech and partly other features used for such participants’ identification and characterisation in a linguistic sense. This also creates space for political manipulation through translation.

As a summary, it can thus be concluded that Baker’s (2006) theoretical framework takes account of several contextual and intertextual features as well as discusses several instances and means of (possible) political manipulation but does not rely on theories to pinpoint exact textual realisations of such instances of manipulation. Baker rather explains these phenomena in their social, cultural and political context. I am of the opinion that for the sake of objectivity the analysis of political manipulation in translated texts must include the pinpointing of textual elements capable of manipulation, rather than providing solely the social, cultural and political contexts of these texts as a mere backdrop.

Schäffner (2001), in the context of international translation practice, explores the ways hybrid texts come about through the translation process. Hybrid texts are the result of conscious, deliberate decisions on the part of the translator, which show unusual, strange textual features in the target culture and yet fulfil their intended purpose in the communicative situation in which they exist. The reason for this strangeness of the target text is that the genre of the source text does not exist in the target culture and, consequently, there are no model texts that could guide translators. With reference to political discourse, Schäffner (2001) notes that one reason why hybrid texts can come about is globalisation, as internationalisation potentially facilitates the dissemination of source genres in target language cultures. Through the use of contrastive textual analyses, it is concluded that hybrid texts often display textual features that clash with the existing norms in the target language. This could possibly allow for the introduction of socially unaccepted/unacceptable concepts in the target culture and thus play a role in power games and political persuasion.

Based on the studies detailed above, it can be concluded that translation can purposefully be used for political manipulation. With a view to this, the analysis of any translated text must extend to contemporary social, cultural, political and ideological features.


3.2.6. Critical Discourse Awareness in Translation

Critical discourse awareness also surfaces in Translation Studies. Critical discourse awareness in the field of translation research was motivated by the internationalisation of politics, which resulted in an increased number of translated political texts, including translations for the mass media. Once it has been noted and proven that source and target texts are not always equivalent in a political sense, and that target texts may be designed to realise partly different communication aims from those of the source text, a growing concern started to surround the translation of political texts.

Related text linguistic research aimed to point out textually where and in what ways source and target language political texts were not equivalent. The ensuing ethical, political and professional need to critically relate to translated texts, translation activities and the effects of translation activities have given rise to numerous critical approaches.

Relying on the theories of the best-known and best-established scholars of Critical Discourse Analysis and ideology (Fairclough [1989, 1995], van Dijk [1990, 2003]) as well as of media discourse analysis (Bell [1991, 1998], Schelesinger and Lumley [1985]), Valdeón (2007) compares written news reports and their translations. With ideology interpreted in this context as “a set of assumptions accepted by the participant in a given stretch of discourse” (Valdeón 2007: 101), with respect to media text producers, two types of mediation are distinguished by Valdeón: positive mediation, i.e. neutrality of text producers towards their subject and negative mediation, i.e. “importing external agendas that might stem from their [the text producers’] own ideological background” (Valdeón 2007: 103). Valdeón (2007), with reference to Baker’s (1992) classification of non-equivalence at word level, examines the use and meaning of the lexical items of “terrorist” and “separatist” as well as their (alleged) equivalents. The conclusion of the discussion is that translations produced both for BBC and CNN on the Madrid terrorist attack in 2005 do not seem to “operate in the interest of the target culture, quite the contrary, they operate in their own interest, whether that is understood as personal, editorial or national” (Valdeón 2007: 116). Consequently, (Valdeón 2007) using Baker’s (1992) taxonomy, manages to reveal instances of word-level manipulation.

Chan (2007) compares the two Chinese versions of Hillary Clinton’s Living History published by Chinese publishers China Times and Yilin Press. Chan (2007) contextualises the two Chinese versions in the different receiving Chinese cultures and, with the help of close reading, reveals numerous differences between the two translations. The differences between the source text and the two different translations in terms of the Chinese title of the work, certain textual omissions and shifts are due to market considerations as well as the influence of Chinese censorship activities. Chan’s (2007) study is a good example of the need to account for textual features in the backdrop of the receiving culture in the case of political texts.

Schäffner (2004) in the framework of a theoretical proposal urges the closer cooperation of political discourse analysis (PDA) and Translation Studies. PDA explores the link between linguistic behaviour and politics in the fields of pragmatics, semantics and syntax and tries to explain in what ways such linguistic choices contribute to political persuasion (c.f. Chilton and Schäffner 1997). Schäffner (2004) reviews the most common research areas in Translation Studies with reference to political texts and establishes the following themes as possible joint research areas of PDA and Translation Studies: research of lexical choice in the target text in comparison with that of the source text, the practice of selecting information to translate, creating new political identities by phrasing and framing (influencing readers to associate certain phrases with given social and ideological contexts). Through examples, it is demonstrated that all of these translational practices can be used for manipulative purposes, thus sensitivity to such features is very crucial in the field of the translation of political texts.

In the same study, Schäffner (2004) calls for a systematic approach to the research of the translation of political texts and urges the following:

1) the status (overt or covert translation) and the general practice of translation be established before effecting any kind of analysis,

2) translated texts under scrutiny be published in the original languages not only in English for the sake of clarity,

3) mistranslations or instances of translation losses be analysed in their social-political context so that such shifts can possibly reveal ideological structures and

4) that the entire translation process, not only the end-product, be reviewed for analysis.

Schäffner (2004), relying on the findings of PDA and with a view to the political strategic functions of political discourse established by PDA, discusses the following four political strategies translation can serve when it comes to the rendering of political texts: coercion, resistance, dissimulation as well as legitimisation and delegitimisation. Putting this in perspective, the following is claimed: translation can be used as a means of controlling access to information by carefully selecting texts for translation (coercion). Translators can take an active role and select texts for translation and, by making such texts available to the public, they can make other voices heard (resistance). On the other hand, another manipulative translation strategy in the hands of those commissioning translations could be either disallowing certain texts to be translated, purposefully commissioning only certain extracts of given texts to be translated or deliberately publishing inaccurate translations, collectively termed dissimulation. All of these strategies can prevent persons from receiving information through translation. Finally, positive self-presentation and negative presentation of others can be effected by the fourth type of translation strategy termed legitimisation and delegitimisation. Schäffner (2004) envisages the cooperation of PDA and Translation Studies in the research of the translation strategies described above.

With reference to critical discourse awareness in translation, it can be established that this approach emphasises that word-level equivalence should be interpreted in the context of the ideologies of the source and target cultures, lexical choice in target texts should be studied with a view to the receiving culture, the practice of selecting information to translate should be assessed with a view to the dominant ideologies of the source and target cultures and the creation of new political identities through phrasing and framing should be interpreted to in the context of the target culture. The studies demonstrate that critical approaches to the translation of political texts must extend to word-level manipulation, to the comparison of cultural aspects as well as to the linguistic choices (possibly) responsible for political manipulation.