Publication details [#63934]

Kučiš, Vlasta and Simona Majhenič. 2018. Cultural and stress-related manifestations of political controversial language in the European Parliament from the view of interpreters. Babel 64 (1) : 33–62.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Translation and interpreting are not only linguistic activities, but also to a large extent primarily activities of cultural transfer. Transcultural communication displays complexity, diversity and readiness for conflict in communicative interaction, so the interpreter/translator, as an intercultural mediator, is assigned a special communicative role in this regard. This article examines how interpreters at the European Parliament deal with controversial language rendering evaluative components of political statements as well as whether there is a rise in stress-related disfluencies in the interpretation of such statements and whether intonation (dis)similarities between the source text and the interpretations occur in the context of cultural and lexical know-how. Seven excerpts from four sessions of the European Parliament in the last six years and their interpretations into Croatian, Slovene, English, French and German were analysed from the point of view of stress and culture. Deviations in pitch and intensity levels of both the speaker and the interpreters were calculated and statistically compared in the light of differing cultural know-how. The intonation results for these interpreting examples showed that all the interpreters followed the speaker’s pitch deviations to a certain extent. Analysis of politically-controversial statements also revealed that more than 80% of the interpretations selected contained stress-related disfluencies and almost 70% contained some form of discrepancy with the source text at a lexical level. The interpretations therefore largely contained fewer negative evaluative components of controversial language than the speakers in the European Parliament.