English as a lingua franca and translation

Juliane House

Table of contents

One of the most influential developments in the worldwide use of languages today is the spread of English in many contexts and genres worldwide. This situation also has consequences for translation. A recent breakdown by source languages presented by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) (2009) shows that as many as 72.5% of source texts translated by the DGT (including those originating outside the Commission) were drafted in English, not by native speakers of English, but by speakers of English as a lingua franca (ELF). What this surge in ELF texts means for translation and for translators is a field of inquiry that is as yet rarely taken up (for an exception see Taviano 2010). But let us first look at what ELF actually is.

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