Minority languages and translation

Albert Branchadell
Table of contents

Any discussion of minority languages and translation must begin with a suitable definition of “minority language”. Since Translation Studies has not provided a definition of its own, we must rely on definitions forged in other fields. A quite operative definition, sociolinguistic in origin, is the one enshrined in the single international treaty devoted to the protection of minority languages, namely the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. According to the Charter, “regional or minority languages” means languages that are both (i) traditionally used within a given territory of a state by nationals of that state who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the state’s population and (ii) different from the official language(s) of that state, on the understanding that such definition (iii) does not include either dialects of the official language(s) of the state or the languages of migrants. According to this definition, the term “minority language” is not to be confused with “minor language”, as it is used (for instance) in the journal MTM. Minor Translating Major – Major Translating Minor – Minor Translating Minor.

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Further reading

Millán-Varela, Carmen
2000“Translation, Normalisation and Identity in Galicia(n).” Target 12 (2): 267–82. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
O’Connell, Eithne
2000Minority Language Dubbing for Children. Unpublished doctoral thesis Dublin: DCU = O’Connell, Eithne 2003 Minority Language Dubbing for Children: Screen Translation from German into Irish. Berlin: Peter Lang.  TSBGoogle Scholar
2007“Translation and Minority Language Media – Potential and Problems: An Irish Perspective.” In Minority Language Media. Concepts, Critiques and Case Studies, Mike Cormack & Niamh Hourigan (eds), 212–28. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Pattanaik, Diptiranjan
2000“The Power of Translation: A Survey of Translation in Orissa.” In Changing the Terms: Translating in the Postcolonial Era, Sherry Simon & Paul St-Pierre (eds), 71–86. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.  TSBGoogle Scholar
Zabaleta, Jesus M
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