This article investigates the role of translation and interpreting in political discourse. It illustrates discursive events in the domain of politics and the resulting discourse types, such as jointly produced texts, press conferences and speeches. It shows that methods of Critical Discourse Analysis can be used effectively to reveal translation and interpreting strategies as well as transformations that occur in recontextualisation processes across languages, cultures, and discourse domains, in particular recontextualisation in mass media. It argues that the complexity of translational activities in the field of politics has not yet seen sufficient attention within Translation Studies. The article concludes by outlining a research programme for investigating political discourse in translation.
Since 2011, the European Union has been experiencing an economic and financial crisis. At a series of meetings, EU politicians have discussed potential solutions and have proposed rescue packages. Their debates have led to the drafting and/ or signing of agreements, treaty amendments, fiscal compacts and other kinds of policy documents. Politicians regularly comment on their decisions, for example in debates in their own national parliaments, in speeches to their own citizens, or at press conferences to representatives of the national or international mass media. The mass media play a significant role in communicating politics to the general public, by reporting about political events, by interviewing politicians, by broadcasting press conferences on TV, etc. An illustrative example in the context of the EU’s financial crisis is a bilateral meeting of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, held on 16 August 2011 in [ p. 104 ]Paris. One of the outcomes of this meeting was a joint letter addressed to Herman van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, in which they outlined proposals for a system of economic governance. The two politicians also gave a joint press conference, at which they presented their proposal and answered journalists’ questions. TV and radio channels as well as news agencies reported this meeting on the same day, with subsequent articles published by the mass media during the days following.
2006Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. New York and London: Routledge.
Baumgarten, Stefan and Chantal Gagnon
2005 “Written Political Discourse in Translation. A Critical Discourse-Perspective on Mein Kampf”. Wolfgang Thiele, Joachim Schwend and Christian Todenhagen, eds. Political Discourse: Different Media—Different Intentions—New Reflections. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2005. 11–32. [Linguistik Band 34].
2006 “Critical discourse analysis of political press conferences”. Discourse & Society 17:2–173–203.
Bielsa, Esperança and Susan Bassnett
2009Translation in Global News. London and New York: Routledge.
2005Discourse and Power in a Multilingual World. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 15].
Boéri, Julie and Carol Maier
eds2010Compromiso Social y Traducción/Interpretación—Translation/Interpreting and Social Activism. Granada: ECOS.
2006Language and Globalization. London: Routledge.
2010 “When text and translation production meet: Translation in the Prime Minister’s Office”. Christina Schäffner and Susan Bassnett, eds. Political Discourse, Media and Translation. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. 164–177.
2010 “Explicitating Political Discourse”. Christina Schäffner and Susan Bassnett, eds. Political Discourse, Media and Translation. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 94–115.
2006 “Language(s) in the global news: Translation, audience design and discourse (mis)representation”. Target 18:2. 229–259.
ed2010European Parliaments under Scrutiny. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, 38].
2007 “Recontextualization of news discourse: A case study of translation of news discourse on North Korea”. The Translator 13:2. 219–242.
2000 “Institutional Illusions: Translating in the EU Commission”. The Translator 6:1. 49–65.
2008Translating Institutions: An ethnographic study of EU translation. Manchester: St Jerome.
2010Editorials and the Power of Media. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, 35].
2009 “Intertextuality and national identity: discourse of national conflicts in daily newspapers in the United States and China”. Discourse & Society 20:1. 85–121.
2010 “Investigating translators’s strategies in rendering ideological conflict: The case of news translation”. Christina Schäffner and Susan Bassnett, eds. Political Discourse, Media and Translation. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 55–75.
1990 “Translating Institution and ‘Idiomatic’ Translations”. Meta 35:2. 342–354.
Okulska, Urszula and Piotr Cap
eds2010Perspectives in Politics and Discourse, Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, 36].
2011 “Neutralism revisited: When journalists set new rules in political news discourse”. Mats Ekström and Marianna Patrona, eds. Talking Politics in Broadcast Media. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2011 [Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, 42].
Rundle, Christopher and Kate Sturge
2010 eds. Translation under Fascism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
2010 “Political communication: Mediated by Translation”. Urszula Okulska and Piotr Cap, eds. Perspectives in Politics and Discourse, Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 255–278. [Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture, 36].
2012 “Press conferences and recontextualisation”. Alonso Araguas Iciar, Jesus Baigorri Jalon and Helen L. Campbell, eds. Ensayos Sobre Traduccion Juridica e Institucional, Granada: Comares. 69–83.