(Un)stable sources, translation and news production

Roberto A. Valdeón
University of Oviedo/University of Leuven

This article discusses the distinction stable versus unstable sources, which Hernández Guerrero has suggested in her book on news translation. It starts with a short overview of news translation as a subfield within the discipline of translation studies, emphasizing the role of translation in news production since the emergence of the journalistic profession. The next section discusses the concepts of ‘stable’ and ‘unstable’ sources, and moves on to introduce framing, a key concept in communication studies, defined as the central organizing idea that allows news consumers to make sense of events. The term will be related to the mechanisms that journalists resort to in order to produce source texts, which, in turn, can also affect the selection and de-selection processes undertaken by news producers when relying on articles published in other languages. The final sections will consider the translated economic columns of Paul Krugman, originally published in the New York Times and in Spanish by the daily El País, to reflect on the usefulness of the binary opposition stable versus unstable sources, and will show that, in some media, certain unstable texts can turn stable.

Table of contents

Over the past decade news translation has increasingly attracted the interest of translation studies researchers. Two major books, one in Spanish by Hernández Guerrero and one in English by Bielsa and Bassnett, were published in 2009. An edited collection with articles in French, English and Spanish came out the following year (Valdeón 2010). Special issues of two major translation journals have [ p. 441 ]also been devoted to news translation, namely, 11 (2) of Across Languages and Cultures (2010) and 57 (4) of Meta (2012). Additionally, researchers in Europe, North America and Asia have published their findings in major journals. The approaches and the topics covered in these publications are very diverse, ranging from ethnographic studies to translation practices and conventions.

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