Headlining in Translation: English vs. Greek Press

Maria Sidiropoulou
The University of Athens, Greece


A hundred translated article headlines appearing in the Greek press are contrasted to their originals in the English press. The cognitive, cultural and social constraints on headline formation observed relate to a higher degree of directness associated with the Greek version of the corpus, on the one hand, and differences with respect to 'thematic ' preferences, on the other. The quantity and quality of information to be included in the schematic category Headline, in Greek, differs: the quantity of information relates to the genre the article belongs to and the difference in quality is a result of a different 'macro-rule' application.

Table of contents

The notion of 'equivalence of intended effects' (Hatim and Mason 1990: 7) seems to be taken seriously in translating titles and headlines. In fact, as Toury argues (1980: 102), the formal/functional opposition in translation theory should be supplemented by another opposition relevant to the operations carried out by the translator: whether these operations are based on an a priori dictate—or on genuine considerations. Translating book titles, for instance, may involve a priori decisions concerning the function of the whole text or parts of it: a series of 'mystery' books have been presented to the Israeli reader [ p. 286 ]as detective novels and this "attribution of the Hebrew versions to the detective genre, whether their counterparts in the source literatures also belong to it or not, brings forth . . . decisions as to the 'appropriate' Hebrew titles of individual works, which annul any necessity of 'genuine' consideration" (Toury 1980: 103). This concerns not only the actual generic identity of each book but also the functions of the books' titles with regard to the books themselves as textual wholes.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.


Brown, Penelope and Stephen Levinson
1987Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Crystal, David and Derek Davy
1969Investigating English Style. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Duszak, Anna
1991 “Schematic and Topical Categories in News Story Reconstruction”. Text 11:4.503–522. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Hatim, Basil
1991 “The Pragmatics of Argumentation in Arabic”. Text 11:2. 189–199. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Hatim, Basil and Ian Mason
1990Discourse and the Translator. London: Longman. [Language in Social Life.]Google Scholar
Roeh, Itzhak and Raphael Nir
1990 “Speech Presentation in the Israel Radio News: Ideological Constraints and Rhetorical Strategies”. Text 10:3. 225–244. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Sidiropoulou, Maria
1993a “Thematic Organization in Translation”. Proceedings, 7th International Symposium on English and Greek. School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki 1993 94–109.Google Scholar
1993b “Effectiveness and Efficiency in Translating Modern Greek Literature: The Pragmatic Dimension”. Proceedings, Symposium on the Translation of Modern Greek Literature into English. European Cultural Centre of Delphi. (Sept. 1–5). (to appear)Google Scholar
1995 “Abstract Writing: English-speaking Countries vs. Greece”. Meta 40. 3ff.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1980In Search of a Theory of Translation. Tel Aviv: The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics, Tel Aviv University.Google Scholar
van Dijk, Teun A.
1985 “Structures of News in the Press”. T.A. van Dijk, ed. Discourse and Communication. Berlin: de Gruyter 1985 69–93.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
1988aNews as Discourse. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
1988bNews Analysis: Case Studies of International and National News in the Press. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Vuohelainen, Lauri
1978 “English and Finnish Booktitles”. Kari Sajavaara, Jaakko Lehtonen and Raija Markkanen, eds. Further Contrastive Papers. University of Jyväskylä 1978 123–132. [Jyväskylä Contrastive Studies, 6.]Google Scholar