Agency News Translation though Globalization: A Theoretical Approach
Translation studies have finally developed interest into production, consumption and translation of news. This field has been previously covered by critical linguistics. But recently translation researchers have shown their interest not only in textual but also in ideological implications of the news genre, as a part of language history and thus subject to translation, localization and globalization phenomena. Agency news translation is a relevant issue in all developed societies as one of the means to stay informed about the events that happen in the world but their translation creates several issues, obstacles and considerations that need to be studied carefully.
Language industry could be defined as a
field of activity that is dedicated to facilitating both oral and written
international communication. According to the European Commission’s
Directorate-General of Translation, the language industry covers translation,
interpreting, localisation and globalisation, language technology tool
development, language teaching, consultancy in linguistic issues and
organisation of international conferences with multilingual requirements (EU
Report on the Size of Language Industry, 2009). It is one of the most
profitable and constantly growing industries in the world that covers more and
more phenomena of our lives, including news, as one of the subjects of
translation. Therefore, it is important to overview several components of the
language industry, namely, localization and globalization that lead to the
concept of glocalization. In the context of agency news translation, due to the
social nature of news it is also necessary to overview the concept of
translation as a social activity and the history of translation in general.
Translation phenomenon is very wide and
may be explained from various perspectives. However, it should not be argued
that “a human being performs an act of translation […] when receiving a speech
message from any other human being” (Steiner, 1975, 47). Therefore, translation
phenomenon is inseparable from the essence of human beings. It is often argued
that humans are the so-called “social animals” because of their ability to
speak. So, it may be concluded that translation is one more perspective of speech,
as an instrument of communication.
Nevertheless, in addition to speech there
is a non-verbal communication that includes facial expressions, movements, our
interpretations, etc. And it shall also be attributed to a complex translation
dynamics. So we encounter different forms of translation in all our daily
activities. Being a part of interlinguistic and intercultural processes, it
shall not be considered from linguistic angle only. According to Carbonell
Cortes and Harding (2018, 1), in translation “the context of communication is
of foremost importance”. Currently, in our global era, translation enables
dramatically different cultures to interact with each other. What is more, due
to computers and other telecommunications, Internet especially, cultures can
easily communicate with each other and borders are no longer an obstacle. This
feature is especially important to translation as a social activity. In
addition to other usages, Internet may be used as a platform for various
translated contents, including news.
Translation as a distinct field of
research emerged in late 1970s and had an impact to different fields and disciplines.
Bielsa and Bassnett argue that translation “has become significant in a wide
variety of fields, from literary studies to post-colonial studies, from
socio-linguistics to discourse theory, from business studies to international
relations and globalization studies” (Bielsa and Bassnett, 2009:4). It means
that currently translation studies cover more than complex discussions about
linguistic equivalence or problems of untranslatability from one linguistic
culture to another one. In this modern era translation studies and translation
phenomenon itself has more to do with global implications, global businesses
and global politics.
Roudometof argues that the term “glocal” is relatively new, as it was firstly mentioned around 1990 (Roudometof, 2015:776). As early as in 1995, Robertson analysed the glocal perspective as a merger of global and local features, so to say, thinking globally but acting locally (Robertson, 1995). General definition of the term “glocalization” given in Oxford English Dictionary is “The practice of conducting business according to both local and global considerations”. Therefore, glocalization, like globalization, is the practice of putting certain products to global markets but, in contrary to globalization, it aims to preserve their cultural features.
Although disputed, it is widely accepted
that the phenomenon of glocalization was first observed in fields of
entertainment and tourism. Therefore, Schuerkens argue that “globalization is
not simply dissolving local life worlds in their traditional local structures
and settings, but is interacting with them in a sort of localization of
‘glocalization’” (Schuerkens, 2004:2). This approach reveals the problem of
local and global perspective. Different nations have always been living in the
same globe but it does not change the fact that they come from culturally
separated locations. As McCabe and Stokoe argue “The impact of globalization on
contemporary societies in the production and consumption of place has profound
implications for understanding identity” (McCabe and Stokoe, 2004:602). To be
accurate, glocalization may serve as a bridge between global thinking and local
cultures. And in this context it is worth to elaborate the meaning of culture
as one of the markers of the social space.
All individuals are born in some culture;
therefore, the culture plays a significant role in men’s lives. Culture an
individual was born in influences all aspects of live of an individual.
Behaviour, social norms and even decision-making may be explained from cultural
angle. Linguistic environment is also influenced by culture; therefore, culture
shapes one’s cognition. It is therefore true that a culture may be learned
and/or accepted. Nevertheless, culture has a strong influence to one’s way of
thinking, understanding and values. Kotler argues that there is a need to
understand how the product meets the needs of its users from the target culture
and how successful its marketing might be in a target country (Kotler, 2009).
The same approach may be applied to the so-called global news, or the news
produced by global news agencies, such as AP or Reuters.
of online news
Until the beginning of the 21st century,
there has been little interest in relationships between the language,
journalism and translation. The situation has changed only recently, when the
interest in this topic has been developed by several researchers, Van Doorslaer
in his article “Journalism and Translation” (2010). Until then, as he argues, “The journalistic aspects of media
translation as well as the position of translation in day to day journalistic
work are not an explicit object of study” (2010: 180). Bielsa also notices the
phenomenon of neglecting the topic of news translation in the field of
translation studies (2010, 39-51). The mentioned situation has emerged, as Van
Doorslaer argues, due to the “complex nature of power relationships (continental,
national, linguistic, political and ideological) [that] determines important
decisions and choices regarding news selection, news translation and news
editing” (2010: 180).
For translation work the knowledge of both
source and target languages are of central importance. Nevertheless, news
translation is done mainly by non-translators, i. e. by the journalists
themselves. Van Doorslaer implies that it may affect not only the quality of
news translation into target languages but also the decisions not to translate
some news (2010: 180). Moreover, for journalists, unlike the translators,
translation is not the main activity but a supplementary part of journalistic
work: “a complex, integrated combination of information gathering, translating,
selecting, reinterpreting, contextualizing and editing” (Van Doorslaer, 2010:
180). It may at least partially explain marginalization of linguistics and
especially translation in the field of news media.
On the other hand, news translation is a
complex issue that cannot be compared with traditional relationship between the
source text and the target text. Kang defines the news translation with the
concept of “entextualization”, i. e. describing news translation as the process
where the source text is subordinate to the journalistic purpose of
recontextualization (Kang, 2007: 221). This phenomenon is closely related to
localization of news, as Van Doorslaer argues, “Translated news texts can be
seen as a complex mixture of summarizing, paraphrasing, transforming, supplementing,
reorganizing and recontextualizing procedures” (2010: 181).
In the context of news translation, both
entextualization and localization of news can be reached by two techniques
described by Van Doorslaer (2014: 1048 – 1049).
According to the first technique, the sole
source text, for example, a news content taken from a single global news agency
is dispersed and therefore several target texts are made. Each target text may
be presented as an individual entry in an online newspaper with entirely
different headlines. This situation can be seen as an extension of a classical
situation when there is only one source text translated into single target
The second technique presents the opposite
situation. Aiming to create a new or partially new news item, journalists may
base it on several news items instead just on one. These items may be
information from several sources, feedback from experts, etc. In the context of
news translation this approach may be considered as another extension of the mentioned
classical situation with only target text and the only source text.
Therefore, news translation is a rather
new field of research with distinctive characteristics, such as extension of
the traditional one source text – one target text concept. And since the
translatable news entries are related to international and foreign news from
various sources, they need to be adapted according to linguistic, cultural,
political and other circumstances of the target audiences. Thus, the global
news undergoes the process of adaptation, i. e. glocalization.
of glocalization on news
Bielsa (2010: 45) notices that “News
translation can entail the thoroughgoing transformation of the source text and
the production of a new one designed to suit new readers who are geographically
distant from where the narrated events took place”. Common practice of such
adaptation is to add background information, change priority or order of
paragraphs, rewrite titles, eliminate certain information, etc.
Bielsa (2010: 46 – 47) extinguishes three
tasks of this intervention:
of collection with the aim to establish information that is relevant in the
of prioritisation of information. At this stage the source text is adapted
according to the needs of the new audience;
of changing angles and nuances of the source text with the aim to better fulfil
the needs of the target audiences.
Therefore, it is obvious that the local
versions of the global news translation can be very different and also function
differently according to local circumstances. Bassnett (2005: 125) also notices
that news translation “reshapes, alters, emphasizes, adds and substracts where
necessary”. Conway (2010, 87) justifies the use of these techniques stating
that it “results from the irreducibility of culture as a way of life to the
form of a text”, thus emphasizing the importance of intercultural communication
in news. Cohen, Levy, Roeh and Gurevitch (1996: 174 – 175) suggest that
“journalists sometimes construct foreign news stories in ways which attempt to
create links of meaning between the stories and the history, culture, politics,
society, etc. of the viewers”.
To achieve this, various translation
strategies are employed. According to Bani (2006: 42) “textual translation
strategies are different but all tend to simplify the reader’s task”. However,
different scholars emphasize the use of different translation strategies for
news translation. In 2006, the University of Warwick organized Translation in
Global News conference where Gambier (2006) mentioned that journalists for the
news translation use re-organization, deletion, addition and substitution
Gambier explains these strategies in the
is re-structuring of the source text. Information may be re-focused in a given
paragraph; some of the details may be moved to some other part of the text. For
example, by using this strategy individual lexical items or extensive
information may be permutated. The strategy is used both because of linguistic
reasons (rhetoric traditions, for example) and cultural reasons.
may be applied to simple lexical items or even sentences. Parts of the source
material to be deleted may depend on redundancy of the source text, level of accuracy,
number of facts, etc.
is used to clarify, make some background more explicit, etc. It may be resemble
to language transfer.
may involve other translation strategies. For example, the details can be made
less specific (for instance, accurate numbers presented in the source text may
be rounded up in a target text), depersonalization can be made (for instance,
instead of giving the names of certain political actors only their positions or
countries can be given).
Other scholars present different
classification of strategies (see, for example, Bani (2006) or Baker (2006)).
However, in the context of news translation the use of translation strategies
is important not because of their number or classification. Instead, it should
be emphasized that a news communication does not function as an isolated text
with only one possible target translation. For the translation of news cultural
circumstances and context in general is not less important.