Palma (Mallorca) from 27 to 29 June 2016
I International Conference:
The (politics of) translation (of politics)

Home pageProgramme CommitteeLodgingDocumentsVenueContact
General programme, activity sheet

Tuesday 28 June, 2016 09:30 to 09:50 Oral Communication
Translation as a weapon of political destruction: Italian politics and the Anglo-American press
Speaker: Massimiliano Demata, University of Bari

Authors: Massimiliano Demata

Political discourse relies on translation (Schäffner 2004), and translation can be considered “an integral part of political activity” (Schäffner & Bassnett 2010). In politics, a heavily contested social realm, translation can be “a deliberate and conscious act of selection, assemblage, structuration, and fabrication” (Tymoczko & Gentzler 2002). In particular, when political news crosses language boundaries, is reported by foreign media, and is in turn translated in the national and linguistic context in which the events originated, there are serious linguistic, cultural and ideological implications. Texts are often manipulated through certain lexical choices and omissions, as they move along the political and media channels, to serve specific ideological interests. This paper discusses how translations of American and British news about Italy are localised in Italy’s political discourse. In Italy’s political context, foreign media reports about Italy are used as yardsticks for the reputation of politicians and political parties. What can be observed is a double act of recontextualization (Schäffner & Bassnett 2010): British and American media discuss Italian economy or politics, then these texts are translated in Italian and used by Italian politicians for their own interests. Through the discussion of some recent examples, in this paper I will first analyse how translation proper is heavily contested: the issue at stake is often a supposedly “wrong” translation, the product of an ideological manipulation, with certain political interests in mind. The translation is “wrong “ because it is affected by a geographical and ideological “place of enunciation” (Tymoczko 2003). I will then discuss how the translated text is used as an instrument of political legitimisation (or deligitimisation) in Italian politics. These two levels are interrelated, and both the act of translation and the translated text itself become political tools. Keywords: Ideology, Italy, media, politics, translation References Munday, J. 2007, “Translation and Ideology. A Textual Approach”, The Translator, 13, pp. 195-217. Schäffner, C. 2004, “Political Discourse Analysis from the Point of View of Translation Studies”, Journal of Language and Politics, 3, pp. 117-150. Schäffner, C. & Bassnett, S. 2010. “Introduction. Politics, Media and Translation – Exploring Synergies”, in Schäffner, C. & Bassnett, S. (eds.) Politics, Media and Translation, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars, 2010, pp. 1-30. Tymoczko, M. & Gentzler, E. (eds.) 2002. Translation and Power. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Tymoczko, M. 2003. “Ideology and the Position of the Translator: In What Sense is a Translator 'In Between'?”, in Pérez, M. C. (ed.), A Propos of Ideology: Translation Studies on Ideology--Ideologies in Translation Studies, Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing, pp. 181-201.

Massimiliano Demata is Assistant Professor of English Language and Translation at the University of Bari, Italy. He took his DPhil in English at the University of Oxford in 1999 and was Fulbright Visiting Professor at Yale University (1999) and Indiana University (2014). He has published on Political Discourse Analysis, Computer Mediated Communication and Ideology and Translation.
Further information:

Final version (29 KB)

Session D2
Place: Room 4

Other activities in Session D2
09:50 h. to 10:10 h.Oral Communication

Translation and the construction of the new Spanish Left

Speaker: Fruela Fernández, Newcastle University
10:10 h. to 10:20 h.Discussion


           Organiza, patrocina, colabora