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Papers in Translation Studies
 1443872288, 9781443872287

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Papers in Translation Studies

Papers in Translation Studies Edited by

Sattar Izwaini

Papers in Translation Studies Edited by Sattar Izwaini This book first published 2015 Cambridge Scholars Publishing Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2PA, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2015 by Sattar Izwaini and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-7228-8 ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-7228-7


Introduction ............................................................................................... vii Sattar Izwaini Part I: Translation and Linguistics, Ideology, Language Planning and Policy The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles ................. 2 Steven Schoonjans The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media ....... 24 Sabir Hasan Birot Turkish Translations of Hamlet: Observing Language Planning through Social Systems Theory Perspective .............................................. 47 Hilal Erkazanci Durmus Translating for the Minorities in Wales: A Look at Translation Policies .. 70 Gabriel González Núñez Part II: Translator Training Exploring Social Translation and Ethics in the Classroom: Some Implications for Translator Training ............................................... 96 María del Mar Sánchez Ramos Assessing University Students' Aptitude for Simultaneous Interpretation ........................................................................................... 113 Ahmed AlKilabi Part III: Corpus-based Translation Studies, NLP and Machine Translation Influence of Translation on Modern Chinese: A Case Study of RMs ..... 132 Qiurong Zhao and Kefei Wang


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Tracing English Equivalents of Brazilian Portuguese Cooking Vocabulary: A Corpus-based Study ........................................................ 154 Rozane Rodrigues Rebechi Improving Named Entity Translations by Exploiting Non-parallel Corpora .................................................................................................... 179 Rahma Sellami, Fatiha Sadat and Lamia Hadrich Belguith A New Translation Technology: Impact of Automatic Summarisation on the Translation of Research Articles................................................... 199 María Cristina Toledo Báez Obstacles Facing Arabic Machine Translation: Building a Neural Network-based Transfer Module ............................................................. 229 Rached Zantout and Ahmed Guessoum Contributors ............................................................................................. 254


This book presents cutting-edge research in translation studies, offering stimulating discussions on translation and providing fresh perspectives on the field. It shows how research in translation studies has evolved and has been applied in some of its subareas. Papers in Translation Studies features a selection of papers originally authored for this volume, addressing a variety of issues from different points of view and offering interesting contributions to critical literature of the field. They represent the latest theoretical as well as methodological developments in their respective areas and offer a genuine view of contemporary translation studies. The volume is an addition to the thriving literature on translation studies. It comes in a time when translation studies has flourished as a discipline with academic programs offered around the globe, as well as international conferences, seminars, and workshops especially dedicated to translation. Researching and teaching translation always require more and new additions in the form of research conducted by those in the know who can offer through their publications insights and stimulating thoughts and findings. This collection of papers provides useful resources and a selection of topics that will be of great benefit for researchers, academics, students and practitioners. The contributions to this volume offer food for thought, which promotes research on translation theory and practice, and suggest ways of dealing with translation problems while tendering answers to research questions. The volume chapters are written by academics and researchers from around the world, dealing with different languages and contexts. They investigate translation from and into a wide range of languages including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Kurdish, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. Areas of investigation range from contrastive linguistics and translation to natural language processing and machine translation as well as translator training. The book is divided into three parts. Part One consists of four chapters that deal with issues in and related to translation such as linguistics, ideology, language planning and policy. The two chapters of Part Two focus on translator training, which is a significant area in teaching and



practicing translation. The papers in Part Three, five in number, examine issues in corpus-based translation studies, NLP and machine translation. In the first part section of the book, Steven Schoonjans presents an interesting and informative discussion of the influence of context on the translation of modal particles. He demonstrates how the meaning of modal particles, being highly context-sensitive, is reflected in translation by highlighting the role of context. The role of ideology in translation is investigated by Sabir Birot whose article shows how the media manipulate translation on the basis of the ideology and political agenda of their sponsor-publisher. The study aims at highlighting partiality of translation in the Kurdish media, and helps the target readership have awareness about the accuracy of the translation. Language planning is the focus of the paper by Hilal Erkazanci Durmus with the translations of Hamlet as the data used to conduct the study. It attempts at describing how language planning influences literary translation from the perspective of social systems theory. Gabriel González Núñez investigates the under-researched area of translation policy, specifically in terms of its relationship to the integration of minorities. He does so by considering the aims of translation in Wales’ judiciary, healthcare and local government. In the area of translator training, María del Mar Sánchez Ramos looks at the implications of social translation and ethics. Her paper focuses on the pedagogical interest in a globalized society. It provides an account on including a social translation module in a translation curriculum. Ahmed AlKilabi’s paper investigates another area in translator training, namely simultaneous interpreting. The study assesses the aptitude of university students for this kind of interpreting by using tests designed to measure essential skills and to elicit students’ performance in the interpreting process. Corpus-based methodology is used in Qiurong Zhao and Kefei Wang’s article on the influence of translation on modern Chinese by focusing on reformulation markers. Following a chronological development of Chinese and the role played by translation in shaping its modern literary style, the authors use multiple corpora analysis, that is, a combination of comparable corpus, a parallel corpus and a reference corpus of translated Chinese and non-translated Chinese to illustrate the influence of translation and how reformulation markers changed. Rozane Rodrigues Rebechi researches English equivalents for Portuguese Brazilian cooking vocabulary and discusses the implications of translation choices. She uses English and Brazilian Portuguese corpora of recipes to identify culturally marked Brazilian cooking terms and their

Papers in Translation Studies


English equivalents, aiming at eventually compiling a bilingual glossary in the area. Exploiting non-parallel corpora to improve named entity translations is the focus of the paper by Sellami, Sadat, and Belguith. They discuss the problem of mining named entity translations and present a new framework that helps extract named entities and their translations. María Cristina Toledo Báez examines the use of translation technology and the role of automatic summarisation in the translation of research articles. A term-based summariser is used to enhance the quality and speed of the translation of specialized texts. Problems of Arabic machine translation are investigated by Rached Zantout and Ahmed Guessoum. In particular, they discuss the issues of availability, building, and preparation of corpora. Their paper proposes the use of a neural network-based transfer module in a combination with a corpus-based approach. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to all authors for contributing to this volume as well as to all the reviewers for taking time to review the papers and provide the authors with very useful feedback.




Abstract The meaning of modal particles is known to be highly contextsensitive. This article shows how this is reflected in translation by highlighting the role of context in French translations of German particles. The notion of context is regarded from two different angles. On the one hand, reference is made to grammaticalization studies, in which contexts are classified depending on the degree of grammaticalization they suggest. On the other hand, context is interpreted as the particle’s (textual and non-textual) environment inducing certain inferences and implicatures which may influence the meaning (and thus the translation) of the particle. A central issue in this discussion is where to draw the line between the particle’s own meaning and context-induced nuances, as this determines the extent to which the proposed translation can be considered as a true equivalent of the German particle. Keywords: Context, French, German, Modal Particles, Translation.

1. Introduction A recurrent topic in discussions about German modal particles (MPs) is the description of their meanings. Despite growing consensus on the assumption that MPs have a (non-propositional) meaning, several issues remain unresolved. A typical example is the question of which terms are most appropriate to describe the meaning of particular MPs (cp. e.g. Rinas 2007 for an overview of the analyses of ja). Another issue is whether a minimalist or a maximalist method is more appropriate (cp. e.g. Hartmann 1986). Analyses of the former type assume that each particle has one core

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meaning (which may be subject to context-induced variation or nuancing), whereas analyses of the latter type ascribe different meanings to the same particle. Diewald (2007: 133) notes that “at this point, a question which has long been discussed in particle research arises, namely when and on the basis of which criteria one should distinguish between polysemy and context-induced variation.”1 As Feyrer (1998: 69-70) indicates, these discussions are related to an important claim in particle research, viz. that MP meanings are highly context-determined. Accordingly, MPs only acquire their full semantic and pragmatic meaning when they are used in a particular context. This issue is not just of interest when studying German particles, but also when investigating how they are translated into other languages (cp. Feyrer 1998: 40). Indeed, if context influences the meaning of MPs, it is to be expected that different translation equivalents will be found for a single particle. The question needs to be asked, however, where the line between the particle’s own core meaning and context-induced nuances or implicatures has to be drawn, since this determines the extent to which the translation equivalent corresponds to the particle. If the translation mainly (or even only) conveys the context-induced nuance, the question arises if it is actually a translation equivalent of the particle, or just an explicit formulation of a nuance which is implicit in the source language. The present paper addresses these issues on the basis of an analysis of French translations of German MPs. This analysis will be framed by a brief introduction into the issue of MP translation (§2), a few remarks on the notion of ‘context’ (§3), and some methodological comments (§4). The influence of the context on the translation is discussed in §5. This section consists of three parts, focusing first on the role played by elements from the purely linguistic context, or ‘cotext’ (§5.1), second on how the interpretation of the particle (and hence its translation) may be guided by the context as defined in grammaticalization studies (§5.2), and third on context-induced nuances which may be made explicit in the translation (§5.3). Finally, the extent to which these nuances are part of the meaning of the particle is discussed in §6.

2. MPs and their translation as context-sensitive phenomena The scope of the present paper does not allow for an elaborate presentation of the category ‘modal particle’ in German. Therefore, the focus will be on the meaning of the particles, since the meaning is the starting point for translation. The formal description will be brief; more detailed


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

presentations can be found in standard works on MPs, e.g. Franck (1980), Thurmair (1989), Autenrieth (2002), and Diewald (2007). MPs are uninflected and usually unstressed words which cannot be negated or intensified, are integrated prosodically and syntactically into the utterance, have scope over the entire clause, and normally occur in the middle field (i.e. between the finite and infinite verb forms). Typical examples include ja, doch, eben, halt, denn, schon, bloß, nur etc. (1a) Was flüsterst du denn so? Das ist doch kein Geheimnis! (Why are you denn whispering? That’s doch not a secret!) (1b) Wenn er bloß käme! (If he came bloß!) (1c) Männer sind eben so. (Men are eben like that) MPs are used to mark the speaker’s position towards the content of his utterance, how this content relates to the context, or how the hearer is expected to react. In the examples above, for instance, denn (1a) marks astonishment about the event referred to (the hearer’s whispering) and doch indicates that this whispering seems to be a strange reaction given that it is not a secret (it indicates that the hearer may well change his behavior and speak up). Bloß (1b) causes an increase of the illocutionary force (a wish with bloß is stronger than one without the particle), whereas eben (1c) is used to mark the obviousness of what is said. These meaning descriptions are somewhat simplistic, given that MPs do not simply refer to the context most of the time, but also gain their precise meaning only within a context. This is an important factor in explaining that it is often hard to find a direct counterpart of a particle in another language. Language pairs like German-French are interesting in this respect, as the former language clearly has more MPs (at both type and token frequency level) than the latter.2 In previous work, context has repeatedly been mentioned (e.g. by Feyrer 1998) as one of the factors explaining the variation in MP translations, but its actual role in translation has received little attention. Some scholars have referred to grammaticalization (e.g. Schoonjans and Feyaerts 2010), but without doing their analysis explicitly in terms of grammaticalization contexts. As for the purely linguistic context, reference has been made to an aspect of external syntax, viz. the illocution type (e.g. Feyrer 1998), but other cotextual features have to date hardly been studied in more detail. Therefore, the goal of the present paper is to offer an idea

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of which role context may play, as an onset for more extended analyses of this phenomenon.

3. The notion of ‘context’ An important prerequisite for studying how context influences translation is a clear definition of the notion of ‘context’. This should not be taken for granted, as Goodwin and Duranti (1992: 2) indicate: “[I]t does not seem possible at the present time to give a single, precise, technical definition of context, and eventually we might have to accept that such a definition may not be possible. At the moment the term means quite different things within alternative research paradigms, and indeed even within particular traditions seems to be defined more by situated practice, by use of the concept to work with particular analytic problems, than by formal definition.”3

Although this quote is about twenty years old, it still holds today. The term ‘context’ has indeed been used in different ways in linguistic studies so far, some of them being more general while others are related to a particular framework. One of these particular uses of ‘context’ will be referred to in the analysis, viz. its use in grammaticalization studies. Several scholars have proposed a taxonomy of contexts in grammaticalization, depending on whether they favor the source meaning or the target meaning of the grammaticalizing form. This will be discussed in more detail below (§5.2). Most of the time, however, ‘context’ will be used in a more general way in the following. It will be used to refer to any linguistic or non-linguistic element in the situation in which the MP is used and which may play a role for its interpretation. A distinction will be made between what is purely linguistic (the so-called ‘cotext’) and what is not. The former (§5.1) includes the linguistic material surrounding the form under investigation, mostly in the same clause or utterance as the MP itself, but the adjacent clauses may be taken into account as well. The focus is thus on the presence or absence of particular linguistic elements or on the way a particular meaning is verbalized, not on the information conveyed by the linguistic surroundings of the particle, which is part of the situational context (§5.3). The situational context includes all ideas, messages, concepts, situations and actions that are relevant to the interpretation of the MP. ‘Situational context’ is thus a very broad notion, as it includes not just features of the situation in which a clause is uttered, but also information


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

about socio-cultural, historical and geographical conditions. However, as Connolly et al. (2008: 52) indicate, including all this makes the concept of ‘context’ unworkable, and they advise to select those aspects of context which are relevant for the analysis. Therefore, in the following, the situational context will be restricted to what they call the ‘physical’ context (i.e. the speech situation), whereas the socio-cultural background will remain unconsidered.

4. Methodological remarks MPs are usually considered a typical feature of colloquial speech. However, for lack of translation corpora of spoken language, written texts were used in which spoken language is reproduced. More precisely, I opted for a corpus of literary translations, consisting of 12 novels, 13 short stories, and 12 plays, each of them with one French translation (see bibliography). Each reference is accompanied by a three-letter abbreviation which is used for references for the examples in the article along with the page numbers in the source text and target text. In the case of ‘ele’, the version used is not the more famous opera version but the older drama version. All translations were carried out by mother tongue speakers of French, to make sure that they are most familiar with the subtle nuances of the French expressions (and can thus choose the most appropriate translation). Furthermore, the texts were translated by different translators, to avoid skewing of the results due to personal preferences of the translators or to negligence or so-called ‘overtranslation’ (Métrich 1997: 149). Examples are given back translation in English between brackets. Back translations are my own, made on the basis of the German original, and have been added only to facilitate understanding.

5. The influence of the context on the translation of MPs In the remainder of the paper, an impression will be given of how MP translation can be influenced by three kinds of context: cotext (§5.1), grammaticalization contexts (§5.2), and situational context (§5.3). The reason for putting the more specific use of ‘context’ in grammaticalization studies between the two aspects of a more general conception of context is that grammaticalization contexts actually refer to both linguistic and situational context, and thus constitute a link between the two. It should be clear, however, that context is not the only factor that influences the choice of a translation equivalent. Personal preferences of

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the translators certainly play a role as well (cp. §4 above), as do elements like genre, register, and style. The latter ones may in fact be related to some extent to context as well, but since they are less important for the interpretation of the MPs, they will not be considered any further.

5.1 The role of the cotext The role of cotext for MP translation mainly pertains to the choice between omission and explicitation. It is the case indeed that a considerable amount of MPs is simply left out from the translations. Explanations in the literature include the non-propositional meaning of the particles, the degree of grammaticalization, the lack of direct counterparts, and the like. However, Métrich (1997), for instance, has shown that there is more to it. Among other things, he refers to the clause structure, claiming that MPs remain untranslated more often in subordinate clauses, as well as to verb types, indicating that the semantic aspect (aktionsart) may play a role in when and how MPs are translated. There are other cotextual factors that are not mentioned by Métrich, but that seem to play a role as well. For instance, if the clause contains another element expressing the same or a similar nuance, the particle is less likely to be translated: (2) Und der Mensch, der ja bekanntlich schwierig ist? (mar 171) Et l’être humain qui, comme chacun sait, est compliqué ? (213) (And the human being, who is ja as is well known difficult?) In this example, the German clause contains the MP ja, which indicates that the content of the clause may be known to the hearer. The particle is followed by the adverb bekanntlich, which conveys about the same meaning. This adverb appears in the French translation as comme chacun sait (as everyone knows), and the MP, which has a highly similar function, is omitted. However, the functional similarity need not be this apparent. The German sentence in (3) contains the particle denn, which indicates that the question follows from something in the speech situation (typically an element in the preceding turn) the speaker is astonished at.4 In (3), denn is accompanied by zum Kuckuck, which functions as a kind of illocutionary reinforcement. It is not entirely synonymous with denn, but can still be said to have a similar function, as the astonishment expressed by denn implies some kind of increase of the illocutionary force as well. Zum


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

Kuckuck is translated by a similar expression in French (diable), and this seems to be a reason for not translating the particle itself. (3) Wer, zum Kuckuck, ist denn das? (mjt 141) Qui diable est cet individu ? (134) (Who on earth is denn that?) However, the relevant cotext frame is not necessarily restricted to the sentence containing the particle: if the preceding clause is uttered by the same speaker and contains an element with a similar function, the particle is also less likely to be translated. For instance, if the same MP occurs in consecutive sentences, translators often retain only one instantiation in the translation (usually the first one), as in (4), in which only the first denn is translated (by means of donc): (4) Sind Sie denn blind? Sehen Sie denn nicht, wie er dasitzt und schweigt und uns reden lässt? (mjt 135) Seriez-vous donc aveugle ? Ne voyez-vous pas le baron qui se tait et nous laisse parler ? (128) (Are you denn blind? Don’t you denn see that he’s just sitting there, silent, and lets us do the talking?) The scope of the present paper does not allow for a more extended analysis of the influence of these (and other) cotextual factors, which would actually deserve a paper of their own. It should be clear, however, that the purely linguistic context (or ‘cotext’) should not be left unconsidered when studying the translation of MPs.

5.2 Grammaticalization contexts Cotext is also important for the study of the grammaticalization processes from which MPs have originated. Grammaticalizing elements acquire new uses and gradually lose certain features of the original use. At the meaning level, this shows up in a dialectics of meaning persistence (or ‘retention’) and desemanticization, eventually accompanied by the acquisition of new meaning elements (typically recurring implicatures which become part of the actual meaning of the form). A typical feature of grammaticalization is that it starts off in particular contexts, with the new use then spreading out gradually to other contexts. Several scholars (e.g. Diewald 2002 and Heine 2002) have proposed taxonomies of contexts, depending on whether they favor the original use

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or the new use, or are neutral in this respect. Which readings are thought to be plausible depends on both linguistic and non-linguistic context, i.e. on both cotext and situational context. Most relevant for the present study are the contexts in which the MP use is most plausible, although the original use can still shine through (i.e. Heine’s ‘bridging contexts’ and Diewald’s ‘critical contexts’), as this may be reflected in translation. As an example, recall that denn is typically used to indicate that a question follows from some element in the speech situation which is unexpected to the speaker. This function is a trace of an older use of denn, viz. as a consecutive adverb.5 In some contexts, this linking of the question to its context is still so clearly present that one may actually wonder whether we are dealing with the MP or with the consecutive adverb it stems from, as in (5):6 (5) KLYTÄMNESTRA



Die Bräuche sag! Wie brächt ichs dar? Ich selber muss – Dis-moi les rites ! Comment sacrifier ? Dois-je moi-même… (Tell me the rites! How do I do it? I have to) Nein. Diesmal gehst du nicht auf die Jagd mit Netz und Beil. Non. Cette fois-ci ce n’est pas toi qui partiras en chasse avec un filet et une hache. (No. This time, you don’t go hunting with net and axe.) Wer denn? Wer bringt es dar? (ele 122) Qui alors ? Qui accomplira le sacrifice ? (123) (Who denn? Who’s going to do it?)

In this example, it is not clear at first sight whether denn is used as a MP marking astonishment about Electra’s refutation, or as a consecutive adverb, meaning ‘who then, if not me’. Given this ambiguity, it is not surprising that the translation actually contains a consecutive adverb (alors ‘then’). There are however other cases in which it is less controversial that we are dealing with the MP denn in German, but which nevertheless have alors as a translation: (6)


Andri – du bist keiner! Mais, Andri, tu n’es pas juif. (Andri – you’re not a jew!)

The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles






Warum willst du mich denn verstecken? (and 92) Alors, pourquoi veux-tu me cacher ? (160) (Why do you denn want to hide me?) Ich weiß gar nicht, was schreiben. Je ne sais pas du tout quoi mettre. (I have no idea what to write) Warst du denn nicht da, als uns Affenschmalz die Disposition gab? (frü 54) Alors tu n’étais pas là quand Singegraisse nous a donné l’énoncé ? (74) (Weren’t you denn there when Apelard gave us the assignment?)

In these examples, an interpretation of denn as a MP is at least plausible, although the context does not totally exclude retention, in that the consecutive meaning may still shimmer through. This consecutive meaning is made more prominent in the French translations, which again contain alors. Since alors makes explicit a meaning nuance which is present in German, it can be considered as a translation equivalent of denn, but this is due to the context, which allows for this consecutive nuance to show up. Similar examples can be found for other particles. One of them is the self-evidence-marking particle eben. There is some discussion about its origin, but it has probably developed from the focus particle use of this form (Autenrieth 2002: 138f.). Typical translations of the focus particle eben are précisément and justement, and in cases where the focus particle meaning may still shine through, it is not uncommon to find such a translation:7 (8) Ja, freilich hat jemand den Ton angegeben, der Vater natürlich; denn dass der Vater die Meinung bestimmt, das ist eben das ‚Richtige‘. (mar 43) Oui, certes, quelqu’un donnait le ton, le père naturellement; en effet, que le père décide de l’opinion, c’est cela justement qui est bon. (53) (Yes, sure, someone gave the key, the father of course; because the father deciding the opinion, that is eben the right thing.) A third case is the particle eigentlich, which marks that the speaker switches to another (aspect of the) topic. It has developed from the

Steven Schoonjans


homophonous adverb, which means ‘really, actually’. As with denn, it is not always clear whether we are dealing with the adverb or the MP (here lies a disadvantage of using written texts: the prosody, which can sometimes disambiguate, is missing). Still there are cases in which a classification as a MP is at least plausible, but which have nevertheless been translated by means of an equivalent of the adverb, like en fait, exactement, or au juste, precisely because the context allows these meanings to be latently present. (9) Hier gibt es sicher keinen Satellitenempfang. Wo sind wir eigentlich? (aut 118) Il n’y a certainement pas de chaînes par satellite. Où on est, en fait ? (119) (There’s definitely no satellite signal here. Where are we eigentlich?) (10) Möchte doch wissen, wozu wir eigentlich auf der Welt sind! (frü 11) J’aimerais pourtant savoir pourquoi au juste nous sommes dans ce monde? (19) (I’d like to know why we eigentlich are on this world!) (11) Um was handelt es sich eigentlich? (mjt 78) De quoi s’agit-il, exactement ? (75) (What is it about eigentlich?) Care has to be taken, however, when analyzing such examples, as it cannot be excluded that the French counterpart of the German source form is actually grammaticalizing and becoming a kind of MP itself. This is not that much the case with the examples above, but others can be found to which it certainly applies. One of them is quand même as a translation of doch. Doch marks that the content of the clause should be known to the hearer, but cannot be reconciled with the hearer’s assumptions or actions. It stems from the adverb doch, which means ‘nevertheless’ and which has quand même as a possible French translation. However, quand même itself is also undergoing a process of grammaticalization, in the same direction as doch, and can in some contexts be used as a MP, corresponding more or less to the German MP doch (cp. Waltereit 2006: 77). An example is (12), in which quand même is not only used as the translation of doch, but shows striking similarities to it as well (middle field positioning, bleached meaning when compared to the original adverb, etc.).


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

(12) So kannst du dich doch nicht ins Auto setzen! (hit 163) Tu ne peux quand même pas prendre le volant dans cet état ! (155) (You can’t doch step into a car like this!) Similar cases include seulement as a translation for nur (originally a focus particle) and simplement for einfach (originally a modal adverb), which both seem to evolve towards MP status, like their German counterparts: (13) Wenn nur nicht dieses unerträgliche Zischen des Vaters gewesen wäre! (ver 70) Si seulement il n’y avait pas eu ces sifflements insupportables du père ! (71) (If nur there hadn’t been this unbearable hissing by his father!) (14) Vielleicht hat das alles einfach gar nichts mit dir zu tun. (aut 136) Peut-être que tout ça n’a simplement rien à voir avec toi, rien du tout. (137) (Maybe all of this has einfach nothing to do with you at all.) It thus turns out that, although the French counterparts of the German particles may grammaticalize and become MPs as well, one does regularly retrieve the source form in the translations. This is mainly the case if the context allows for it, i.e. if retention is not excluded by the context or if the context is ambiguous between the reading as a MP and the older reading. How frequently this occurs also depends on the degree of grammaticalization: the further the particle is grammaticalized, the weaker the retention is and the less likely it is to influence the choice of a translation equivalent. However, the importance of this factor should not be underestimated: for less grammaticalized particles like eigentlich, up to a third of the occurrences are translated by means of a counterpart of the adverb (Schoonjans and Feyaerts 2010).

5.3 Influence of the situational context The role of the situational context is not restricted to grammaticalization contexts, however. It is possible indeed that a particular context-induced (and thus implicit) interpretation of the clause containing the particle, or of the particle itself (be it an implication or an implicature), is made explicit in translation.8 This contextual influence can be found at both the level of

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the particle meaning and its discourse function. In the former case, the nuance expressed by the particle is modified, or a supplementary nuance is added, whereas in the latter case, the way in which the particles relate the clause to the context (i.e. what Thurmair 1989 calls the function of the particles) is at stake. This is indeed something most particles do: they indicate that there is a link with what precedes, but usually without specifying the nature of this link. However, under influence of the context, it may be inferable what kind of link it is, and this may be made explicit in the translation. Both cases (meaning and discourse function) will be discussed in the following. A first example of context influencing meaning is found in (15). The German clause contains the particle denn, which was said above to mark that the question follows from astonishment about something in the context. In (15), this nuance may even be stronger than simple astonishment: within the context, it seems that the speaker actually wants to express disbelief, viz. about the fact that something has to be done ‘here and now’. This nuance of disbelief, which is a strengthened variant of the meaning of denn, is context-induced in German, but is made explicit in French, by means of vraiment, an adverb which can be used precisely to express disbelief (see Schoonjans and Feyaerts 2010). (15) Bedenken Sie doch, wo wir sind! Muss das denn jetzt geschehen und gerade hier? (mjt 59) Songez à l’endroit où vous vous trouvez ! Faut-il vraiment que cela se fasse maintenant, et de plus ici ? (58) (Bear in mind where we are! Does this denn have to happen now, and furthermore here?) A variant of the disbelief nuance can be found in example (16) below. In this example, Jan seems to suggest that Anna is a fool. Anna is astonished and even indignant at this claim, and it is clear from the context that a negative answer is what Anna wants, since she does not consider herself to be foolish. This expectation of a negative answer is implicit in German (denn only marks the astonishment), but it is made explicit in French. Possible ways of expressing in German that a negative answer is wanted are etwa and doch nicht, and precisely doch nicht is what is found in the translation: quand même combined with a negation. (16)


Du machst wohl nie was einfach so. Visiblement tu ne fais jamais rien simplement comme ça. (You probably never do anything just like that.)


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles ANNA

Ja bin ich denn des Wahnsinns? (bvn 116) Je ne suis quand même pas folle ! (117) (Yeah have I denn gone mad?)

The final example contains a synonym of quand même, viz. tout de même. As mentioned, these forms are direct counterparts of German doch. However, the German sentence in (17) contains ja instead of doch. Both particles are similar in that they indicate that the content of the clause can be considered as true and may be known to the hearer. Still, doch is somewhat stronger: it also indicates that this is somehow irreconcilable with the hearer’s actions or apparent assumptions, and that these should therefore be modified in order to fit in with what is said. The German clause in (17) contains the weaker particle ja, yet within the context, it is clear that the speaker aims at a correction of the hearer’s assumptions. Therefore, it is not astonishing that ja gets translated by means of a counterpart of doch, viz. tout de même. (17) [Situation: When coming home, Sonia asks why there is no tea. Lucas replies that he cannot make her tea by the time she comes home if he does not know when she arrives.] Ich kann ja nicht alle fünf Minuten Pfefferminzblätter rein- und raustun! (caf 114) Je ne peux tout de même pas mettre des feuilles de menthe à infuser toutes les cinq minutes ! (115) (I can’t ja put in peppermint leaves every five minutes!) As for the contextual influence at the discourse-functional level, the clearest examples are those in which a MP is translated by a connective. The connective then explicitly marks the , i.e. the link with what precedes, and usually is more explicit about the nature of this link than the MP. This is where the context comes in. If something is said to be true, evident, or undeniable (e.g. by using a particle like ja, doch, or eben), it can be used as an explanation for some other phenomenon. Within a context, it is often clear indeed that a clause containing one of these particles offers an explanation for what was said before. The link can thus be interpreted as a causal one, and this may be made explicit in French by using a conjunction from this domain, e.g. car or puisque,9 or by means of en effet, a typical explanation marker (Grieve 1996: 254; Nøjgaard 1992: §204f.):

Steven Schoonjans


(18) Man kann dich nicht zerschlagen, du bist ja nur Eines. (glg 178) On ne peut pas te briser, car tu es un. (179) (You cannot be crushed, you are ja in one piece.) (19) Mein Blick fiel auf die gepackten Koffer, die noch immer im Zimmer standen, ich hatte ja verreisen wollen. (mjt 153) Mon regard tomba sur les malles qui étaient restées dans la chambre puisque j’avais l’intention de partir en voyage. (146) (My eye fell on the packed suitcases that were still in the room, I wanted ja to travel.) (20) Zur Bezeichnung solcher Unfähigkeiten verwendet man heute das Wort Frustration, wobei von allen Frustrationen die sexuelle ohne Zweifel die tödlichste ist. Diese Frustration ist eben ethischer Natur, denn sie betrifft die Ehre des Menschen. (mar 194) On emploie aujourd’hui, pour désigner de telles incapacités, le mot frustration, la frustration sexuelle étant, sans aucun doute, la plus funeste de toutes. Cette frustration est en effet de nature éthique, car elle touche à l’honneur de l’être humain. (243) (To describe such incapability, one uses the word frustration nowadays, where of all frustrations the sexual one beyond any doubt is the deadliest one. This frustration is eben of an ethical nature, as it concerns the honor of mankind.) The causal or explanatory link is the most typical example of a context-induced specification of in the translation. Other examples can be found, but care has to be taken not to confound contextinduced specifications of the link with traces of retention. An example is the use of alors as a translation of denn (cp. §5.2 above). In these cases, it is indeed a link which is made explicit in the translation, viz. a consecutive link. The fact that it is a consecutive link, however, is due to retention (denn developed from a consecutive adverb). Hence, it is not a context-induced interpretation of the combination of and the particle’s meaning in the same way as when ja is translated by puisque, because ja does not have cause-marking ancestors. Hence, in the latter case, it is just the context that causes the specific interpretation of , whereas in the case of denn, the diachrony is at stake as well. This distinction should not be neglected, and it should be clear that both situational context and diachrony can bring about a more specific interpretation of the link.


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

6. Discussion In the preceding sections, it has been shown in which ways context may play a role in the translation of MPs. One important question remains, however: can we say that all French counterparts mentioned above – including conjunctions such as puisque – are real translation equivalents of German MPs? A first element in the answer is that, in order to say that a linguistic form is a translation of another one, there has to be some correspondence, either at the meaning level or at the level. This is the case in all examples mentioned above: in all cases, the translation can be linked to the German particle by referring to its meaning or to its function (or both). From a literary point of view, this may be sufficient to claim that we are dealing with translation equivalents. However, the question remains whether they are true linguistic equivalents. This leads to another question, viz. whether the contextual meanings are actually part of the meaning of the German particles. If they are not, then one might ask whether the French elements under investigation are not translations of something contextual, rather than of the particles. The discussion of where to draw the line between what is part of the particle’s core meaning and what is context is a vivid one. Causal ja (1819) is a good example in this respect. Knetschke (1974), for instance, claims that in such cases where it is used in an explanation, ja is not a MP but a causal conjunction. Most other scholars take less extreme positions. Rudolph (1986), for instance, claims that ja is a MP which can, next to its core meaning (truth, familiarity), also mark that we are dealing with a justification. Similarly, Karagjosova (2003) argues that ja simply marks that what is said should be known to the hearer and that it creates a link. That this link is causal is not part of the particle’s meaning, but is a purely contextual implicature. Which analysis is better is hard to tell at first sight, since in this case, we are dealing with a recurrent implicature. The problem with such recurrent implicatures is that they may become part of the meaning of a form (see e.g. Brinton and Traugott 2005: 29). However, it is hard to tell at which point they have become part of the meaning, yet this seems to be unproblematic for the study of translation. The reason is that MPs can hardly be described without referring to the contexts in which they are used. As pointed out above, the precise meaning or nuance of MPs is context-dependent. Hence, determining what precisely the particle means

Steven Schoonjans


is impossible without taking the context into account. This idea is compatible with more general claims about the relation between meaning and context. Linell (2009: 16f.), for instance, claims that relevant contexts cannot be singled out from meanings and vice-versa. Similarly, Langacker (2001) states that linguistic units cannot be separated totally from the usage events in which they are realized. In other words: a form cannot be studied without looking at its usage contexts, as the way it is used is simply part of the form. Implicatures are closely linked to context (since they are contextinduced), and hence to usage. Taking implicatures into account for translation and even making them explicit thus simply amounts to showing how the form is used in the source language. The core meaning may be different, but the translation reflects how the form is used in the original text. If the German MP is turned into a causal conjunction in the French translation, then this shows that the particle is used in German in such a way that it has some similarities with a causal conjunction. Distinguishing between nuances that are part of the invariant core meaning of the particle and context-induced nuances may thus not be inevitable when analyzing how a particle is translated, since what is translated is actually the use of the particle, and all nuances, be they context-induced or not, are part of the way the particle is used. This is not to say that all distinctions between invariant core meaning and contextual variation or implicatures are useless. Such distinctions can be relevant for analyses of MPs, and may even be interesting as a starting point when analyzing the different translations that can be found for them. Similarly, I do not claim that no distinction can be made between direct translation counterparts and other translations in which a contextual nuance is added or which differ in some other way from the translated form. This seems to be a matter of the degree of equivalence, which is not at stake in the present discussion. The point is that the way a form is used and the way it is translated cannot simply be detached from one another, as the use plays a role for the translation. Both core meaning and meaning-incontext are part of the use of a form, and both influence the translation.

7. Conclusion In the preceding discussion, it has been shown that context plays a role in the translation of MPs. This is not surprising, given that MPs only gain their precise meaning within a situational context. However, linguistic context and particular types of context (e.g. contexts as defined in grammaticalization studies) turn out to influence the choice of a translation


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

equivalent as well. The argumentation was illustrated with relevant examples, but an extended (quantitative) analysis of all the potential contextual influences could not be undertaken within the scope of the present paper. A major reason for this is that another issue had to be dealt with first, viz. the question whether translations in which context-induced nuances are made explicit can be considered as translation equivalents of the particles. The answer argued for is positive, as long as there is a clear link with the particle, either at the meaning level or regarding the function of the particle. The distinction between context-induced nuances and the core meaning of the particle turned out to be of lesser importance for translation studies such as the present one, since what is translated is not actually the particle as such but a use of the particle. The context in which a particle is used and the implicatures this context brings about cannot be disregarded when looking at the use of the particle. Thus, if a translation makes an implicature explicit, this means that it shows how the particle is used in the original text. Hence, some of the translations dealt with may not be true direct counterparts of the particles themselves in a strict sense, but if usage is taken into account, they can all be classified as translations of the respective particles. As far as we are aware, there are no translation analyses yet in which context is systematically taken into account. It is sometimes referred to (e.g. by Feyrer 1998) to explain the diversity of translation equivalents that can be found, and eventually to explain how a particular translation relates to a particle, but this is not done in a systematic way most of the time. It should be clear from the preceding discussion, however, that context is an important factor in the choice of translation equivalents of MPs. Both linguistic and situational context have been shown to play a role at different levels. What precisely the relative importance of the different contextual influences hinted at is, had to remain unanswered, but this is an obvious next step to take in the investigation of the role of context for particle translation.

Acknowledgment Special thanks to Geert Brône, an anonymous reviewer and the editor for useful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Steven Schoonjans


Notes 1. My translation, S.S. 2. Earlier work on German-French MP translations includes Weydt (1969), Burkhardt (1995), Métrich (1997, 2000), Feyrer (1998), Schoonjans and Feyaerts (2010), Schoonjans and Lauwers (2010), and Schoonjans (2013), among others. 3. Italics in the original. Goodwin and Duranti (1992) also offer an overview of the ways in which the notion of ‘context’ is used in different frameworks and theories. 4. An anonymous reviewer suggests that “this is the case of most questions, so that denn only reinforces the standard features of an interrogative sentence.” It is true that denn entertains some kind of illocutive strengthening, as will be shown on example (3). However, it does not seem to me that “most” questions are actually raised by astonishment (although questions with denn typically are). 5. In present-day standard German, dann is mostly used instead of denn as the consecutive adverb. 6. An anonymous reviewer suggests that “a consecutive adverb in a question necessarily presents it at the consequence of something astonishing” and that therefore, “there is no reason to oppose the consecutive adverb and the MP.” It is admittedly true that this use of consecutive denn typically implies some astonishment; this is precisely the implicature which gave rise to its grammaticalization from a consecutive adverb to a MP. Nevertheless, both uses have to be kept apart, as the consecutive adverb can be used without astonishment nuance (cp. also note 4), whereas the modal particle marks the question as following from something in the speech situation but without necessarily implying that a consequence is asked for, as in (3) above. The reviewer makes a similar remark about the distinction between the adverbial and the MP use of eigentlich in (9-11). Once again, this is related to the fact that the MP has developed from the adverb, and the issue has been discussed in the literature before (e.g. Oppenrieder and Thurmair 1989). 7. An anonymous reviewer indicates that justement and précisément can also have a global scope, which brings them closer to MP eben. 8. It cannot be excluded that implicatures of the kind dealt with here become part of the ‘normal’ meaning of the form, making the contexts at stake new bridging contexts in a next step of grammaticalization. Still these examples differ from those in section 5.2 in that in none of them, the possibility for the source form from which the MP developed to shimmer through is at stake, which was the central issue in §5.2. 9. That precisely car and puisque are used, rather than parce que, fits in with the traditional view that these conjunctions are used when the cause or explanation is already known to the hearer (although this is a somewhat simplistic account, cp. Zufferey 2012).


The Influence of Context on the Translation of Modal Particles

References Autenrieth, T. 2002. Heterosemie und Grammatikalisierung bei Modalpartikeln. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Brinton, L.J. and E.C. Traugott. 2005. Lexicalization and Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Burkhardt, A. 1995. Zur Übersetzbarkeit von Abtönungspartikeln (on the translatability of modal particles). Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik, 23:2. 172-201. Connolly, J.H., A. Chamberlain and I.W. Phillips. 2008. An Approach to Context in Human-Computer Communication. Semiotica, 169. 45-70. Diewald, G. 2002. A Model for Relevant Types of Contexts in Grammaticalization. In: I. Wischer and G. Diewald (eds), New Reflections on Grammaticalization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 103120. Diewald, G. 2007. Abtönungspartikel (downtoning particles). In: L. Hoffmann (ed.), Handbuch der Deutschen Wortarten (handbook of German word classes). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 117-141. Feyrer, C. 1998. Modalität in Kontrast (modality in contrast). Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang. Franck, D. 1980. Grammatik und Konversation (grammar and conversation). Königstein/Taunus: Scriptor. Goodwin, C. and A. Duranti. 1992. Rethinking Context: An Introduction. In: A. Duranti and C. Goodwin (eds), Rethinking Context: Language as An Interactive Phenomenon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1-42. Grieve, J. 1996. Dictionary of Contemporary French Connectors. London: Routledge. Hartmann, D. 1986. Context Analysis or Analysis of Sentence Meaning? On Modal Particles in German. Journal of Pragmatics, 10. 543-557. Heine, B. 2002. On The Role of Context in Grammaticalization. In: I. Wischer and G. Diewald (eds), New Reflections on Grammaticalization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 83-101. Karagjosova, E. 2003. Modal Particles and The Common Ground. In: P. Kühnlein, H. Rieser and H. Zeevat (eds), Perspectives on Dialogue in the New Millennium. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 335-350. Knetschke, E. 1974. Die Funktion der Partikel ja in Tonbandaufnahmen deutscher Umgangssprache (the function of the particle ja in tape recordings of German colloquial speech). Phonai, Beiheft 2. 89-109. Langacker, R.W. 2001. Discourse in Cognitive Grammar. Cognitive Linguistics, 12. 143-188.

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Linell, P. 2009. Rethinking Language, Mind, and World Dialogically. Charlotte, NC: Information Age. Métrich, R. 1997. De la non traduction des ‘mots de la communication’ de l’allemand en français (on the non-translation of ‘communication words’ from German into French). Zeitschrift für Französische Sprache und Literatur, 107. 143-172. —. 2000. Cinq traducteurs en quête d’équivalents. Remarques sur la traduction des particules modales dans Franz Kafka, La Métamorphose (five translators in quest for equivalents. Notes on the translation of modal particles in Franz Kafka’s La Métamorphose) In: G. Gréciano (ed.), Micro- et Macrolexèmes et Leur Figement Discursif. Leuven: Peeters. 299-313. Nøjgaard, M. 1992. Les Adverbes Français (tome 1) (French adverbs, vol. 1). København: Munksgaard. Oppenrieder, W. and M. Thurmair. 1989. Kategorie und Funktion einer Partikel, oder: Was ist eigentlich ‘eigentlich’ eigentlich? (category and function of a particle, or: what is eigentlich ‘eigentlich’ Eigentlich?) Deutsche Sprache, 17. 26-39. Rinas, K. 2007. Bekanntheit? Begründung? Einigkeit? Zur semantischen Analyse der Abtönungspartikel ja (awareness? justification? agreement? on the semantic analysis of downtoning particle ja). Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 44. 205-211. Rudolph, E. 1986. Partikeln und Text-Konnexität im Deutschen (particles and text connections in German). In: W. Heydrich, and J.S. PetĘfi (eds), Aspekte der Konnexität und Kohärenz in Texten. Hamburg: Helmut Buske. 73-90. Schoonjans, S. 2013. Zu den französischen Entsprechungen der deutschen Modalpartikel eben und einiger bedeutungsähnlicher Ausdrücke in literarischen Texten (on the French equivalents of the German modal particle eben and elements with related meaning in literary texts). Studia Neophilologica, 85. 73-88. Schoonjans, S. and K. Feyaerts. 2010. Die Übersetzung von Modalpartikeln als Indiz ihres Grammatikalisierungsgrades: Die französischen Pendants von denn und eigentlich (the translation of modal particles as an indication of grammaticalisation: the French counterparts of denn and eigentlich). Linguistik Online, 44. 67-85. Schoonjans, S. and P. Lauwers. 2010. La traduction des particules denn et eigentlich entre désémantisation et persistance lexicale (the translation of the particles denn and eigentlich between desemanticization and lexical persistence). Zeitschrift für Französische Sprache und Literatur, 120. 115-132.

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Thurmair, M. 1989. Modalpartikeln und ihre Kombinationen (modal particles and their combinations). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Waltereit, R. 2006. Abtönung (downtoning). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Weydt, H. 1969. Abtönungspartikel (downtoning particles). Bad Homburg: Max Gehlen. Zufferey, S. 2012. Car, Parce Que, Puisque Revisited: three empirical studies on French causal connectives. Journal of Pragmatics, 44. 138153.

The primary texts NOVELS drf dsr glg hit ljw

mar mjt pro sid sta ver zau

Musil, R. 2001. Drei Frauen. Hamburg: Rowohlt. Musil, R. 1962. Trois femmes. Paris: Seuil. Perutz, L. 2005. Der schwedische Reiter. München: DTV. Perutz, L. 1987. Le Cavalier suédois. Paris: Phébus. Rilke, R.M. 2003. Histoires du Bon Dieu/Geschichten vom lieben Gott. Paris: Gallimard. Noll, I. 1993. Der Hahn ist tot. Zürich: Diogenes. Noll, I. 1996. Rien que pour moi. Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Goethe, J.W. 1973. Die Leiden des Jungen Werther. Frankfurt/Main: Insel. Goethe, J.W. 1959. Les Souffrances du jeune Werther. Paris: Gallimard. Zorn, F. 2006. Mars. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Zorn, F. 1979. Mars. Paris: Gallimard. Perutz, L. 2006. Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages. München: DTV. Perutz, L. 1989. Le Maître du Jugement Dernier. Paris: Fayard. Kafka, F. 1979. Der Prozess. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Kafka, F. 1957. Le Procès. Paris: Gallimard. Hesse, H. 1974. Siddhartha. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp. Hesse, H. 1925. Siddhartha. Paris: Grasset. Jünger, E. 2007. In Stahlgewittern. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Jünger, E. Orages d’acier. Paris: Bourgeois. Kafka, F. 1988. Die Verwandlung/La Métamorphose. Paris: Librairie Générale Française. Mann, T. 1994. Der Zauberberg. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Mann, T. 1931. La Montagne magique. Paris: Fayard.

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SHORT STORIES mur Kafka, F. 1972. Sämtliche Erzählungen. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Kafka, F. 1950. La Muraille de Chine et autres récits. Paris: Gallimard. Selected stories: Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle; Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer; Poseidon; Die Prüfung; Der Geier; Der Aufbruch; Fürsprecher; Forschungen eines Hundes. pnc Kafka, F. 1972. Sämtliche Erzählungen. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Kafka, F. 1957. Préparatifs de noce à la campagne. Paris: Gallimard. Selected story: Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande. sch Zweig, S. 2007. Schachnovelle. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Zweig, S. 1991. Le Joueur d’échecs. Paris: Librairie Générale Française. vsd Von Kleist, H. 2001. Fiançailles à Saint-Domingue/Die Verlobung in St. Domingo. L’Enfant trouvé/Der Findling. Paris: Gallimard. 24s Zweig, S. 2004. Phantastische Nacht. Frankfurt/Main: Fischer. Zweig, S. 1980. Vingt-quatre heures de la vie d’une femme. Paris: Librairie Générale Française. Selected story: Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau. PLAYS ali Dobbrow, D. 2004. Alina westwärts/Alina au loin. Toulouse: PUM. and Frisch, M. 1999. Andorra. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp. Frisch, M. 1965. Andorra. Paris: Gallimard. aut Syha, U. 2005. Autofahren in Deutschland/Conduire en Allemagne. Toulouse: PUM. bvn Kricheldorf, R. 2006. Die Ballade vom Nadelbaumkiller/La Ballade du tueur de conifères. Toulouse: PUM. caf Rinke, M. 2007. Café Umberto/Café Umberto. Toulouse: PUM. eis Richter, F. 2006. Unter Eis/Sous la glace. Toulouse: PUM. ele von Hofmannsthal, H. 2002. Électre/Elektra. Le Chevalier à la Rose/Der Rosenkavalier. Ariane à Naxos/Ariadne auf Naxos. Paris: Flammarion. Selected play: Elektra. frü Wedekind, F. 1997. Frühlings Erwachen. München: Goldmann. Wedekind, F. 1974. L’Eveil du printemps. Paris: Gallimard. her Berg, S. 2004. Herr Mautz/Monsieur M. Toulouse: PUM. kon Specht, K. 2003. Königinnendramen/Trois Reines. Toulouse: PUM. mlu Specht, K. 2005. Marieluise/Marieluise. Toulouse: PUM. ste Hochhuth, R. 2006. Der Stellvertreter. Reinbek: Rowohlt. Hochhuth, R. 1963. Le Vicaire. Paris: Seuil.


Abstract This paper explores the role of ideology in the Kurdish media from a translation studies perspective. It examines whether the translated texts available for the Kurdish readership are true versions of the source texts, or whether they are swayed by the ideological influences of the translator and/or the media agency. The paper provides a thorough examination of 14 journalistic texts (opinion articles and news reports) translated from English into Kurdish. It analyses how far ideology has played any role in translating these texts, and how it is reflected at the macro-textual as well as microtextual level. The paper’s ultimate objective is to shed light on the current status of translation activities in the Kurdish media in terms of impartiality, and thereby raise the awareness of the target readership about the degree of accuracy of the translation outputs provided by the Kurdish media. Keywords: Ideology, Iraqi Kurdish Media, Macro-textual Analysis, Microtextual Analysis, Translation Studies.

1. Introduction In this paper, I shall investigate the role of ideology in the context of translation activities published in the Kurdish media in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Since the Iraqi Kurdish media are still in their infancy and developmental process, they depend primarily on the Arab and English media as their sources. Due to the limited scope of this study, I shall only

Sabir Hasan Birot


investigate English texts translated into Kurdish to examine the role of ideology in such translation activities at macro-textual level, and more interestingly, at micro-textual level, and how this role, if any, is expressed in the translation. As a case study, the analysis is carried out in 14 English texts (see Appendix A) and their 22 translated versions in Kurdish (Appendix B), bearing in mind some texts have been translated by more than one media outlet. The texts are chosen on the basis of two criteria: (i) texts whose Kurdish versions are already published by one or more Kurdish media outlets; and (ii) texts whose topics revolve around political and economic issues in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, because it is hypothesised that such topics make a fertile ground for internal ideological conflicts. The texts are opinion articles and news reports, published in 2011 and 2012, and the ideologically motivated shifts discussed in this study are interpreted in light of Iraqi Kurdistan’s political landscape at that period. The texts are taken from diverse media institutions to make sure they represent media players from various ideological orientations operating in Kurdish society. For the purpose of this study, electronic copies of the source and target texts are taken from the online version of the chosen English and Kurdish media outlets. As it is acknowledged that the Kurdish language is not familiar to many readers, back-translation is provided in square brackets, which consists of a literal translation of the Kurdish extracts. In all the examples discussed in this paper, emphases are added to highlight areas of concern.

2. Ideology, language and translation There are different views regarding the use and definition of the term ideology. It is believed that the term was originally coined in the late 18th century, and “is normally attributed to Destutt de Tracy whose concern was with ‘the science of ideas’ which sought the origins of the ideas of human sensations” (Dant, 2011: 57). So, the term ideology emerged with a quite neutral connotation. However, Munday (2007: 196) claims: “…this neutral use soon gave way to the (Napoleonic) negative, political sense and to the (Marxian) sense of false consciousness, which has persisted so much that ideology nowadays has a generally negative connotation of distortion, manipulation or concealment.”

Given its contemporary connotations, the crucial question arises here: Does ideology have anything to do with language and translation? Paul Simpson (1993: 5) argues that “[l]anguage is not used in a contextless vacuum; rather, it is used in a host of discourse contexts, contexts which


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

are impregnated with the ideology of social systems and institutions”. Likewise, the British critical discourse analyst, Fairclough (2001: 2), asserts that “ideology is pervasively present in language”. It can therefore be postulated that ideology is also pervasively present in translation, since translation is carried out between languages. Schäffner (2003: 23) takes even a more extreme view, claiming not only that ideology is present in translation, but in fact “any translation is ideological since the choice of a source text and the use to which the subsequent target text is put is determined by the interest, aims, and objectives of the social agent”. This viewpoint mainly focuses on the role of ideology at the macro-level of discourse, i.e. the choice to translate one text and not another.

3. Ideology in translation at macro-textual level To study the role of ideology in translation in the Kurdish media systematically, we broadly classify the Kurdish media into three major ideological orientations: (i) the authority-affiliated media; (ii) the opposition media; and (iii) the independent (or so-called independent) media.1 It is also important to clarify that, as far as media is concerned, ideological conflicts in the Iraqi Kurdish society are mainly between the ruling parties there (authority), on the one hand, and the opposition parties and the independent media, on the other. These conflicts primarily revolve around issues of power-sharing, wealth-sharing and the model of governance. Therefore, any writings addressing such issues will potentially raise ideological conflicts. Bearing the above explanation in mind, we shall now examine the macro-textual level of the texts. To begin with, we shall present a table of the headlines of the chosen source texts (STs), along with the evaluative value of each text, the author, the publication in which the target text (TT) appeared and, finally, the ideological orientation of the publication. The evaluative values of the texts are defined from the authority’s point of view, i.e. whether the value of a given text is in line with the political and economic interests of the authority in the Kurdish region, thus marked as positive (+), or it is at odds with such interests, thus marked as negative (–). As the table below illustrates, all the authority-oriented media players only published translated texts that are positive from the authority’s point of view. By contrast, all the negative texts are translated and disseminated by the independent and/or opposition media. In other words, all the media outlets have chosen to translate texts that are in line with their ideological stance. This is an indication that, in general, the Kurdish media appear to be biased in their selection and translation of journalistic texts.

Sabir Hasan Birot


Table 1: Headlines and details of the chosen texts Ideological orientation

ST headlines


Kurdistan can be a model for democracy in a troubled region Iraqi Kurdistan Is Booming. Will It Ever Be a Separate State? Kurds May Lead the Way for the Arab Spring UK mission seeks to benefit from Iraq oil boom The dash for modernity


Robert Halfon




Larry Diamond









Kurdistan Is Important for Reform In Iraq and Middle East Negotiating Kirkuk Hard times looming for Iraq's Kurds Kurds angry at corruption they see in their own government The Other Other Iraq Why does Barzani oppose modern banking for Kurdistan? Kurdistan needs accountability




Xendan Sbeiy5

Authority Opposition



Michael Rubin


Kurdish minister received UK market abuse emails

Tom Bergin and Steve Slater


Kurdistan’s ‘$265 million’ National Security Council: Nepotism not good governance

Michael Rubin

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Value Author (ST)

Publication (TT)


+ + +

+ – – – –

Meghan L. O’Sullivan Kiran Stacey & Elizabeth Rigby William Hague Nadhim Zahawi and Meg Munn Denise Natali Sarah Reinheimer James Calderwood

Joseph Trento Sbeiy Michael Awene6 Rubin Lvinpress7 Kurdistanpost8 Kurdiu9 Hawlati10 Lvinpress Kurdiu Payam11 Hawlati Awene Lvinpress Kurdiu

Opposition Independent Independent Independent Opposition Independent Independent Opposition Opposition Independent Independent Independent Opposition


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

The rationale behind choosing only the headlines is that the headline is supposed to offer a short summary of the whole text and reflect its content. In some cases this can be misleading, though. For instance, headline 3 in the table, ‘Kurds May Lead the Way for the Arab Spring’, which is an opinion article by Meghan L. O’Sullivan. The headline may be perceived, at first glance, to reflect what was happening in the Arab World during the Arab Spring – popular uprisings against corruption and dictatorship – and thus the article seemingly supports the public against the authority in the Kurdish region. The content of the article, however, is quite different; it talks about the Kurdish uprising in Iraq in 1991 that led to the establishment of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Moreover, the writer takes a positive view of the Kurdish authority, stating in an extract: “The Kurds maintain a high degree of political and cultural autonomy under the Kurdistan Regional Government in the north of Iraq.” Likewise, headline 10 in the table, ‘The Other Other Iraq’, which is an article by Joseph Trento, does not seem to offer much information, unless one has some necessary background information about the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). After the US-led invasion of Iraq, which resulted in a volatile situation, the KRG launched a public relations campaign, claiming that the Kurdish Region does not look like the unstable Iraq, but it is the other Iraq. This was intended to send the message that, unlike the rest of Iraq, the Kurdish Region is stable and secure, and is a virgin land for foreign investment. In his article, Trento questions the other side of the other Iraq by negatively describing the practices of the Kurdish ruling parties and their leaders both at home and in their international relations. Thus, the article can be viewed as negative in its description of the Kurdish authority. It is interesting to note that the last three texts (two opinion articles and a news report) in the table above are covered by various independent and opposition media outlets. This is most probably due to the fact that the two opinion articles are written by Michael Rubin - a US scholar who is known in Iraqi Kurdish society as a severe critic of the authority in the Iraqi Kurdish region. His writings have always drawn the attention of the independent and opposition media. In contrast, the British MPs Robert Halfon and Nadhim Zahawi, and Foreign Secretary William Hague always have a positive opinion of the authority in the Iraqi Kurdish region, when writing about the region’s politics and economy. Then it comes as no surprise that their writings are translated by the authority-oriented media: Halfon’s article was translated by Xendan, Zahawi’s article was translated by the pro-government Rudaw and Hague’s opinion article was translated by the official website of the KRG’s representative in the UK. This

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division in translation between the different media orientations is by no means accidental, but it seems rather ideologically motivated.

4. Ideology in translation at micro-textual level We have seen above how ideology plays a vital role in translation at textual macro-level, which is reflected in the selection and translation of texts that are in favour of the ideology behind each media player. In theory, ideology also plays a significant role at textual micro-level, which is mainly reflected in choosing between various linguistic alternatives at the lexicogrammatical level. In this regard, Schäffner (2003: 23) argues that: “Ideological aspects can also be determined within a text itself, both at the lexical level (reflected, for example, in the deliberate choice or avoidance of a particular word) and the grammatical level (for example, use of passive structures to avoid an expression of agency)...”

To attest the application of the above argument in practice, I shall discuss some representative examples from the chosen texts to demonstrate how in practice ideological implications are presented at the micro-textual level. I shall also highlight the translation procedures12 employed to bring about such ideologically motivated changes. The most important part of a journalistic text may be the headline, which is the first part that grabs the attention of the reader. Therefore, changes in the headline would have a great impact on the way the text is perceived. Consider, for example, the tail of the headline of a news report by Reuters translated by four Kurdish media outlets in Table 2. The news report was covered by four Kurdish media outlets – the first two, Hawlati and Lvinpress, are independent media and the last two, Kurdiu and Payam, are opposition media. All four media outlets exploited the news report to use it against the Kurdish authority. First of all, neither the original headline nor the rest of the text contains the word corruption or any of its derivatives, whereas the word corruption is introduced into the headline as a key word in the translations by all four Kurdish media outlets. Furthermore, different media outlets used different translation procedures to further exploit the headline. In the translation by Lvinpress, the suffix ε (‘as well’) is added, which has drastically changed the meaning of the text.


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

Table 2: Translation of a news headline by various Kurdish media outlets Publication Reuters (ST) Hawlati Lvinpress Kurdiu


Headline Kurdish minister received UK market abuse emails: sources ΕΎ̯̈Ω ΍ή̰ηΎ΋ ϰϣ΍έϭ̷ϫ ϰΘηΎ΋ “ϰ̷̯ϴϴ‫̈׽‬Ϊϧ̷̳” ίέ̷Θϳ‫ئ‬έ Reuters Reveals Ashti Hawrami’s “corruption”) Ζ‫ض‬Ϡ̳ϩΩ ϩϭϪϴ‫׽‬ϩΪϧϪ̳ Ϫϟ εΎϴϧΎΘϳέϪΑ Ϫϟ ̶ϣ΍έϭϪϫ ϰΘηΎ΋ (Ashti Hawrami gets involved in corruption in Britain as well) ϭ Ζ‫ض‬Ϩ‫ض‬Ϡ̳ϩΩ ϩϭϪϴ‫׽‬ϩΪϧϪ̳ Ϫϟ ̶ϧΎΘϳέϪΑ ̶Ϝ‫ض‬γή̡έϪΑ ̶ϣ΍έϭϪϫ ̶ΘηΎ΋ :ίέϪΘϳ‫֘ئ‬ Ζ‫ض‬έΩϩΩ ΍ΰγ (Reuters: Ashti Hawrami gets a British official involved in corruption who gets punished) Ζ‫ض‬ΑϩΩ ΍ήϜηΎ΋ ̶ϣ΍έϭϪϫ ̶ΘηΎ΋ ̵ϪϜϳΩ ̶ϛϪϴ‫׽‬ϩΪϧϪ̳ (Another of Ashti Hawrami’s corruptions is revealed)

The covert meaning of the headline now indicates that Hawrami has been involved in corruption not only in Kurdistan but also in Britain. Kurdiu again has made fundamental changes in the meaning of the headline by changing passive voice to active voice. In the original headline, Hawrami is assigned a passive role; he has not done any actions, he has only received abuse emails. There is of course a possibility that he has something to do with the abuse emails, as there is also the possibility that he is innocent. The Kurdiu headline, however, attaches an active role to Hawrami, suggesting that it is not the British official that got Hawrami involved in the issue, but rather the other way round. Finally, the translation by Payam has also been dramatically exploited through adding the determiner another; the headline now suggests that Hawrami has been involved in various cases of corruption. What can be construed from the discussion above is that translation is not always a true and accurate version of the ST, but as Loupaki puts it (2010: 57): “There are numerous cases where translation changes the sequence of events, the positioning of participants, or framing. All these changes put a new perspective on the target text (TT) and may sometimes even result in a new reality, that is, a new reality as discursively constructed.”

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In addition to the headline, the apparently ideologically motivated changes also continue through the body of the texts. In this regard, consider the following examples: (1) Ian Hannam quit as JP Morgan's global chairman of equity capital markets after the FSA fined him 450,000 pounds ($712,400) for divulging privileged information in two emails in 2008. (Reuters) ϩϭ΍Ω ϩϭϪϠϳϪϤϴ΋ ̵Ϫ̴‫ض‬έ Ϫϟ ̶Ϩ‫ض‬Ϭϧ ̵έΎϴϧ΍ί ̵ϩϭϪ΋ ̵‫ا‬ϫϪΑ ϭϩ (ϢϧΎϫ ϥΎϳΎ΋) ̵ϭΎϧ Ϫγή̡έϪΑ ϭϪ΋ ̶ηϪϛϪΘγ‫ ̡ا‬Ϫϟ ϭϩϭ΍ήϛ Ϫϣ΍ήϏ ̶ϨϴϟέϪΘγϪ΋ ̵ϪϴϧϮΟ έ΍ίϪϫ 450 ̶ϣ΍έϭϪϫ ̶ΘηΎ΋ ϪΑ (Lvinpress) .ϩϭ΍ήΑϻ (The official is called Ian Hannam, and because he has given secret information via email to Ashti Hawrami, he has been fined 450,000 pounds and he has been removed from his position.) As the example illustrates, the meaning of the text is changed in the translation by shifting the intransitive verb quit to the transitive remove. This is indeed a significant change, because “transitivity has the facility to analyse the same event in different ways, a facility which is of course of great interest in newspaper analysis” (Fowler, 1991: 71). The translation simultaneously involves a shift from active voice to passive voice. In terms of translation procedures, this change is considered a modulation, which “is a variation of the form of the message, obtained by a change in the point of view” (Vinay and Darbelnet, 1995: 36). As a result of these changes, the translation version by Lvinpress produces a different picture in the mind of the target reader, suggesting that the issue in which Hawrami is involved is so serious that the British official connected to the issue has been dismissed. Moreover, whereas this particular extract in the ST does not mention Ashti Hawrami, the TT overtly states the name. This translation procedure is called explicitation, i.e. explicitly expressing what seems to be implicit information in the ST (cf. Munday, 2012: 90). (2) While the KIU used to have two imams in Zakho, they were fired a long time ago by the government. The KDP regulates the mosques and appoints the preachers. (The Kurdistan Tribune)13 ̷ϟ ̈έ‫ئ‬ί ̶̷̯ϳ̈ϭΎϣ ϭ ̈ϭϮΑ̷ϫ ̶Ϩϳ̷ϫ ̶Ϩ‫ض‬ϮΧέΎΗϭ ϭϭΩ ΍Ω‫ا‬Χ΍ί ̵έΎη ̷ϟ ̶ϣϼδϴ΋ ̵ϭϮΗή̴̷̯ϳ ̵‫ا‬Χ‫ا‬Α ϥΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̶Η΍ή̯ϮϤϳΩ ̶ΗέΎ̡ .ϥϭ΍ή̯έ̈Ω ̶Ϩ‫ض‬ϮΧέΎΗϭ ̷ϟ ̈ϭ̷Η‫̷پ‬γ̈Ω ϥ̷ϳϻ̷ϟ (Kurdistanpost) .ϥΎϳ̷̴‫ض‬Ο ̷Η‫ا‬ΘδΧ ̵‫ا‬Χ ̵̷̷̯ΗέΎ̡ ̷Α έ̷γ ̶Ϩ‫ض‬ϮΧέΎΗϭ (The KIU used to have two imams in Zakho, they were fired a long time ago by the authority. The KDP has appointed its party-affiliated preachers in their positions.)


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

Here, part of information in the ST is left open to different interpretations; while the government fired the KIU’s (Kurdistan Islamic Union) two imams, the KDP might have replaced them with independent preachers, or preachers from parties other than the KIU, or preachers from its own party. The TT, however, makes it explicit that the new imams are KDP-associates. This information may be true in reality, but since such information does not overtly exist in the ST, the explicitation can be construed as an ideologically motivated intervention on the part of the translator. (3) …KDP leader Masud Barzani has at long last acknowledged corruption is a problem. He, his nephew and current Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, and former Prime Minister Barham Salih have all promised to tackle corruption. Rhetoric alone does not defeat graft. (American Enterprise Institute)14 ̶‫̈׽‬Ϊϧ̷̳ ̷̯ ̵ΪϧΎϤϟ̷γ έΎΟ΍ϭΩ ϥΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̶Η΍ή̯ϮϤϳΩ ̶ΗέΎ̡ ̶̯‫ئ‬έ̷γ ̶ϧ΍ίέΎΑ ΩϮόγ̷ϣ... ήΗϮθ‫̶ ̡ض‬ϧ΍ήϳί̈ϭ ϙ‫ئ‬έ̷γ ϭ ̶ϧ΍ίέΎΑ ϥΎ‫ׅ‬ή̪‫ض‬ϧ ϥ΍ήϳί̈ϭ ϙ‫ئ‬έ̷γ ˬ̵̷̯΍ί΍ήΑ ϭ ϭ̷΋ .̷ϳ̷θ‫̯ض‬ ΎϬϧ̷Η̷Α ̵̬‫ض‬Βϧ΍ϭ̈έ ϭ ϥ΍ϭΪ‫ض‬ϟ .̈ϭ΍Ω ϥΎϴ‫̈׽‬Ϊϧ̷̳ ̶ϧΩή̯֙Α̷ϨΑ ̶Ϩ‫̷׽ض‬Α ϥΎϳϭϮϣ̷ϫ ΢‫׽‬Ύγ ϡ̷ϫέ̷Α (Awene) .ΕΎΒΑϭΎϧ̷ϟ ̶̯Ύ̡Ύϧ ϭ ̵έ̈ϭέ̷̡Ω΍ΩΎϧ Ζ‫ض‬ϧ΍ϮΗΎϧ (…KDP leader Masud Barzani has at last proved that corruption is a problem. He and his nephew, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, and former Prime Minister Barham Salih have all promised to eradicate corruption. Statement and rhetoric alone do not defeat injustice and treason.) As the example illustrates, the term graft is expanded, or rather paraphrased, as ̶̯Ύ̡Ύϧ ϭ ̵έ̈ϭέ̷̡Ω΍ΩΎϧ (injustice and treason). As defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2011), the term graft refers to “bribery and other corrupt measures pursued for gain in politics or business”. The translation obviously implies more than this. Consider the term treason alone, which is defined in the same dictionary as “the crime of doing something that could cause danger to your country, such as helping its enemies during a war”. Whereas both terms graft and treason are negative, referring to illegal actions, the latter carries a negatively stronger connotation that is considered a red line in many cultures, including the Iraqi Kurdish culture. Moreover, the negativity has been almost doubled since the term is preceded by another negative term: injustice. Another interesting example is the translation of the word family when it refers to the two Kurdish families that head the two ruling political

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parties; Talabani family referring to Jalal Talabani’s party (PUK) and Barzani family referring to Masoud Barzani’s party (KDP). The word family to refer to the two political parties occurs six times in the STs translated by the Sbeiy opposition media. In the following, consider the concordance results of the family in the STs (Text Box 1) and the concordance results of its Kurdish translations (Text Box 2). Both results are obtained from the concordancer facility of the WordSmith tools (Scott 2004): Text Box 1: concordance for the word family 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

headed by a member of the Talabani family and trained and armed by region of Iraq. Its two main political families grow wealthier by the the media. The Talabani and Barzani families have made a temporary cashing in by serving the interests of families who are fundamentally shared beyond these two political families. The gleaming new parties dominated by two powerful families have ruled the area for

Text Box 2: concordance for the Kurdish translations of the word family ϭ ΕΎϛϩΩ ̶ΗϪϳ΍ΩήϛέϪγ ̶ϧΎΑϪ‫׽‬ΎΗ ̵ϪϛϪϧ΍ΰ‫ض‬Χ ̶ϧΎϣ΍ΪϧϪ΋Ϫϟ Ϛ‫ض‬ϛϪϳ Ϫϛ ˬέ‫ئ‬ήϴΗ ϩ̫Ω ̵ϪϛϪϳ .1 ϦΑϩΩ ήΗΪϧϪϣϪ‫׽‬ϭϩΩ ̫‫ئ‬έ ϪΑ ̫‫ئ‬έ ϪϴγΎϴγ Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ϭΩ ϭϪ΋ ˬΖ‫ض‬ή‫̳ض‬ϩΪ‫ئ׽‬έ ΍Ϊϗ΍ή‫ض‬ϋ ̶ϧΎΘγΩέϮϛ .2 ϥΎϴΗΎϛ ̶ϛϪϴΘηΎ΋ ̶ϧΎΑϪ‫׽‬ΎΗ ϭ ̶ϧ΍ίέΎΑ ̵Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ˬϩϭΩήϛ ϥΎϳΪϴϣ ̶‫ئ׽‬ήΘϧ‫ا‬ϛ ϭ ϪϳϪϫ ϥΎϳ‫ا‬ϳΩ΍έ .3 ̶ΗϭϪϧ ̶ΗϩϭέϪγ ϦϴϧϩΩΎϣΎ΋ Ϫϛ ˬϥϪϛϩΩ Ϫϧ‫پ‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ϭϪ΋ ̵Ϊϧϩϭϩ̫έϪΑ ̶ΗϪϣΰΧ ˬϕ΍ή‫ض‬ϋ ̶̴ϧϪΟ .4 ̶ϧΎ̳έίΎΑ Ϛ‫ض‬ΪϧϪϫ ˬΖ‫ض‬ήϛΎϧ εϪΑ΍Ω ϩϭϪϳϪ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ϭΩ ϭϪ΋ ̶Θθ̡ Ϫϟ ϥΎϣΎγ ϪϳϪϫ Ϫθ‫ض‬ϛ ΎΘδ‫ض‬΋ .5 ̵΍֘ϩέϪγ ϥϭ΍ήϜΧέ‫ا‬ϗ ϩϭϩέ΍ΪΗ‫پ‬ϪγϩΩ ̵Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ϭΩ ϥϪϳϻϪϟ Ϫϛ (̶ΗέΎ̡ ϭ ̶Θ‫ض‬ϛϪϳ) έ΍ΪΗ‫پ‬Ϫγ .6 Except for the first occurrence, in which the word family is literally translated as ϥ΍ΰ‫ض‬Χ (family), the other five occurrences are translated as Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ (literally meaning clan). It can be strongly argued that the term clan has a pejorative connotation, especially when it comes to the system of administration and governance, because this suggests that the Kurdish authority exercises a clan-based rule rather than a democratic system of power. To explain the term in context, consider the ensuing example in more detail: (4) Its two main political families grow wealthier by the day on the oil riches. They build huge mansions back home with large staffs and private jets. They own radio and television stations and control the media. The Talabani and Barzani families have made a temporary peace as they divide up the riches of power… (DC Bureau)15


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

ˬΕϭϪϧ ̶ϧΎϣΎγ ̶ΑΎδΣ έϪγϪϟ ϦΑϩΩ ήΗΪϧϪϣϪ‫׽‬ϭϩΩ ̫‫ئ‬έ ϪΑ ̫‫ئ‬έ ϪϴγΎϴγ Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ϭϭΩ ϭϪ΋ ϭ ϥ‫ا‬ϳΰϓϪϟϪΗ ˬϪϳϪϫ ϥΎϴΗϪΒϳΎΗ ̶ϓΎΘγ ϭ Ϫϛ‫֙ئ‬ϓ ϭ ϩϭΩήϜΘγϭέΩ ϪΗ‫پ‬ϭ ϭϪϟ ϥΎϳϩέϭϪ̳ ̵έϻϪΗ ϥΎϴΗΎϛ ̶ϛϪϴΘηΎ΋ ̶ϧΎΑϪ‫׽‬ΎΗ ϭ ̶ϧ΍ίέΎΑ ̵Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ ˬϩϭΩήϛ ϥΎϳΎϳΪϴϣ ̶‫ئ׽‬ήΘϧ‫ا‬ϛ ϭ ϪϳϪϫ ϥΎϳ‫ا‬ϳΩ΍έ (Sbeiy) ...ϥϪϛϩΩ εϪΑ΍Ω ϪΗ‫پ‬ϭ ϭϪ΋ ̶ΗϩϭέϪγ ϪϜϧϮ̩ ˬϩϭΩήϛέϪΑϪΘγϩΩ (These two political clans grow wealthier day by day on the oil riches. They build huge mansions in the country with private staffs and private jets. They have radio and television stations and have controlled the media. The Talabani and Barzani clans have made a temporary peace as they divide up the wealth of the country…) In the above extract, the word family occurs twice and both cases are translated as Ϫ‫׽‬ΎϣϪϨΑ (clan). The first propositional sense of the term family sounds quite positive, implying that several related people live together in peace and they care for each other. When the term is used to describe a political organization, however, it sounds rather negative. In the example above, substituting family by clan sounds even more negative and pejorative in its description of the nature of the ruling political parties in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Another subtle, but interesting, change in the same extract is the omission of the adjective main in the phrase ‘the two main political families’. This text is translated by Sbeiy, which is the official website of the Change Movement. This political movement believes it is equally popular in Iraqi Kurdish society as each of the two ruling parties; hence, the ruling parties are not the only main parties in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. This is indeed the incorporation and reflection of political ideology in the act of translation. By contrast, in the texts translated by the authority-affiliated Xendan media corporation, the term family referring to the two Kurdish political parties only occurs once, which is literally translated as ϥ΍ΰ‫ض‬Χ: (5) The two long-ruling parties and dominant families (Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) have patched up their differences since the civil war of the mid-1990s. (The New Republic)16 ̶ϧΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̶Η΍ή̯ϮϤϳΩ ̶ΗέΎ̡ ) ̷̯̈ίϮϔϧ ϥ̈ϭΎΧ ̷ϧ΍ΰ‫ض‬Χ ϭϭΩ ϭ̷̯̈έ΍ΪΗ‫̷پ‬γ̈Ω ̷ΑΰϴΣ ϭϭΩ ϥΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̵ (̶ϧΎΑ̷‫׽‬ΎΗ ϝϻ̷Ο ̶ϧΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̶ϧΎϤϴΘθϴϧ ̶Θ‫̷̯ض‬ϳ ϭ ̶ϧ΍ίέΎΑ ΩϮόγ̷ϣ (Xendan) .̈ϭ̷ϧΎ̯̈Ωϭ̷ϧ ̶Θγ΍֘̈ϭΎϧ ̷ϟ ̈ϭ‫ا‬ΧϭΎϧ ̵̷֘η ̵΍ϭΩ ̷ϟ ̈ϭϮΘδΨ̷̯ϳ ϥΎϴϧΎ̷̯ϳί΍ϭΎϴΟ (The two long-ruling parties and popular families (Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) have patched up their differences since the civil war of the mid-1990s.)

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It is worth mentioning that since the example above is literally translated with no change or manipulation, it is not regarded as an ideologically motivated instance. Let’s now consider some examples of ideological manipulation in translations carried out by the authorityoriented media players: (6) Ultimately, a democracy can be judged by its respect for property rights, religious tolerance, the rule of law, equality towards women, equal access to education, a free press, and a vigorous political opposition. (The Commentator) ˬΎγΎϳ ̶ϤϛϮΣ ˬ̶ϨϴϳΎ΋ ̶ϳϩΩέϮΒ‫ض‬ϟ ˬ̶Θ‫ض‬έ΍ΪϜ‫׽‬Ϯϣ ̶ϧΎϛϪϓΎϣ Ϫϟ ̶ϨΗή̳ΰ‫ا̵ ֘ض‬ϫϪΑ έΎΟ΍ϭΩ ̶Ϝ‫ض‬ϧ‫ا‬ϴγί‫ا̡ا‬΋ ϭ Ω΍ίΎ΋ ̶ϛϪϳΎϳΪϴϣ ˬϥΪϨ‫ض‬ϮΧ ‫ا‬Α ϥΎδϛϪϳ ̶ϨΘθϳϪ̳΍֙ΘγϩΩ ˬϥΎϧ̫ ϪΑ ̶ϧΎδϛϪϳ (Xendan) .Ζ‫ض‬έΪΑ ϡϪ‫׽‬ϪϗϪϟ ̶γ΍ήϛϮϤϳΩ ϪΑ Ζ‫ض‬ήϧ΍ϮΗϩΩ ϥΎΘγΩέϮϛ ̶Ϥ‫ض‬έϪϫ ΰ‫ض‬ϫϪΑ ̶γΎϴγ (Ultimately, because of its respect for property rights, religious tolerance, the rule of law, equality towards women, equal access to education, a free press, and a strong political opposition, Kurdistan Region can be considered a democracy.) Here, the ST does not specifically talk about the Kurdistan Region, but it generally describes the characteristics of democracy or a democratic system. However, the TT suggests that Kurdistan can be regarded as a democracy because it meets such characteristics. That is, through the explicitation procedure, the translator has attributed a positive trait of governance – democracy – to the authority in the Kurdistan Region. This is a clear reflection of ideology in translation, because the ultimate goal of ideological manipulation is “to promote or legitimate the interests of a particular group” (Calzada Pérez, 2003: 5). (7) The region is going through a period of dynamic change – much of it for the good. (Official website of KRG representative in the UK) (Xendan) .Ζ‫ض‬ϨϴΑϩΩ ϩϭϪϳ‫ا‬Χ ϪΑ ׄϴΗϩί‫ ̡ا‬ϭ ΰ‫ض‬ϫϪΑ ϭ ΍ή‫ض‬Χ ̶̰‫ض‬ϧ΍֘‫ ̳ا‬ϥΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̶Ϥ‫ض‬έϪϫ (The Kurdistan Region is witnessing a fast, strong and positive change.) In the example above, one may wonder why the term dynamic is translated as fast, strong and positive. In fact the adjective dynamic does not have a ready equivalent in Kurdish; the translator then has to find a translation procedure to render it. There are a couple of possible alternative procedures, for instance, borrowing the word into Kurdish ̶̰ϴϣΎϨϳ΍Ω (which may not be understood by all readers), or translation by a near-synonym as ΰ‫ض‬ϫϪΑ (strong) or ̭ϻΎ̩ (active). In the example above, the


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

translator employed near-synonymy but also unnecessarily expanded it by rendering dynamic as ׄϴΗϩί‫ ̡ا‬ϭΰ‫ض‬ϫϪΑ ϭ ΍ή‫ض‬Χ (fast, strong and positive), which is also a sort of exaggeration. Another possible interpretation might be that the phrase ‘much of it for the good’ is translated as positive and brought forward to modify the term change. Whatever the reality is, the statement in the TT is more positive in its description of the process of change in the Kurdish Region of Iraq under the current authority. (8) The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS)… which now educates some 500 Iraqi students on the American model, is a sign of Iraqi Kurdistan’s evolution toward a modern, flourishing society. (The New Republic) ̶̰ϳήϣ̷΋ ̵ί΍Ϯ‫ض‬η έ̷γ̷ϟ έΎ̯ΪϨ‫ض‬ϮΧ (˾˹˹) ̵̷̰ϳΰϧ ̷̯ …ϕ΍ήϴϋ Ϫϟ ̶̰ϳήϣ̷΋ ̵‫̰ا‬ϧ΍ί ϭ ϥή‫ض‬Ω‫ا‬ϣ ̶̷̯ϳΎ̴‫̷׽‬ϣ‫ ̯ا‬ϭ̈έ̷Α ̷ϗ΍ή‫ض‬ϋ ̶ϧΎΘγΩέϮ̯ ̶ϧΪϧ̷γ̈έ̷̡ ̵̷ϧΎθϴϧ ˬΕΎ̯̈Ω ̈Ωέ̈ϭέ̷̡ (Xendan) .ϭϮΗϭ̷̯έ̷γ ̶̷̯ϳ̈Ϯ‫ض‬η̷Α ϭϭΩή̷̯η̷̳ (The American University of Iraq …which now educates some 500 students on the American model, is a sign of Iraqi Kurdistan’s evolution toward a modern and flourishing society, in a successful way.) Here, the translator added the phrase ‘in a successful way’ to attach a more positive sense to the text. In translation studies, this procedure is termed translation by addition (cf. Dickins et al., 2002: 24). As a result, the text now implies that Kurdistan is successful in its process of evolving toward a modern and flourishing society. (9) The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has fueled tensions by resettling Kurdish populations to Kirkuk, controlling the provincial council, and mobilizing its militia in the city center. (Foreign Policy) ̵ϩϭϪϧΩήϜ‫ض‬ΟϪΘθϴϧ ϩέΎΑϭϭΩ ϪΑ ϩϭϭΩήϛήΗΎϳί ̶ϧΎϛϪϴϳ̫ή̳έΎΑ ϥΎΘγΩέϮϛ ̶Ϥ‫ض‬έϪϫ ̶ΗϪϣϮϜΣ Ϫϟ ̶ϧΎϛϩΰ‫ض‬ϫ ϭ Ύ̳ΰ‫ض‬έΎ̡ ̶ϧϪϣϮΠϧϪ΋ έϪγϪΑ ϩϭϮΗή̴ϴΘγϩΩ ϭ ϙϮϛέϪϛ Ϫϟ ΩέϮϛ ̶ϧ΍ϮΘθϴϧ΍Ω (Xendan) .ϩϭϭΩήϛήϴ̴‫ض‬Ο ϪϛϩέΎη ̵έϪΘϧϪγ (The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has increased tensions by resettling Kurdish populations to Kirkuk, controlling the provincial council, and mobilizing its forces in the city center.) The text above is again translated by Xendan, in which the word militia refers to the Kurdish fighters affiliated with the ruling parties. The term militia has a negative connotation, referring to an unsystematic and unprofessional army that lacks proper training and military ethics and

Sabir Hasan Birot


disciplines. In the Kurdish translation, the term is replaced by the neutral word ϥΎϛϩΰ‫ض‬ϫ (forces). This change from a negatively expressive term to a neutral one is a translation procedure called “translation by a more neutral/less expressive word”, in Baker’s terms (2011: 25). Likewise, the verb fueled in the same example is used in a metaphorical sense, and is semantically expressive. In the TT, the verb is replaced by a plain, nonmetaphorical term as ΩήϛήΗΎϳί (increased). Thus, by translating negatively expressive words by less negatively expressive ones (i.e. neutralizing), the translator was able to reduce the negative force of the ST. A remarkable point here is the translation of this seemingly negative extract (from the Kurdish authority’s perspective) by an authorityaffiliated media sounds contradictory to what we concluded at macrotextual level. In fact this extract occurs in the opinion article ‘Negotiating Kirkuk’ by Denise Natali, who impartially speaks about the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk as the centre of potential issues after the US withdrawal from Iraq. So, the text on the whole is not particularly negative towards the Kurdish authority. Conversely, at certain points Natali takes a fairly positive tone when describing the Kurdish Region’s development and economy: “No longer victims of Saddam Hussein or a repressive central government, the Kurds have gained large freedoms to develop their northern region within the federal Iraqi state.”

Relevant to the term militia in the example above, a crucial question remained unanswered: Had the term occurred in texts translated by an opposition media outlet, would the same translation procedure (neutralising) be applied? To answer this question, it is worth considering the translation of the term in the ensuing extract rendered by the opposition Sbeiy media: (10) “We were not politicians. We were just people with requests,” Mr Kamal said. Their demands included an end to corruption, the release of detained protesters, justice for the victims' families, an end to harassment of protesters and the withdrawal of the KDP and the PUK militias… from cities. (The National)17 ϥΎϣ΍ϭ΍Ω Ϫϛ ϦϳϮΑ Ϛ‫׽‬ϪΧ Ϛ‫׽ض‬Ϫϣ‫ا‬ϛ ΎϬϧϪΗ ϦϳϮΑϪϧ ̶γΎϴγ ϪϤ‫ض‬΋ ...Ζ‫׽ض‬ϩΩ έϩΰ‫ض‬έΎ̡ ̶ϟΎϣϪϛ ϥ΍ϭέΎϛ ̶ϧΎϛϩϭ΍ήϴ̳ ̶ϧΩήϛΩ΍ίΎ΋ ϭ ̶‫׽‬ϩΪϧϪ̳ ϪΑ ϥΎϨ‫ض‬ϫ ̶ϳΎΗ‫ا‬ϛ Ϫϟ ϥϭϮΑ ̶ΘϳήΑ ϥΎϤϧΎϛ΍ϭ΍Ω ˬϭϮΑϪϫ ϪΑ ϥΎϨ‫ض‬ϬϳΎΗ‫ا‬ϛ ϭ Ζ‫ض‬ήϜΑέϪΑϪΘγϩΩ ϥΎϛϪϴϧΎΑέϮϗ ̵έΎϛϮγϪϛ ‫ا‬Α ̵έϩϭέϪ̡Ω΍Ω ϭ ϥΎϛϪϧ΍ΪϧΎθϴ̡‫ا‬Χ .΍ΪϧΎϛϩέΎη Ϫϟ ̶ΗέΎ̡ ϭ ̶Θ‫ض‬ϛϪϳ ̶ϧΎϛΎϴθϴϠϴϣ ̵ϩϭϪϧΎθϛ ϭ ϥ΍ΪϧΎθϴ̡‫ا‬Χ ̶ϧΩήϜΗϮϛέϪγ (Sbeiy)


The Role of Ideology in Translation: A Study of the Kurdish Media

(The lawyer Karwan Kamal says...we were not politicians, we were just people with demands. Our demands included an end to corruption, the release of detained protesters, justice for the victims' families, an end to crackdown on protests and the withdrawal of the KDP and the PUK militias from cities.) Unlike the translation by Xendan, which is a pro-authority paper, the opposition Sbeiy media translated the term militia by direct borrowing from English as ΎϴθϴϠϴϣ (militia), i.e. transferring the negative connotation intact into the TT. The use of various translation procedures to change and manipulate terms and utterances at the micro-textual level, as we have seen in the examples above, is most likely to be ideologically motivated. In fact, behind a translator’s efforts to make changes and manipulations, “there is a voluntary act that reveals his history and the social-political milieu that surrounds him” (Álvarez and Vidal, 1996: 5), this milieu being shaped by his/her own culture and ideology. The examples above are also a confirmation that ideology, whether rightfully or (more possibly) wrongfully, “allows a certain degree of autonomy for the individual translator to operate according to his or her specific ideological or ethical beliefs and preferences” (Munday, 2007: 44).

5. Conclusion Media translation is not an impartial activity as it seems to be. In many cases, ideological impacts of media outlets are forced upon their translation products. In the context of the Kurdish media, we have established that ideology plays a significant role in the translation of texts dealing with political and economic issues in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Each of the three prominent media orientations in Kurdish society – authority, opposition and independent media – seems to be ideologically biased in its selection and translation of journalistic texts. This is the manifestation of ideology at the macro-level of discourse. In the same vein, the micro-textual level is also significantly exploited either in favour of the ideology behind a given player or against a rival ideology. As far as the Kurdish media are concerned, the authorityaffiliated media used ideological manipulation in favour of the Kurdish authority, whereas opposition and independent media used ideological manipulation against the Kurdish authority. Manipulation at the microtextual level is established through various translation procedures, such as explicitation, addition, omission, expansion and neutralisation.

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While it should be acknowledged that the selection of texts to translate is usually the choice of the commissioner or the editorial board of a media outlet, manipulations within texts are always under the translator’s control. Hence, this paper’s ultimate recommendation is that the translation act should not be used as a ground for ideological conflicts, especially at the micro-level, since changes and shifts at this level are so subtle that they can easily be misleading. Besides, it is usually at this level that translators enjoy a degree of freedom, but this freedom should not lead to ideological manipulation. Instead, translators are expected to preserve impartiality and respect their professionalism. Finally, the Kurdish readership are urged to be aware that the translation products provided by the Iraqi Kurdish media may not be a completely accurate version of the source texts originally written by foreign people to represent their views and understandings of political and economic issues in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Acknowledgement I would like to thank Jeremy Munday and James Dickins as well as an anonymous reviewer for their comments on a previous version of the paper.

Notes 1. There is no definite name used to describe the media outside the authority and the opposition. They are referred to as ‘independent media’, ‘free media’, ‘private media’, or even ‘so-called independent media’. In this paper, we shall use the term ‘independent media’ since this is the label of their choice. 2. Xendan is a Kurdish media corporation, which is believed to belong to Dr. Barham Salih, former Prime Minister of the KRG (20102012). 3. Rudaw