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Panel 9. News translation challenging Adaptation, Transfer and Translation Studies

Since it was institutionalised as a field of investigation by the Warwick project from 2004 to 2006 (Conway & Bassnett, 2006), research into ‘news translation’ has kept pushing the boundaries of translation, Translation Studies and, with it, neighbouring disciplines. Scholars with interdisciplinary backgrounds have defied institutional borderlines by resorting to methods and theories from related disciplines, such as adaptation, agenda setting, ethnography, discourse analysis, public problems, etc. Others have questioned the adequacy of the concept of ‘translation’ and suggested new labels for the phenomena they observed in news production: adaptation, localisation, rewriting, transediting, translanguaging, transfer, etc. Their studies therefore addressed the issue of defining or redefining translation. As a follow-up to the panel “News Translation: Subverting the Discipline” (7th EST Congress 2013), this panel reviews progress made since August 2013, discusses new or unsolved questions and focusses on possible exchanges among Adaptation, Transfer and Translation Studies (among others). In fact, as scholars of Translation Studies, we wish to explore ways of exporting our methods and concepts to other disciplines (extradisciplinarity).

This panel is therefore also interested in interdisciplinary contributions or papers from disciplines that are closely related to Translation Studies, such as Adaptation Studies or Transfer Studies. A wealth of research methods is expected, from the analysis of parallel corpora (although there are not many of them in the news) to frame analysis on comparable texts or field work. Papers addressing methodological or conceptual considerations are particularly welcome.

How do media “deal with linguistic diversity and […] communicate information across linguistic borders” (Bielsa and Bassnett 2009: 58)? This question asked in Bielsa and Bassnett’s seminal book Translation in Global News has only received local and partial answers so far. Scholars have indeed ventured into different media: newspapers (in paper and electronic format), newswires, TV, radio, news websites and press releases by international organisations. However, their studies are still restricted to a relatively small number of countries: Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, among others. Considering the fundamental role translation plays in naming and shaping the news, more descriptive studies are required to provide the scientific community with a broad understanding of news translation.

The following questions will be addressed in this panel:

What are the theoretical and methodological challenges to researching the phenomena of news translation? Is research into news translation devoting enough attention to its methodology? Do researchers spend too much time and effort on defining concepts? Are the terms ‘adaptation’ and ‘transfer’ questioning the integrity of Translation Studies? Are they limiting translation to a very narrow linguistic sense? On the contrary, are they best suited to describe what happens in media and non-media organisations? In other words, may the choice of these labels favour or hinder the development of news translation?

Relevant topics include but are not limited to:

  • translating vs. adapting the news
  • multilingualism/translation/language policies/strategies of multilingual communication in
    newsrooms and news producing organisations
  • transnational multilingual news flows
  • selection/deselection of sources according to linguistic/cultural reasons
  • translation/adaptation in organisational workflows
  • challenges posed by translation/adaptation in convergent newsrooms
  • status of journalists/translators/’journalators’
  • methodological challenges presented by the study of news translation

We welcome proposals that explore the phenomena of news translation/adaptation/transfer drawing on a wide range of methods.