Ideological and Evaluative Shifts in Media Translation/Trans-editing

أشرف عبد الفتاح
معهد دراسات الترجمة، جامعة حمد بن خليفة


Analysis of news stories reported by the media generally reveals the operation of complex axiological and ideological criteria for selection and transformation. These complex criteria of newsworthiness, or ‘news values’, are said to perform a ‘gate-keeping’ role, filtering and restricting news output (Fowler, 1991). The writers of news reports construe for themselves particular authorial identities, constructing actual or potential audiences, with conceived values and beliefs, and adopting attitudinal positions and evaluative stances vis-à-vis the events, people and situations they report on.

Adopting the appraisal theory (Martin and White, 2005), which is based on the Systemic Functional Linguistic paradigm (Halliday, 2004/1994), as the main theoretical model for analysis, and using samples from the BBC online English hard news reports and their corresponding Arabic versions, together with their accompanying images, this presentation will explore the most salient ideological and evaluative shifts or divergences in news translation or ‘transediting’ (Stetting, 1989). While comparing two language versions of online news stories produced by the BBC, this presentation will shed light on the various overt and covert manifestations of their ideological and attitudinal potential, which is lurking behind a veneer of ‘objectivity’ and ‘impartiality’ typical of hard news reports.

Among other things, this presentation will seek to address the following questions: how could an English ‘hard news’ report and its corresponding Arabic version advance two opposing evaluative or ideological positions, into which their respective readers are being aligned, while maintaining the façade of neutrality, detachment and objectivity that seems to be characteristic of hard news reports? To what extent are any observed shifts or mismatches in attitudinal and evaluative positioning justifiable by the need for the Arabic version to be congenial to the target audience? (cf. Bielsa and Bassnett, 2009) How do such shifts reflect on the projected authorial identity of the BBC as construed in the English and Arabic texts? And what implications could those observed evaluative shifts have for the assessment of media translation in general?

KEYWORDS: attribution – evaluation – ideology- hard news – media – trans-editing – transitivity – translation.