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SHIFTING READERSHIPS IN JOURNALISTIC TRANSLATION
Eirlys E. Davies a a King Fahd School of Translation, Tangier, Morocco Online Publication Date: 08 December 2006
To cite this Article Davies, Eirlys E.(2006)'SHIFTING READERSHIPS IN JOURNALISTIC TRANSLATION',Perspectives,14:2,83 — 98 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/09076760608669022 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09076760608669022
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SHIFTING READERSHIPS IN JOURNALISTIC TRANSLATION Eirlys E. Davies, King Fahd School of Translation, Tangier, Morocco firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract Taking as a basis for discussion an article from the British press and its translation into French, this paper examines the ways in which the content of such journalistic texts may be judged to require adaptation to suit the needs of the target audience. It focuses on the strategies of omission and addition frequently adopted in this translation, and relates the decisions made to the relative importance or relevance of certain elements in the source text. Key concepts have to be clearly conveyed even if this sometimes requires lengthy or even clumsy insertions, but other components of the article, despite contributing much to its appeal to the original readers, may be judged cumbersome, obscure, or quite simply superfluous in the translation. The translator’s decisions aim at preserving a balance between conveying the essential and ensuring that the organisation, tone and style are acceptable to the target audience. Key words: English-French translation; journalism; fidelity in translation; omission and addition in translation; varying readerships.
Introduction Journalistic translation is often seen as something relatively straightforward, as bread and butter compared to the jam and cream of literary translation. Thus while students of translation may feel that the translation of literature demands a creativity and ingenuity which is beyond them, they may be confident in their ability to make an effective translation of a newspaper article simply by producing a clear and accurate paraphrase of the content of the source text. This task may seem all the easier if the readerships of the source and target texts are relatively similar in cultural background and outlook. In today’s globalised world, journalistic translation does indeed provide the bread and butter for many translators. The work of many respected journalists crosses national and language boundaries; for instance, columns originally published in a single British or French newspaper may be translated into several other languages and be read by people across Europe. Yet despite the common European background of these various readers, it will be argued below that the translator’s task is often not as simple as might be thought. For an article to be successfully transmitted even to readers in an immediately neighbouring country, such as France in the case of a British source text, various types of adaptations may need to be made to the content and style of the original. This will be illustrated through a detailed comparison of one article and its translation. The study takes for its subject a single comment article. The source text, How the dreaded superstate became a commonwealth, by Timothy Garton Ash, appeared in English in the British daily The Guardian on October 6 2005, while its translation into French by Julie Marcot was published in the French daily Le Monde three days later, on October 9. The article is inspired by the European Union’s hotly debated decision to open membership negotiations with Turkey. While many articles published at the same time as Garton Ash’s were concerned largely with the question of whether Turkey’s admission was desirable or not, Garton Ash adopts a wider perspective and takes as his major topic the implications
0907-676X/06/02/083-15 $20.00 Perspectives: Studies in Translatology © 2006 Eirlys E. Davies Vol. 14, No. 2, 2006
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of the decision for the status of the EU itself, claiming that the opening up of negotiations with Turkey, whether or not they culminate in its admission, will lead to further enlargement of the European Union, which will in turn ensure that its status evolves into the looser association of states he refers to as a commonwealth, rather than the tightly bound unit he calls a superstate. His views on whether Turkey should be admitted or not appear in three paragraphs towards the end of the article, but these function almost as a digression from his main point, to which he returns in the concluding paragraph. Of course, the comparison of a translated journalistic article with its source is not a common activity among the intended audience of either the source or the target text. Those who are accustomed to reading in the language of the source text will not usually feel the need to seek out another version of it, while those who read the translated version of a text usually do so because they cannot read the original, either because they are not fluent in the source language or because they simply do not have access to it. It seems fair to say, then, that the translators of such articles would not normally expect their translations to come under close scrutiny from readers searching for discrepancies between source and target materials. For the student of translation, however, such comparisons may be very fruitful. The comparison made here reveals that the translator has not simply rewritten Garton Ash’s remarks in French, but has made many adjustments and adaptations, most of them relatively minor when looked at one by one, but which when viewed as a set can be seen to reflect certain general strategies for dealing with aspects of the text which may be problematic if presented without change to the target audience. On the one hand there are many instances of omission or simplification, where elements contained in the source text are not included in the translation; on the other, there are a number of instances where the translator has used addition or elaboration, incorporating into the translation material not present in the source text. Discussions of translation procedures frequently seem to imply that strategies like these are incompatible with the goal of fidelity. For instance, the strategy of omitting from the translation elements present in the source text has often been referred to as some kind of weakness or failing on the translator’s part; thus Clifford Landers (2001: 95) describes omission as “the equivalent of unconditional surrender, an admission that a certain word, phrase or construction is beyond the translator’s ability to render.” Similarly, Antoine Berman (2000: 288) includes expansion, the process of adding to the translation material not present in the source text, as one item in his list of twelve “deforming tendencies” found in translations. The discussion below will attempt to show that, on the contrary, both omission and expansion may be necessary and effective translation strategies. It will illustrate the important distinction between elements which are essential to a text’s message or effect, and which therefore need to be included in a translation even at the cost of elaboration or insertion, and those whose presence in a translation may constitute an obstacle to its communicative success, and which therefore may justifiably be omitted. With the change of readership may come a change of perspective which causes certain elements to become less relevant or crucial in the translation than they might have been for the original audience, while other elements almost taken for granted in the source text may
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation.
need more emphasis and attention in the translation. Most of the omissions and additions opted for by Marcot in her translation can in fact be seen as ways of dealing with a few key characteristics of the source text, and these will be examined in turn below. The treatment of labels for key concepts One noticeable set of variations between the content of source text and translation is found in the treatment of two terms used repeatedly by Garton Ash: “superstate” and “commonwealth.” As the title indicates, it is the opposition between these two concepts which is at the heart of Garton Ash’s argument, and if this contrast is not made clear then the whole article will be a communicative failure. The opposition is plainly set out in the second sentence of the source text, and Marcot’s translation is obviously intended to make the distinction equally clear to Francophone readers:
(1) It chose to become an all-European commonwealth, not the part-European superstate of Tory nightmares. (2) … elle a choisi de devenir une union d’Etats paneuropéenne, plutôt qu’une organisation supranationale partiellement européenne.
It will be noted that while the English version uses two single nouns, “commonwealth” and “superstate,” to encapsulate the two concepts, the French has to resort to the phrases “union d’Etats” and “organisation supranationale.” While both the English terms would probably be familiar everyday terms for the average newspaper reader, the French phrases sound slightly technical. A quick Google search produced 168,000,000 hits for “commonwealth” (interestingly, 1,840,000 of these were on French web pages) as opposed to only 835 for “union d’Etats;” “superstate” yielded 230,000 hits and “organisation supranationale” a mere 673. Even allowing for the discrepancy between the quantities of English and French material on the web, these differences are telling. The opposition as expressed in English seems fairly straightforward and easily recognised, whereas the French formulation seems rather more demanding. However, it is clear that the translator’s priority here must be precision and clarity: the distinction being drawn is absolutely crucial for the understanding of the article as a whole, and in such a case no translator would be tempted to sacrifice exactitude for greater simplicity or stylistic elegance. The term “superstate” recurs in paragraph 5 of the source text, and this time the translation uses the phrase “entité supranationale” (404 Google hits), which suggests that the term “organisation” used earlier is not felt to be the only or even the best possible translation equivalent. The two terms reappear in paragraph 8 of the source text, where Garton Ash contrasts both concepts with that of a free-trade zone, and provides clarification of what he means by commonwealth, explicitly signalling, through the comment “for want of a better term”, his awareness that the term itself may not be perfectly transparent, and distancing his concept somewhat from that exemplified by the present British Commonwealth.
(3) The prospect, rather, is of an entity that is as far beyond a free-trade zone as it is short of a centralised superstate. For want of a better term, I describe this
2006. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology. Volume 14: 2 unprecedented continent-wide political community as a commonwealth – but I have in mind something more like the early modern Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth than today’s British commonwealth.
Interestingly, the translator has here simplified the original statement in such a way as to avoid having to refer to the concept of superstate at all, possibly because of a certain dissatisfaction with both the renderings used so far. On the other hand, she has also innovated here by adopting the term “commonwealth” and using it three times, the first mention being accompanied by quotation marks, presumably to acknowledge its borrowed status, and followed by an explanatory appositive phrase. She has also chosen to add some information not contained in the source text – the precise title and dates of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth.
(4) Ce qui s’annonce, c’est plutôt un ensemble politique continental sans précédent que, faute de mieux, je qualifierais de ‘Commonwealth’, union d’Etats pour le bien commun, mais un Commonwealth plus proche de l’union polono-lithuanienne du début des temps modernes – dite République des Deuxnations, 1569-1795 – que de l’actuel Commonwealth britannique.
Again we see the translator going to considerable lengths to clarify the meaning, even at the cost of inserting glosses which slow down the text’s progression and, in the second case, introduce very precise detail which the readers of the source text were not offered. The other two contexts where Garton Ash cites his two key concepts are perhaps the most significant elements in the article’s structure: its title (5) and its closing sentence (7). Their prominence here confirms their crucial role to even the most casual reader. Yet in the translation they are absent from both title and closure:
(5) (6) (7) (8) How the dreaded superstate became a commonwealth (English title) Un grand merci à la Turquie (French title) It has decided that Europe will be a commonwealth and not a superstate. Elle a décidé ce qu’elle-même serait et ne serait pas.
This might at first sight seem surprising; in discarding Garton Ash’s terms here, Marcot has lost an effective symmetry which is not merely stylistically attractive but also serves to highlight the key concepts. However, the avoidance here is understandable in the light of the difficulties posed by these terms’ translation. In wrestling with these terms, the translator has tried alternative renderings of “superstate”, and even, in (4) above, its omission, while she has ultimately felt the need to use the borrowed item “commonwealth” and to go to considerable lengths to clarify its meaning. A title incorporating both of these concepts and making them sufficiently transparent for the French reader might indeed turn out to be unwieldy and uninviting. Instead, the entirely new title is short and snappy, focussing on a simple evaluation of Turkey’s influence as something positive rather than making explicit its consequences, and probably more inviting to the average reader than any straight translation of the English title could have been. The same considerations seem to lie behind the simplification of the article’s concluding sentence; one suspects that the translator may have felt
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation.
disinclined to end the text with the very terms whose previous renderings may have seemed less than satisfactory. While she has succeeded in conveying the meaning of the two concepts earlier in the article, this has perhaps been at the cost of a certain loss of concision. The priority in the closure is again for something neat, brief and minimal. In fact, then, the tracing of the translator’s handling of these two key terms throughout the article provides us with an interesting illustration of the interplay of various factors in determining a translator’s use of omission and insertions. While the translator here was clearly duty-bound to provide a clear explication of the intended meanings of these two key terms, which led her to resort to expansion or the inclusion of additional material, aesthetic and organisational considerations seem to have led to the decision to resort to omission at other points. The treatment of markers of in-group solidarity A second interesting feature of the source text is the extent to which the author draws on assumptions of a background shared with his original readers, and indeed writes in such a way as to create the impression of a certain complicity between author and readers. Director of the European Studies Centre at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, Timothy Garton Ash is well known to Guardian readers as a regular columnist, and doubtless possesses a faithful following of readers who will not miss any of his contributions. He can therefore make certain assumptions about the background, tastes, and political opinions of these regular Guardian readers. These assumptions are in fact detectable in several places within the article under study. In fact, even the title of the article will certainly strike a chord with many readers, who will recognise that in using the phrase “dreaded superstate” Garton Ash is alluding to the discourse of British Eurosceptics who frequently evoke the possibility of a European superstate as a totally undesirable, alarming prospect, thereby seeking to recruit others to their cause. The adjective “dreaded” here, with its almost comically dramatic overtones, seems more like an allusion to the discourse of the Eurosceptics than a description Garton Ash himself would choose to use. This becomes clearer within the text, when in the second sentence he refers to “the part-European superstate of Tory nightmares.” In paragraph 5 he incorporates a more direct attack on the Eurosceptics:
(9) Now only someone possessed of the deliberate obtuseness of a Daily Mail leader writer could suppose that such a broad, diverse European Union will ever be a Napoleonic, federal (in the Eurosceptic sense of the F-word), centralised, bureaucratic superstate.
Here Garton Ash not only explicitly criticises the tone of Daily Mail editorials, but conveys gentle mockery via this long detailed catalogue of the properties of the supposed superstate, which could be read as a parody of the Eurosceptics’ discourse. The final touch is of course the joky labelling of “federal” as “the Fword” in order to poke fun at the horror with which Eurosceptics regard the prospect of a federal Europe. Throughout, he is evidently confident that his Guardian readers will share his attitude and appreciate the humour. And it is indeed the case that Daily Mail readers tend to be Tory voters and Eurosceptics,
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while Guardian readers are typically Europhile and anti-Tory; for instance, a MORI poll conducted in late 2004 found only 5% of Guardian readers intending to vote Conservative, the lowest percentage of any British daily’s readership, while 53% of Daily Mail readers declared that they would vote Tory, a figure second only to that for Daily Telegraph readers (Ipsos MORI 2005). But what would outsiders make of the tone here? Obviously the sarcasm and humour may not be immediately recognisable to those unfamiliar with current British debate over Europe, and with the political leanings of the readership of particular newspapers. More than this, what is amusing to the typical Guardian reader may not be appreciated by those of other political colours. The shift of audience that occurs when this text is translated thus has significant implications for the effectiveness of these components of the article. Recognising that a Francophone audience is highly unlikely to share the assumptions of the original readership, the translator has quite simply reduced or entirely suppressed these elements. So, as we have already noted, the “dreaded superstate” does not feature in the new French title (indeed, the problem of how to capture the flavour of “dreaded” here might be seen as an additional motivation for the change of title), and the reference to “Tory nightmares” is likewise dropped in the French (see (2) and (6)). The specific attack on Daily Mail writers is replaced with a much broader and more accessible reference to British Eurosceptics in general, the exaggerated string of adjectives listing the defects of a superstate is reduced, and naturally enough the language-specific humour of the allusion to the F-word is also omitted, so that extract (9) is rendered as (10):
(10) Il faut être un eurosceptique britannique des plus obtus pour croire encore qu’une telle Union, si vaste et si diverse, formera une entité supranationale et centralisée de type napoléonien.
There are other choices too which give the translation a more distant, less solidary tone than the original. For instance, at several places in the source text Garton Ash achieves a rather informal, almost conversational tone by incorporating second person references directly appealing to the readers and thereby giving the illusion of a certain familiarity between them and the author:
(11) You see, the main effect of the bitterly contested opening… (12) Meanwhile, I don’t want you to think I’m ducking the question of Turkish membership.
These are absent from the corresponding parts of the translation:
(13) Mais elle a pour effet de … (14) Je n’esquive pas ici la question de l’adhésion de la Turquie.
One could also note the absence from the translation of any equivalent of the anecdotal phrase “I recently heard …” which is quoted below as (24). The absence of these elements makes the tone of the translation somewhat more impersonal than that of the original. In addition, besides the humorous use of the term “F-word,” it is worth noting a number of other colloquialisms in the source text which also add to the informal tone:
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation. (15) What the hell, one or two more small countries won’t make that much difference anyway. (16) The answer is what Americans call a ‘no-brainer’.
The translation of these parts, while also relatively informal, does not seem to match the slangy tone of “what the hell” and “no-brainer”:
(17) Bon, d’accord. Un ou deux petits pays de plus ou de moins … (18) Inutile de se casser la tête.
There is also the use of the informal term “Brits” in the source text, whereas the French version uses the standard “Britanniques” throughout. One final aspect of the source text which could be considered to enhance the sense of complicity between author and readers is the use of intertextuality, as seen in the following extracts:
(19) The question to ask is not what Europe will do for Turkey, but what Turkey has done for Europe. (20) We have promises to keep.
The Guardian reader will certainly recognise the allusion to Kennedy’s inaugural speech in the subheading (19), and will recall Robert Frost on reading (20):
(21) Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. (J. F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, January 20, 1961) (22) But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. (Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening)
The sense of shared background inspired by recognition of these allusions will not be available for the French readers; the subheading is simply omitted from the translation, and the straight translation of (21) is unlikely to be very evocative:
(23) Nous avons des promesses à tenir.
The cumulative effect of the absence from the translation of all these elements which signal shared background, familiarity and informality is to yield a less personal, more distant tone. And in fact I would argue that this is a logical enough approach here. Translated into French, the text is now being directed to a new, outsider audience of Francophones with whom the author would certainly not share as much as he does with the original audience of Anglophone Guardian readers. To attempt to recreate the solidary tone and in-group references of the original in the French version would be inappropriate and probably unsuccessful. Whether or not the semantic content of the two versions is exactly equivalent, it must be recognised that a text in which a British intellectual addresses other British intellectuals of similar political views cannot have exactly the same pragmatic effect when it is diverted to a French audience. The translator in this case has taken account of this difference.
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The treatment of changes in relevance The shift from a largely British audience to a French one also has implications for the perceived relevance of certain content elements. We have already noted the removal from the French version of the sarcastic remarks poking fun at the Conservatives’ hostility to Europe, which would be at best relatively uninteresting, at worst quite incomprehensible to the French audience. The same considerations would seem to lie behind the omission in the translation of the detailed references to those who wish the European Union to become a free-trade-zone.
(24) That’s one reason Margaret Thatcher loved enlargement. I recently heard a leading member of the Conservative shadow cabinet say explicitly that he likes the prospect of further widening because it will make the EU what it should be, a large free-trade-area.
While British readers may appreciate these details, for French readers who do not follow British politics closely they will be less important. The translator in fact chose to omit the references to these two specific individuals altogether and to substitute a broader single statement about British Conservatives in general:
(25) C’est effectivement pour cette raison que les conservateurs britanniques adorent l’élargissement.
It is also easy to understand why the translation does not provide any equivalent of the two sentences before the remarks cited in (24), which are here reproduced as (26):
(26) That is what continental Europeans classically charge the British with wanting. Indeed, that is what some Brits do want Europe to be.
Here the author is in effect informing the British about the impression the French have of them; once the text is shifted to a French speaking audience, this hardly seems necessary or relevant. Other omissions obviously justifiable on grounds of irrelevance include the various instances of metalinguistic content. These include the attribution of the term “no-brainer” to the Americans, seen in (16) above; clearly this has no place in a translation which does not use the term anyway. Another appears in (27), which is translated as (28):
(27) I would say that the European Union should have a special partnership (Angela Merkel’s term) with Turkey. (28) Je serais partisan d’un partenariat privilégié avec la Turquie.
The French term “partenariat privilégié” is perhaps not particularly associated with Angela Merkel, so it would be inappropriate to retain the parenthesis in the translation. The examples discussed in this section again illustrate the point that the pragmatic effect of a remark in its original context may not be preserved if the remark is then transmitted to a different audience via translation. Relevance is always a context-dependent property, and a change of context may thus lead to loss of relevance (see Davies 2002).
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation.
The treatment of stylistic devices The expectations of the source and target audiences may differ not only with regard to the information that should be included in a text, but also with regard to the way this information is formulated. Stylistic devices do not always cross well from one language into another, even when the languages concerned are as close as French and English are often perceived to be. A survey of the modifications made by Marcot in her French translation reveals several changes which seem to be motivated by the need to respect a general stylistic norm. In a number of places, Garton Ash uses the device of repetition of words or phrases, whether for emphasis or simply as a cohesive device serving to hold the discourse together.
(29) You see, the main effect of the bitterly contested opening of membership negotiations with Turkey is not to ... The main effect is to ... (paragraph 1) (30) They will immediately start agitating for their neighbours to join them, just as Poland is now agitating for a promise to Ukraine. (paragraph 2) (31) Because at its eastern and south-eastern borders Europe does not end. It merely fades away. It fades away across the great expanses of Turkey and Russia.
In the French versions of these passages, the translator seems to have been at pains to avoid repeating the same phrases:
(32) L’ouverture, arraché de haute lutte, des négociations d’adhésion avec la Turquie ne garantit pas … Mais elle a pour effet de … (33) Il fera des pieds et des mains pour que ses voisins puissent adhérer, comme la Pologne le fait aujourd’hui en faveur de l’Ukraine. (34) Parce qu’à ses frontières de l’est et du Sud-Est, l’Europe ne disparaît pas, elle s’estompe.
Thus “the main effect” (29) is conveyed in French via two different phrasings, the first using the verb “garantir” and the second the phrase “avoir pour effet;” the repetition of the verb “agitating” in (30) is avoided by using a pronoun for the second reference (“la Pologne le fait”); and the quite striking immediate repetition of “it fades away” in (31) is simply avoided by using a single statement in French where there were two in the original. There would therefore seem to be a fairly consistent tendency at work here, that of avoiding in the French version the device of repeated lexis which marks the English. In fact we may well relate this policy to a broad contrast between English and French stylistic preferences, which has been pointed out in a number of studies. Geneviève Quillard (1997) offers many examples attesting to a general tendency for translators from English into French to remove examples of lexical repetition, and the point that such repetition tends to be negatively perceived and therefore strenuously avoided in French discourse has been made by several commentators, including Nitsa Ben-Ari (1998) and Jean Delisle (2000) (see also Eirlys Davies, forthcoming). Other contrasts which we may perhaps relate to this general trend include the loss, in the French version, of certain explicit contrasts drawn in the original. Thus in (35) Garton Ash again uses repetition, this time of the phrase “take a large step”, in order to highlight the opposition between the progress represented by the European Union’s decision to open negotiations with Turkey and the regression that would be represented by its transformation into a mere
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(35) To be just a free-trade zone, the EU would have to take a large step backwards even as it takes a large step forwards, and that it will not do.
Perhaps because of the desire to avoid repetition, the translator has lost this opposition entirely, so that the paradoxical nature of the hypothetical situation Garton Ash refers to does not emerge clearly in the French:
(36) Devenir une zone de libre-échange supposerait un grand pas en arrière, que l’Union ne fera pas.
In his next sentence Garton Ash goes on to exploit further the opposition between two extremes of possible European Union status, using the opposing terms “far beyond” and “short of”:
(37) The prospect, rather, is of an entity that is as far beyond a free-trade zone as it is short of a centralised superstate.
This sentence does not possess any counterpart in the French version, even though it does make an important and relevant point. In fact, what seems to have happened here is that a concern for stylistic norms, namely the avoidance of repetition, has led to what is effectively a loss of significant content. Finally, a comparison of the following extracts reveals a rather interesting case where the translator has opted to make what at first sight might seem a somewhat puzzling addition in the French:
(38) Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the main author of the EU’s stillborn constitutional treaty, was in despair, while Britain’s Jack Straw was grinning ear to ear. (39) Le Français Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, principal auteur du traité constitutionnel mort-né, était au désespoir, mais le Britannique Jack Straw arborait un sourire jusqu’aux oreilles.
One may be surprised to note that, while Garton Ash did not feel the need to make explicit the French identity of Giscard d’Estaing, Marcot has inserted “le Français” to do just this, even though the readers of Le Monde can hardly be considered to need this information. In fact, however, a re-reading of the two versions leads one to recognise that it is the English version rather than the French one which needs explanation; what is puzzling is rather the fact that Garton Ash has chosen to indicate to Guardian readers Jack Straw’s identity (‘Britain’s Jack Straw’) but not that of Giscard d’Estaing. The translation can in fact be seen as something of an improvement on the original here, since it has achieved greater consistency by signalling both men’s national identities, and at the same time has achieved a nice parallelism (“le Français … le Britannique …”) which serves to reinforce the more general opposition being drawn between French and British attitudes to the European Union. So, while the translator has at one point lost a parallelism and opposition present in the original, she has here compensated by conveying an opposition more effectively than the original did.
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation.
Conclusion Most critics would surely agree that on the whole Julie Marcot’s translation of Garton Ash’s article is a successful and readable one. It conveys Garton Ash’s general message clearly and in a way likely to appear appropriate and acceptable to readers of Le Monde. One could comfortably describe it as a faithful rendering of the original. However, our detailed comparison of the source text and translation has shown that this effective translation has been achieved only via certain adaptations and modifications of the content of the original article. We have attempted to identify a number of considerations which seem to lie behind the additions and omissions, which include the need to take into account probable differences between the background knowledge and interests of the two audiences, differences in the type of relationship which might be assumed to hold between the author and each of these two audiences, and differences in the norms each audience would expect this type of text to observe. We have suggested, for instance, that the translator was right to conclude that a clarification of what Garton Ash means by the term “commonwealth” was crucial to the success of the translation, whereas a clarification of his attitude to Daily Mail leader writers was not. The strategies adopted in this translation thus provide a useful illustration of the important distinction which must be drawn between elements of a text which the translator must seek to preserve at all costs, even if this involves longer paraphrasing or the inserting of supplementary information, and elements whose contribution is not important or relevant enough to the target audience to justify the cost involved in preserving them. ********** I would like to thank Timothy Garton Ash and Le Monde for their permission to reproduce the English and French versions of the article below. How the dreaded superstate became a commonwealth The question to ask is not what Europe will do for Turkey, but what Turkey has done for Europe Timothy Garton Ash (originally published in The Guardian on October 6, 2005)
This week, the European Union did something remarkable. It chose to become an all-European commonwealth, not the part-European superstate of Tory nightmares. You see, the main effect of the bitterly contested opening of membership negotiations with Turkey is not to ensure that Turkey becomes a member of the European Union, which it may or may not do 10 or 15 years hence. The main effect is to set the front line of enlargement so far to the south-east that it ensures the rest of south-eastern Europe will come into the EU – and probably before Turkey. There’s a nice historical irony here. Turkey, which in its earlier, Ottoman, form occupied much of the Balkans, and therefore cut them off from what was then the Christian club of Europe, is now the European door-opener for its former colonies. Bulgaria and Romania are joining the EU in 2007 anyway. What was Austria’s price for finally agreeing to the opening of negotiations with Turkey? A similar promise for Croatia! One thing leads to another. When those Balkan countries are in, they will immediately start agitating for their neighbours to join them, just as Poland is now agitating for a promise to Ukraine. No matter that those neighbours are former enemies, with bitter memories of recent wars and ethnic cleansing. The
2006. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology. Volume 14: 2 mysterious alchemy of enlargement is that it turns former enemies into advocates. Germany was the great promoter of Polish membership, and Greece remains one of the strongest supporters of Turkish membership. When Serbia and Macedonia come knocking at Brussels’ door, they will exclaim: “What, you have said yes to Turkey, but you say no to us, who are closer to you and obviously more European than Turkey?” Since these countries are mainly small, and since the EU already takes responsibility for much of south-east Europe’s security and reconstruction, as a quasi colonial post-conflict power, the reluctant older members of the EU will sigh: “Oh, what the hell, one or two more small countries won’t make that much difference anyway – our big headaches are Turkey and Ukraine.” So they’ll slip in. The result is that, whether or not Turkey achieves membership over the next decade, by 2015 the European Union will cover most of what has historically been considered to constitute the territory of Europe. And it will have some 32 to 37 member states – for Switzerland, Norway and Iceland may eventually choose to come in, too. The frontline cases will then be Turkey and Ukraine, while Russia will have a special relationship with this new European Union. Now only someone possessed of the deliberate obtuseness of a Daily Mail leader writer could suppose that such a broad, diverse European Union will ever be a Napoleonic, federal (in the Eurosceptic sense of the F-word), centralised, bureaucratic superstate. That’s why those who do still want something like a United States of Europe think Monday was a terrible day for Europe. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the main author of the EU’s stillborn constitutional treaty, was in despair, while Britain’s Jack Straw was grinning ear to ear. Roughly speaking, the British hated the constitution because they thought it would create a French Europe, while the French hate enlargement because they think it will create a British Europe. Thus Giscard laments that these further enlargements “are obviously going to transform Europe into a large free-trade zone”. That is what continental Europeans classically charge the British with wanting. Indeed, that is what some Brits do want Europe to be. That’s one reason Margaret Thatcher loved enlargement. I recently heard a leading member of the Conservative shadow cabinet say explicitly that he likes the prospect of further widening because it will make the EU what it should be, a large free-trade area. But they do not represent the thinking of the British government; and anyway they are wrong. This larger Europe will be much more than a free-trade area, or it will be nothing. It already is much more. And most of these new members care passionately that it should be. To be just a free-trade zone, the EU would have to take a large step backwards even as it takes a large step forwards, and that it will not do. The prospect, rather, is of an entity that is as far beyond a free-trade zone as it is short of a centralised superstate. For want of a better term, I describe this unprecedented continent-wide political community as a commonwealth – but I have in mind something more like the early modern Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth than today’s British commonwealth. Meanwhile, I don’t want you to think I’m ducking the question of Turkish membership. If we were starting from scratch, I would say that the European Union should have a special partnership (Angela Merkel’s term) with Turkey, as also with Russia. Why? Because at its eastern and south-eastern borders Europe does not end, it merely fades away. It fades away across the great expanses of Turkey and Russia. Somewhere between Moscow and Vladivostok, somewhere between Istanbul and Hakkari, you find yourself more in Asia than in Europe. This only partly European character of the two countries’ geography and history suggests a special partnership, for the sense of belonging to a geographical and historical unity is important for any political community of Europe. However, we are not starting from scratch. We have promises to keep. For more than 40 years we have assured Turkey that it will belong to our European community. We have repeated, strengthened, made concrete these promises over the past decade. The example of Turkey, reconciling a mainly Islamic society with a
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation. secular state, is vital for the rest of the Islamic world – and not insignificant for the 15 to 20 million Muslims already living in Europe. When I was recently in Iran, a dissident mullah, who had been imprisoned for 18 months for criticising his country’s Islamic regime, told me: “There are two models, Turkey and Iran.” Which should we support? The answer is what Americans call a “no-brainer”. And so the European Union, although it has no brain – that is, does not take decisions like a nation-state – has made the right choice. Turkey is an exception: not a precedent for Morocco or Algeria. For good reasons, the European Union has just decided to include a chunk of Asia. Before that happens, however, we have to ensure two things. First, that Turkey really does meet the EU’s famous Copenhagen criteria, having a stable liberal democracy, the rule of law (with full equality for men and women), a free market economy, free speech (also for intellectuals who say there was a Turkish genocide against the Armenians), and respect for minority rights (notably those of the Kurds). Turkey still has a long way to go. Second, and quite as demanding, public opinion in existing member states, such as France and Austria, must be prepared to accept Turkish membership. Between those two, you have at least 10 years’ work ahead. So, characteristically, the European Union has done something very important this week, without itself really understanding what it has done. It has not decided to make Turkey a member. It has decided that Europe will be a commonwealth and not a superstate.
Un grand merci à la Turquie Translated by Julie Marcot and published in le Monde, October 9 2005
Lundi 3 octobre, l’Union européenne (UE) a accompli une chose remarquable : elle a choisi de devenir une union d’Etats paneuropéenne, plutôt qu’une organisation supranationale partiellement européenne. L’ouverture, arrachée de haute lutte, des négociations d’adhésion avec la Turquie ne garantit pas que ce pays deviendra membre de l’Union d’ici dix à quinze ans. Mais elle a pour effet de placer la ligne de front de l’élargissement si loin vers le sud-est que cela garantit l’adhésion à l’UE de tous les pays situés en deçà, sans doute même avant la Turquie. Douce ironie de l’histoire : la Turquie, qui sous le nom d’Empire ottoman occupait autrefois une grande partie des Balkans, les isolant ainsi de ce qui était alors le club chrétien européen, ouvre aujourd’hui à ses anciennes colonies la route de l’Europe. La Bulgarie et la Roumanie entreront quoi qu’il arrive dans l’Union en 2007. Et quelle contrepartie a demandée l’Autriche pour finalement donner son accord à l’ouverture des négociations avec la Turquie ? Que la même promesse soit faite à la Croatie. Lorsque ce pays sera devenu membre, il fera des pieds et des mains pour que ses voisins puissent adhérer, comme la Pologne le fait aujourd’hui en faveur de l’Ukraine. Peu importe que ces voisins soient d’anciens ennemis et que les souvenirs amers de guerres et de nettoyage ethnique restent vivaces. Telle est la mystérieuse alchimie de l’élargissement : elle change les pays en ardents défenseurs de leurs anciens ennemis. L’Allemagne fut ainsi le grand apôtre de l’adhésion de la Pologne ; la Grèce reste l’un des plus chauds partisans de l’adhésion turque. Quand Serbes et Macédoniens viendront frapper à la porte de Bruxelles, voilà ce qu’ils diront : “Comment ? Vous avez dit oui à la Turquie et vous nous dites non, à nous, qui sommes plus proches de vous et bien plus européens que les Turcs ?” L’Union, puissance quasi-coloniale, assure déjà la sécurité et la reconstruction d’une grande partie de la région. Alors, les pays membres plus anciens lâcheront dans un soupir : “Bon, d’accord. Un ou deux petits pays de plus ou de moins...” Résultat : que la Turquie obtienne ou non son adhésion, l’Union européenne
2006. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology. Volume 14: 2 couvrira d’ici à 2015 l’ensemble de ce qu’on considère historiquement comme le territoire européen. Elle comptera entre 32 et 37 Etats membres (la Suisse, la Norvège et l’Islande pourraient bien finir par adhérer elles aussi). Resteront, comme cas limite, la Turquie et l’Ukraine, alors que la Russie jouira de liens privilégiés avec cette nouvelle Union européenne. Il faut être un eurosceptique britannique des plus obtus pour croire encore qu’une telle Union, si vaste et si diverse, formera une entité supranationale et centralisée de type napoléonien. Voilà pourquoi, aux yeux de ceux qui persistent dans le rêve des Etats-Unis d’Europe, le lundi 3 octobre a été un jour noir. Le Français Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, principal auteur du traité constitutionnel mort-né, était au désespoir, mais le Britannique Jack Straw arborait un sourire jusqu’aux oreilles. Résumons : les Britanniques détestaient la Constitution parce qu’ils pensaient qu’elle allait créer une Europe française, et les Français détestent l’élargissement parce qu’ils pensent qu’il donnera naissance à une Europe britannique. Giscard déplore ainsi les nouveaux élargissements, “qui vont transformer l’Europe en zone de libre-échange”. C’est effectivement pour cette raison que les conservateurs britanniques adorent l’élargissement. Mais ils ne reflètent pas l’opinion du gouvernement britannique sans compter qu’ils se trompent. L’Europe élargie sera bien plus qu’une zone de libre-échange, ou elle ne sera rien. Elle est déjà beaucoup plus que cela, et cela correspond au souhait de la plupart des nouveaux membres. Devenir une zone de libre-échange supposerait un grand pas en arrière, que l’Union ne fera pas. Ce qui s’annonce, c’est plutôt un ensemble politique continental sans précédent que, faute de mieux, je qualifierais de “Commonwealth”, union d’Etats pour le bien commun, mais un Commonwealth plus proche de l’union polono-lithuanienne du début des temps modernes – dite République des Deux-Nations, 1569-1795 – que de l’actuel Commonwealth britannique. Je n’esquive pas ici la question de l’adhésion de la Turquie. Si nous partions de zéro, je serais partisan d’un partenariat privilégié avec la Turquie ainsi qu’avec la Russie. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’à ses frontières de l’Est et du Sud-Est, l’Europe ne disparaît pas, elle s’estompe. A un moment donné, quelque part entre Moscou et Vladivostok, quelque part entre Istanbul et Hakkâri, vous êtes tout à coup plus en Asie qu’en Europe. Ces deux pays ont, par leur géographie et leur histoire, une identité qui n’est que partiellement européenne, d’où l’idée de partenariat privilégié : le sentiment d’appartenance à une unité géographique et historique est essentiel pour toute communauté politique en Europe, quelle qu’elle soit. Reste que nous ne partons pas de zéro. Nous avons des promesses à tenir. Depuis plus de quarante ans, nous assurons à la Turquie qu’elle entrera dans notre communauté européenne. Ces dix dernières années, nous avons répété, renforcé, concrétisé cette promesse. L’exemple turc, celui de la réconciliation entre une société essentiellement musulmane et un Etat laïque, est fondamental pour le reste du monde musulman et pas anodin pour les 20 millions de musulmans que compte déjà l’Europe. En Iran, où je me trouvais il y a peu, un mollah dissident résumait ainsi : “Il y a deux modèles : la Turquie et l’Iran.” Lequel devons-nous soutenir ? Inutile de se casser la tête : l’Europe a eu de bonnes raisons pour décider d’intégrer un morceau d’Asie. Mais avant d’en arriver là, il nous faut nous assurer de deux choses. Primo, que la Turquie remplisse vraiment les fameux critères de Copenhague, fixés par l’Union, en devenant une véritable démocratie libérale, en instaurant l’état de droit (et l’égalité absolue entre hommes et femmes), l’économie de marché, la liberté d’expression (y compris pour les intellectuels qui affirment qu’il y a bien eu un génocide des Arméniens) et en respectant les droits des minorités (Kurdes notamment). Autant dire que la Turquie a encore du chemin à faire. Secundo, l’opinion publique des actuels Etats membres, tels que la France ou l’Autriche, doit être prête à accepter l’adhésion de la Turquie. D’ici à ce que ces deux conditions soient remplies, nous avons bien dix ans de travail devant nous. Comme souvent, l’Union européenne vient d’accomplir un pas important sans
Eirlys. Shifting Readerships in Journalistic Translation. en être vraiment consciente. Non, elle n’a pas décidé d’intégrer la Turquie. Elle a décidé ce qu’elle-même serait et ne serait pas.
Works cited Ben Ari, Nitsa. 1998. The ambivalent case of repetitions in literary translation. Avoiding repetitions: A ‘universal’ of translation? Meta 43:1, 68-79. Berman, Antoine. 2000. Translation and the trials of the foreign. (Translated by Lawrence Venuti). In: Venuti, Lawrence (ed.), The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 284-297. Davies, Eirlys E. 2002. Translation, culture and shifts of audience. Interaction entre culture et traduction: Actes du Symposium international. Tanger: Publications de l’Ecole Supérieure Roi Fahd de Traduction, 61-74. Davies, Eirlys E. forthcoming. Leaving it out: On some justifications for the use of omission in translation. To appear in Babel. Delisle, Jean. 2000. La traduction raisonnée (5th revised edition). Ottawa: Presses Universitaires d’Ottawa. Ipsos MORI. 9 March 2005: Voting Intention by Newspaper Readership. www.mori.com/ polls/2004/voting-by-readership.shtml Landers, Clifford E. 2001. Literary Translation. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Quillard, Geneviève. 1997. Etude de certaines différences dans l’organisation collective des textes pragmatiques anglais et français. Babel 43:4, 313-330.
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