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The Language of Global News

An international, interdisciplinary symposium which was held at the University of Warwick on 23rd of April 2004.

Transnational media networks and the worldwide circulation of information to an unprecedented degree are constitutive features of global modernity. Metaphors that emphasise the speed of communication such as the notion of global flows and of the information superhighway have become commonplace. However, they obscure how existing spatial and cultural distances are actually overcome. Global information flows take place in a world that is characterised by social and linguistic diversity. Translation is here a key factor, as a precondition for the transnational circulation of texts and also in shaping the nature of intercultural communication. With the consolidation of global information networks the significance of translation has dramatically increased, yet its role in the negotiation of linguistic and cultural difference continues to be largely ignored.

The aim of this international symposium, which brought together academics from various disciplines, professional translators and journalists, was to explore the role of translation in the production of global news, with an emphasis on actual practices in news agencies, television and newspapers. Thus, Eric Wishart, Editor-in-Chief of Agence France Presse, and Anthony Williams, Treasury News Editor at Reuters, discussed the importance of translation in the processes of information gathering and communication. They also described how translation practices are organised and explained why journalists and not translators are in charge of rewriting and adapting texts for audiences across the world. Mario Lubetkin, Director General of Inter Press Service, addressed the importance of language for the aim of global inclusion in an alternative news agency that focuses especially on the views of civil society and the South. Anne Wallace, a financial and business news translator, provided an insider’s view on the translation of news, stressing the translator’s responsibility and the impact his or her decisions can have. The academic interventions brought attention to issues of language, ideology and cultural transfer. From the discipline of media studies, Daya Thussu, Goldsmiths College, University of London, also a former journalist, focused on the nce of the Western communication giants and the transfer of their values, ideologies and world views to Indian television. Michael Cronin, Dublin City University, approached, from a translation studies perspective, the issue of language and translation in the era of globalisation.

This international symposium was organised in the context of the AHRB funded project Translation in Global News, which investigates the role of translation in global media and promotes interdisciplinary research in this area. For a full report of the symposium and more information about the research project please visit the website: