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£300,000 Research Award Set To Examine Impact Of Translation On Global News Headlines

Originally published 24 June 2003

The Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) has awarded over £300,000 to the University of Warwick to study news media translation, and reveal how it impacts on global relations.

One of the areas the research will examine is how the translation practices of international news organisations such as Reuters influence people’s knowledge all over the globe. Language translation, rather than being a mere technical instrument, is helping shape today’s societies.

Professor Susan Bassnett, from Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, said: “Translators and the readers of translated articles do not necessarily understand differences in language and culture, and the filtering of news by translators impacts on the way it is communicated. The research will have far-reaching implications for international relations. The cultural context of language is often a missing dimension when we receive information from print and broadcast media. What is said is often taken at “face value” and this results in the misrepresentation of other cultures.”

“This is particularly important for translation between divergent cultures, for example, from Arabic to English. By resisting the dominant cultural values and social conventions, the actual meaning of the original text or media can be lost or distorted.”

The Internet, digital and cable media is increasing global interaction. The new media explosion is fuelling an ever-growing interest in issues of translation. But, until now, language and cultural diversity in the media has largely been ignored.

Entitled “The Cultural Politics and Economics of Language and Translation in Global Media”, the project is set to start in September 2003. The funding will secure two researchers and a programme of international research seminars.

Professor Susan Bassnett,
Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 02476 523 493
Mobile: 07904 374 694