Investigating the Possibility of Ideological Effects and Discourse Shifts in Translation: A Critical Discourse Analysis

By Rashidi, Nasser; Fam, Elham Karimi | The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Investigating the Possibility of Ideological Effects and Discourse Shifts in Translation: A Critical Discourse Analysis


Rashidi, Nasser, Fam, Elham Karimi, The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education


1 Introduction

The domain of discourse analysis consists of the study of the relationship between language and the contexts in which it is used. It was the focus of interest in different disciplines in the 1960s and early 1970s, including linguistics, semiotics, psychology, anthropology and sociology. Discourse analysis is not only concerned with the description and analysis of spoken interaction, but also with printed materials such as articles, letters, stories, instructions, and so on. The specialists in this field are interested in levels beyond the linguistic forms.

Among the different types of discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of research that primarily studies the way that social power and dominance can be recreated by text and talk within the social and political contexts. In other words, it focuses on the relations between language, power and ideology. Actually, CDA can be defined as an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse, which views "language as a form of social practice" (Fairclough 1989:20). That means language is both socially constitutive as well as 'socially shaped' (Fairclough & Wodak 1997:258).

It is needless to mention that, the belief originates from the school of socioconstructivism. On the one hand, language is constructed not in isolation but within the social context and on the other hand, language users think differently about the entities in the world, based on their ideologies. Therefore, there exist powerful relationships between language, thought and ideology.

Supporting this relation of language and ideology, Fairclough notes "that language connects with the social through being the primary domain of ideology and through being both a site of, and a stake in, struggles for power" (1989:15).

With regard to the fact that the ideological bases are different not only across various languages and cultures, but also across different users of the same language and culture, it is quite evident that there is a need for clarifying the sources of these deviations. Therefore, CDA tries to uncover the hidden aspects of discourse, which play a crucial role in shaping people's ideologies as well as changing social realities. This is, for sure, a supra-linguistic method beyond the grammatical structure as it deals with the implications.

The CDA approach includes a vast body of fields such as political sciences, social sciences and education. Among the sub-disciplines of CDA, critical linguistics aims to consider the linguistic choices a text producer makes which show a particular ideological stance towards a topic. The application of CDA in translation has enjoyed the scholars' interests for decades. Translational studies today are said to be at another turn, i.e. ideological. This is obviously a turn which signifies the growth of trends considering ideological issues within the field. The act of translation is not purely linguistic, because it must consider social and ideological backgrounds of the writer in order to be able to convey a message from the source text to its target equivalent. The aspect of ideology in translation can be investigated through analyzing deficiencies and redundancies of the translated texts so as to see whether they are the results of the translator's ideological point of view or not.

The critical examination of the ideological manipulations in the contents of the source texts as well as the ideological orientations manifested in translation can show the intentional or unintentional strategies chosen by translators to manipulate the exact message and this will obviously influence the interpretation of the source text. As a matter of fact, the concern in the present study is to show a possible existence of such ideological manipulations and their effects on what the original text had tried to convey.

1.1 Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework used for the categorization and clarification of the obtained data is van Dijk's (2004) schema which suggests the relationship between ideology, society, cognition and discourse. …

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