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The construction of national images through news translation

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Abstract

This paper discusses the construction of a new national image of Spain for an international audience, as presented in the English version of the leading Spanish paper El País. It will have recourse to the concept of framing as used in communication studies, on the one hand, and in translation studies, on the other. In the former frames are defined “as organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world” (Reese 2001, 11). In Translation Studies, Baker has adopted a similar definition for her adaptation of Somer’s narrative theory to text manipulation. The paper will analyze a corpus of sixty issues of El País English Edition, a joint venture of El País and The International Herald Tribune. El País English Edition is an unusual publication that combines news and translation in a very visible manner. Spanish news reports are selected and translators rendered them into English for an international audience. More precisely three sections will be considered: the front page, the features section and the sports section. The selection of these three distinctive parts of the newspaper for the present discussion is based on the understanding that the latter two can reflect the extent to which stereotypes are present or are in conflict with the images of modernity that the medium might be willing to project onto an international audience whereas the front page is the first contact of those readers with Spain’s political, social and economic life.

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