Translating cultures within the EU

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Failure to ratify the European Constitution by popular vote in France and the Netherlands in June 2005 proved the strength of anti-globalising spurs within the EU. The attitude of each Member State towards the European Institutions depends on its national culture, and different languages shape the original message conveyed by the Union into different ideas. The aim of this paper is to explore the way in which the language used in EU documents reflects the cultural expectations of the prospective audience in terms of both content and stylistic features. In particular, the analysis aims to identify any correspondence between the degree of Euro-scepticism among European citizens and the language used in a EU product. In the European Union, translators play a crucial role in the communicative process between the EU institutions and citizens. Specific translators’ choices can be the result of either their ‘cultural frames’, acting at the unconscious level, or their deliberate choice to shape the text in such a way as to suit their audience’s specific communicative needs. The analysis is carried out on the script of a video on the European Constitution released by the EU Audiovisual Service, and is grounded on concepts drawn from translation studies, as well as on Geert Hofstede’s model of cultural cdimensions.


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