Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595



When a newsmaker (i.e., a newsworthy subject) is speaking or being spoken about in a foreign language, quoting requires translation. In such “translingual quoting” (Haapanen, 2017), it is not only the content of the speech but also its translatability that determines newsworthiness. While news media in some countries prefer indirect quotation, Japanese media favor direct quotes (Matsushita, 2019). This practice yields relatively clear source text (ST)-target text (TT) relationships in translingual quoting, especially when a political speech is directly quoted by newspapers, offering abundant data for news translation research (Matsushita, 2013201420152019). However, this research approach has been challenged by the rise of a public figure known for making headlines with his extemporaneous remarks: US President Donald J. Trump. Translingual quoting of Trump in the non-English media has proven at times a “nearly impossible quest” (Lichfield, 2016) because of the unique features of his utterances, such as unorthodox word choices, run-on sentences and disjointed syntax (Viennot, 2016). This difficulty is heightened for Japanese newspapers, which uphold a longstanding journalistic standard of reporting speech as faithfully as possible, even in the case of translingual quoting (Matsushita, 2019). Against this backdrop, this article examines the often-conflicting relationship between “quotability” and “translatability” by analyzing how Japanese newspaper articles have quoted Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, through comparison of original speeches and news texts produced by Japanese newspapers. The comparison shows that institutional conventions of Japanese newspaper companies regarding direct quotes are frequently neglected by the journalists trans-quoting Trump (e.g., changed to indirect quotes or reproduced less faithfully), leading to marked differences in the textual portrayals of the newsmakers in terms of eloquence and assertiveness.

Available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Aota, H., & Kida, T.
    (2017, April21). Pari Shanzerize-dōri, keikan ni jūgeki san nin shishō: IS-kei, hankō seimei, daitōryō-sen no tōhyō chokuzen [Paris Champs-Elysées, gun fires at policemen, three injured or killed: IS-related group claims responsibility, just before the presidential election]. Asahi Shimbun, evening edition, p.1.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Associated Press
    Associated Press (2019) The Associated Press stylebook 2019. Retrieved from https://www.apstylebook.com/
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bassnett, S.
    (2005) Bringing the news back home: Strategies of acculturation and foreignisation. Language and Intercultural Communication, 5(2), 120–130. doi:  10.1080/14708470508668888
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14708470508668888 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bell, A.
    (1991) The language of news media. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bielsa, E., & Bassnett, S.
    (2009) Translation in global news. Abingdon: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chesterman, A.
    (1997) Memes of translation: The spread of ideas in translation theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/btl.22
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.22 [Google Scholar]
  7. Clayman, S. E.
    (1995) Defining moments, presidential debates, and the dynamics of quotability. Journal of Communication, 45(3), 118–146. doi:  10.1111/j.1460‑2466.1995.tb00746.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1995.tb00746.x [Google Scholar]
  8. Davier, L., & van Doorslaer, L.
    (2018) Translation without a source text: Methodological issues in news translation. Across Languages and Cultures, 19(2), 241–257. 10.1556/084.2018.19.2.6
    https://doi.org/10.1556/084.2018.19.2.6 [Google Scholar]
  9. Davier, L., Schäffner, C., & van Doorslaer, L.
    (2018) The methodological remainder in news translation research: Outlining the background. Across Languages and Cultures, 19(2), 155–164. 10.1556/084.2018.19.2.1
    https://doi.org/10.1556/084.2018.19.2.1 [Google Scholar]
  10. Davis, H. H.
    (1985) Discourse and media influence. InT. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse and communication: New approaches to the analysis of mass media discourse and communication (pp.44–59). Berlin: De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110852141.44
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110852141.44 [Google Scholar]
  11. Ehrensberger-Dow, M., & Perrin, D.
    (2009) Capturing translation processes to access metalinguistic awareness. Across Languages and Cultures, 10(2), 275–288. 10.1556/Acr.10.2009.2.6
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.10.2009.2.6 [Google Scholar]
  12. (2015) Applying a newswriting research approach to translation. InM. Ehrensberger-Dow, S. Göpferich, & S. O’Brien (Eds.), Interdisciplinarity in translation and interpreting process research (pp.79–94). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/bct.72.07ehr
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bct.72.07ehr [Google Scholar]
  13. Ehrensberger-Dow, M., Perrin, D., & Zampa, M.
    (2017) Multilingualism and media: Reconsidering practices and ideologies of media-linguistic research. InC. Cotter, & D. Perrin (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of language and media (pp.373–387). Abingdon: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315673134‑28
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315673134-28 [Google Scholar]
  14. Haapanen, L.
    (2017) Quoting practices in written journalism. Article-based doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/174618
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Haapanen, L., & Perrin, D.
    (2017) Media and quoting. InC. Cotter, & D. Perrin (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of language and media (pp.424–441). Abingdon: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315673134‑31
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315673134-31 [Google Scholar]
  16. (2019) Translingual quoting in journalism: Behind the scenes of Swiss television newsrooms. InL. Davier, & K. Conway (Eds.), Journalism and translation in the era of convergence (pp.15–42). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/btl.146.01haa
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.146.01haa [Google Scholar]
  17. Holland, R.
    (2013) News translation. InC. Millán, & F. Bartrina (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of Translation Studies (pp.332–346). Abingdon: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Kuromi, S.
    (2017, March3). “Beidaitōryōsen no kyōgi sezu” : Gishō giwaku no shihō chōkan, Rotono sesshoku shakumei [“No consultations on US presidential election”: Attorney General suspected of perjury explains his connection with the Russians]. Yomiuri Shimbun, evening edition, p.3.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Lichfield, G.
    (2016, November26). Inside the nearly impossible quest to translate “Make America Great Again” into Spanish. QUARTZ. Retrieved from https://qz.com/845744/inside-the-nearly-impossible-quest-to-translate-make-america-great-again-into-spanish/
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Matsushita, K.
    (2013) Obama daitōryō no enzetsu o Nihon no shinbun wa ikani hōjitaka: Chokusetsu inyō to shōryaku o meguru kōsatsu [How President Obama’s speeches were translated by the Japanese newspapers: A discussion on direct quotation and omission]. Media, English and Communication, 3, 31–46.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. (2014) Risk management as a theoretical framework for analyzing news translation strategies. Invitation to Translation Studies, 12, 83–96. Retrieved from honyakukenkyu.sakura.ne.jp/shotai_vol12/05_vol-12_Matsushita.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  22. (2015) Omission as a key strategy in Japanese news translation: A case study of President Obama’s speeches. InA. Fuertes, & E. Torres-Simón (Eds.), And translation changed the world (and the world changed translation) (pp.75–88). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. (2019) When news travels east: Translation practices by Japanese newspapers. Leuven: Leuven University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Minemura, K.
    (2017, February21). Beikokubōchōkan, Iraku hōmon: Abadi shushō to kaidan, kankei shūfuku hakaru [US Secretary of Defense visits Iraq: Meets with Prime Minister Abadi, tries to restore relationship]. Asahi Shimbun, evening edition, p.2.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Oki, S.
    (2017, April27). Taikita atsuryoku “seisai, gaikō de”: Bei san chōkan kyōdō seimei, jōkazengiin ni setsumeikai [Pressure against North Korea “through sanctions and diplomacy”: Joint statement by the three heads, briefing to all upper and lower house members]. Yomiuri Shimbun, evening edition, p.1.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Osaki, T.
    (2017, February17). Japan’s interpreters struggle to make sense of ‘Trumpese.’ The Japan Times. Retrieved from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/17/national/japans-interpreters-struggle-to-make-sense-of-trump-speeches/#.Wzd9-af7Rdg
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Perrin, D., Ehrensberger-Dow, M., & Zampa, M.
    (2017) Translation in the newsroom: Losing voices in multilingual newsflows. Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies6(3), 463–483. 10.1386/ajms.6.3.463_1
    https://doi.org/10.1386/ajms.6.3.463_1 [Google Scholar]
  28. Reuters
    Reuters (2017) Handbook of journalism. Retrieved from handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=Q&direction=next&oldid=7517
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Satoh, A.
    (2001) Constructing imperial identity: How to quote the Imperial Family and those who address them in the Japanese press. Discourse & Society, 12(2), 169–194. 10.1177/0957926501012002003
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926501012002003 [Google Scholar]
  30. Schäffner, C.
    (2018) Language, interpreting, and translation in the news media. InK. Malmkjaer (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of Translation Studies and Linguistics (pp.327–341). Abingdon: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Stewart, P.
    (2017, February20). Trump’s defense chief: “We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil.” Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mattis-idUSKBN15Z0K0
    [Google Scholar]
  32. The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association
    The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association (2019) Nihon Shimbun Nenkan [Japan Newspaper Annual].
    [Google Scholar]
  33. The New York Times
    The New York Times (2008) Guidelines on integrity. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/editorial-standards/guidelines-on-integrity.html
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Umehara, T.
    (2009, January28). Obama daitōryō Isuramu to no taiwa kyōchō: Hatsu no tandoku kaiken wa Chūtō TV [President Obama emphasizes dialogue with Islam: First exclusive interview with a Middle Eastern broadcaster]. Asahi Shimbun, evening edition, p.2.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. US Embassy & Consulates in Italy
    US Embassy & Consulates in Italy (2017) Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Gentiloni of Italy in joint press conference. Retrieved from https://it.usembassy.gov/remarks-president-trump-prime-minister-gentiloni-italy-joint-press-conference/
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Valdeón, R. A.
    (2015a) (Un)stable sources, translation and news production. Target27(3), 440–453. 10.1075/target.27.3.07val
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.27.3.07val [Google Scholar]
  37. (2015b) Fifteen years of journalistic translation research and more. Perspectives, 23(4), 634–662. 10.1080/0907676X.2015.1057187
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2015.1057187 [Google Scholar]
  38. Vandendaele, A.
    (2017) The newsroom’s last line of defence: A linguistic ethnographic investigation into newspaper sub-editing (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Ghent University, Belgium.
  39. van Doorslaer, L.
    (2009) How language and (non-) translation impact on media newsrooms: The case of newspapers in Belgium. Perspectives, 17(2), 83–92. 10.1080/09076760903125051
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09076760903125051 [Google Scholar]
  40. (2012) Translating, narrating and constructing images in journalism with a test case on representation in Flemish TV news. Meta, 57(4), 1046–1059. 10.7202/1021232ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/1021232ar [Google Scholar]
  41. Viennot, B.
    (2016) Pour les traducteurs, Trump est un casse-tête inédit et désolant [For translators, Trump is an unprecedented and disheartening puzzle]. Slate FR. Retrieved from www.slate.fr/story/131087/traduire-trump-mourir-un-peu
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): direct quotes; Japanese newspapers; news translation; political speeches; US President
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error