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Power Relations among News Translation Participants in South Korea: A Proposal for Revision to Shoemaker’s Gatekeeping Model

Hong Jung Min 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper looks into the interactions and power relations among the professionals engaged in news translation as gatekeepers in South Korea in an attempt to propose a plausible and realistic model to explain the country’s news translation environment. Semi-structured interviews with five news translation participants, including in-house translator, reporter, editor and desk at as many news organizations operating in the nation, revealed vertical and asymmetrical power relations among them, where (1) desks, with greatest authority, control almost every stage of news translation process; (2) in-house translators and reporters have relatively smaller power while freelance translators and editors hold the least say. Notably, the second finding is against the author’s expectation that editors may be given more authority than translators, indicating that the definition of an editor involved in news translation in South Korea is close to a proofreader whose main job is minor linguistic adjustment, far from the definition of an editor in the mass communication studies which is often associated with more drastic modification and reorganization of texts, and sometimes managerial and policy-making responsibility for the editorial part of a newspaper, magazine or other publication. Based on the findings, this paper proposed a revision to Shoemaker’s gatekeeping model(1991), which is seen as a more recent and comprehensive gatekeeping model. More specifically, the proposed model effectively illustrates the unequal power relations among news translation participants by using varying size and thickness of figures, while Shoemaker’s one pays little attention to the different degrees of authority. This study is significant in two aspects. First of all, it will help prospective professionals in the news translation better understand and prepare for the actual working environment. Secondly, it will facilitate interdisciplinary approach between the Translation studies and communication research by providing useful and valuable data on the nation’s news translation practice which will be relevant to both areas.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.