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Reframing Political Narratives in Translation: Translated Texts of CNN News Articles on “Arab Spring”

Soon Mi Kim 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Translation is not an innocent and transparent process taking place between two parties with equal power and common interests. In most cases, there are ideological gap, conflict of interests, and differences in value system. Because narratives are the best means to understand and make sense of the social world around us, by reframing narratives in the text, translators adjust the ideological gap or differences in values and interests in translation. Drawing on the narrative and framing theories proposed by social scientists, this paper sets out to explore how narratives are reframed in translation process. For the analysis of texts, 34 sets of CNN news articles and their Korean translation on the issue of “Arab Spring”, the revolutionary movements which have swept across the Arab world since the start of 2011, are chosen. It is an ideologically charged topic where American diplomatic and political interests are quite different from those of other nations around the world including Korea. Conservative Arab policy centered around the American interests, close diplomatic ties with Israel and autocratic Arab nations such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and importance of oil reserves in this region put the US in quite a difficult situation when pro-American autocratic leaders such as Mubarak and Gaddafi were ousted by the civil revolution. Thus, it was assumed that the narratives in the source text would be changed in the target text through reframing. The analysis found three new frames appeared in the target text: “dictators”, “bloody crackdown”, and “pro-democracy movement.” In the source text, the original frames were “longtime Arab leaders”, “clash between the police and protestors”, and “uprising.” By adding a new frame or replacing an existing frame with a new one, translators “suppress, accentuate, or elaborate particular aspects in a narrative encoded in the source text”(Baker 2006: 114). The main narrative in the source text was “Arab people protested against their longtime rulers. There was a clash between riot police and protesters.” Through reframing of narratives, it was changed into “Arab people staged pro-democratic movements against dictators. Bloody crackdown of riot police on protestors triggered more violence.” This kind of narrative changes in translation are reflecting the different interests and perspective between the two countries and constructing different perspectives for people.

Citation status

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