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Martín Ruano, M. Rosario and Vidal Claramonte, M. C. África (eds) (2016). Traducción, medios de comunicación, opinion pública.

Granada (Spain): Comares, 336 pp., €25. ISBN 9788490454558.

As the title suggests, this anthology provides a varied study on the role of translation in the media and in the shaping of public opinion. Although it focuses mainly on translation, this book may also be relevant for readers involved in other fields such as social sciences, journalism, philosophy or communication, as they all share a common element: the use and study of language to represent different realities with very specific purposes. While this is undoubtedly a relevant issue in today’s world, as well as a topic which merits analysis, the truth is that much research remains to be done on this matter. This fact certainly contributes to the value of this volume’s content, where the authors analyse translation practices in various fields such as the press, television, cinema, literature and photography.

In the first part, entitled “La traducción periodística y en los medios escritos,” five authors (Bielsa, Valdeón, Hernández Guerrero, Bazzi, and Páez Rodríguez) address the ideological influence already possessed by the written media, and which is exacerbated even further when translation comes into play. Focussing on translation in newspapers and females fashion magazines, the authors contributing to this part underline the importance of conducting research on journalistic translation as part of the cosmopolitan project (where cultural differences are not abolished, but recognized and celebrated), as different translation processes can lead to diametrically opposed results. With their articles, in this first part of the anthology, every author proves that any decision taken to disseminate (or indeed to translate) information in the written media, however neutral it may seem, always carries ideological weight.

The second part of the anthology, under the title of “La traducción en los medios audiovisuales: cine y televisión,” addresses translation within the audio-visual media, namely cinema and television. As Martín Ruano recalls in the introduction, cinema and television capture, in their portraits of reality, constant operations of translation and intercultural mediation, which are an essential condition of the nomadic and diasporic identities of those migrants, travellers, and displaced inhabitants of our transnational and post-Babelic societies (6). In the articles of this second part (written by Martínez Expósito, de Higes Andino, González-Iglesias González and Toda Iglesia, Vidal Sales, Pérez López de Heredia, and Martínez Pleguezuelos), we are reminded that cinema and TV products are instruments which represent reality and which determine the shaping of a collective imagination and, as such, translating them is extremely delicate.

All these ideas are also explored and defended in the third part of the book, entitled “La traducción y el juego de espejos de la representación en la era de los mass-media,” a collection of four articles which present translation within different contexts. Signès analyses French-African literature and its translation into Spanish with the aim of highlighting the significance of stereotyped representations and the re(appropriation) of African imagination through the translation process (228). By reviewing visually and textually the book Tinísima, Gardner proves that identities can emerge nowadays in a tangle of refractions whereby they interact and create images which overshadow the original (11), an idea which is also defended by Sánchez Iglesias, who highlights that translations cannot provide more than incomplete and partial pictures of an original work, pictures which can always be substituted for diverse projections with different retranslations. Finally, with his article, Braga Riera proves yet again the ability of the media to transmit identities and perpetuate stereotypes and the potential of translation to preserve or reverse this Othering.

By way of reinforcing the ideas repeated throughout this anthology, the last part bears the intriguing title of “Hacia políticas de reconocimiento de la traducción en los medios,” where Johnston and Vidal reflect on the place translation occupies, or could occupy, within the public sphere, and on our need, as translators, to move beyond our selfness and towards finding those multiple and parallel universes responsible for our loss of omphalos, but which at the same time have enabled us to embrace that which is different (322). As proven in every article collected in this book, in a globalised world where the media provide us with representations of the Other which mould a certain public opinion, the translator has the unavoidable responsibility to ensure the legitimacy of difference and recognition and to contribute to the larger, cosmopolitan project.

Marta Lucero García
Universidad de Salamanca