News trans-editing, which has gate-keeping and adaptation as distinctive features, is widely adopted by news organizations to produce suitable target texts. Since news organizations are socially, politically and economically situated, news trans-editing is always mediated in one way or another. Using the trans-editing of quotation as a key, this paper conducts an empirical case study and investigates how the target newspapers’ ideologies systematically manipulate the seemingly “objective” trans-edited news texts.
The case study data covers some news texts concerning China’s anti-secession law from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and their trans-edited Chinese versions from the China Times, the United Daily News and the Liberty Times in Taiwan. After introducing the relevant contextual factors, a comparative study of the source and target texts is made in terms of the following four aspects of quotation to identify recurrent shifts: quotation modes, news sources, quotation contents and reporting verbs. By analyzing ideological reasons behind the recurrent shifts against the contextual factors, this paper elaborates on the target newspapers’ ideological manipulation with practical examples.
- news trans-editing,
- anti-secession law
Du fait que les organes de presse sont situés, du point de vue social, économique et politique, la transédition d’informations est toujours biaisée d’une manière ou d’une autre, à cause de plusieurs contraintes liées au contexte. Cet article, en utilisant la transédition de citations comme élément-clé, présente une étude de cas qui examine la manière dont les idéologies du journal biaisent de manière systématique l’objectivité apparente des textes d’informations transédités.
Les données examinées couvrent quelques textes d’informations concernant la loi chinoise anti-sécessionniste, extraits du New York Times et du Washington Post, et leurs versions transéditées en chinois extraites du China Times, du United Daily News et du Liberty Times à Taiwan. Après l’introduction des facteurs contextuels pertinents se trouve une étude comparative des sources et des textes d’informations ciblés en fonction des quatre aspects suivants des citations, afin d’identifier les mouvements récurrents : les modes de citations, les sources d’informations, le contenu des citations et les verbes employés. En analysant les raisons idéologiques qui expliquent les mouvements récurrents, par rapport aux facteurs contextuels, cet article démontre le biais idéologique des journaux ciblés par des exemples.
- transédition d’informations,
- loi anti-sécessionniste
News trans-editing is a composite task of news translation and news editing. Both translating and editing activities exist simultaneously and cannot be easily distinguished from each other (cf. Stetting, 1989). With its primary strategies of selection, deletion, addition, synthesis and recomposition, news trans-editing is widely practised in news organizations to achieve the following three functions with an aim of producing “suitable” and “acceptable” target texts to maximize communication as well as market share: (1) to meet the requirements of speed, brevity and timeliness, (2) to adjust the source texts to the target journalistic norms, and (3) to alter the news angles (Bielsa, 2007, pp. 142-144; Bielsa and Bassnett, 2009, pp. 67 and 85; Cheng, 2004, p. 101; Li, 2001, p. 84; Orengo, 2005, p. 170; Vuorinen, 1997, pp. 9-10). Here the so-called “suitable” and “acceptable” target texts mainly refer to those meeting the target audience’s expectations and demands or those meeting the target news organization’s wishes to direct the audience’s needs and interests. Accordingly, what matters most in news trans-editing is not “faithfulness” or “equivalence” but “rewriting” by dint of various types of textual manipulation.
The manipulative nature of news trans-editing has been highlighted in existing research, which designates two main notions concerning the nature of news trans-editing: gatekeeping (control over the flow of information) and adaptation (recontextualization of a text). The whole news trans-editing process can be best described as a gatekeeping process, where the conveying of the source information is filtered with various trans-editing strategies, and only the information deemed relevant and newsworthy by the news organization will be passed on to the target audience (see Fujii, 1988; Vuorinen, 1997).
The news trans-editing process, as stated by Maria Cheng (2004, pp. 103-108), can be further divided into three major stages, which are summarized diagrammatically as in Figure 1. The gatekeeping function is performed at each stage by the respective gatekeepers.
In the Taiwanese press, the news trans-editing process usually involves a whole trans-editing team, which may include translators, editors and senior staff, and all of them take the role of gatekeeper. Take the China Times in Taiwan as an example: the gatekeepers at the first stage of the trans-editing process are the editor-in-chief and deputy editor-in-chief. The director for the Section of International News then decides which local perspectives to adopt at the second stage. At the last stage, the gatekeeping function is performed by the translators, the director and senior staff. Applying a range of trans-editing strategies at both the macro and micro levels, the translators control what to include and what to exclude in terms of the preset local angles. When the translators finish their first drafts, the director will monitor the drafts and require the translators to adjust or revise them where necessary so as to ensure that the target news angles conform to the predetermined ones. After the translator’s drafts have passed the director’s review, they may be subject to a check by senior staff, which aims to ascertain that the trans-edited news texts are error-free and “reader-friendly” (cf. Chen, 2008, p. 36).
The resultant product of the above gatekeeping process is, in fact, an adaptation, which is meant to meet the target audience’s needs and interests. Such an adaptive translation is an expected product of a given news trans-editing task, and guides the decision-making as to what gatekeeping strategies and methods to employ during the trans-editing process (Cheng, 2004, pp. 42-43; Li, 2001, pp. 47-49).
The notions of gatekeeping and adaptation undoubtedly bring to the fore the existence of systematic manipulation. Since news trans-editing is embedded in very complex socio-cultural contexts, including the target news organization, the target journalistic culture and the wider social setting, a range of contextual factors may, to some extent, guide and motivate the textual manipulation in news trans-editing. This paper, however, will focus on the manipulation resulting from the ideologies embedded in the target news organization, especially when these are considerably diverse from those inscribed in the source news texts, and when the target news organization intends to convey its own ideological stances. Here the concept of ideology does not carry any negative undertones, such as false or distorted values and beliefs. Instead, the definition put forward by Teun A. van Dijk (1998a, p. 48) is followed: “an ideology is the set of factual and evaluative beliefs—that is the knowledge and the opinions—of a group.”
In this paper, the ideologies held by the news organization are bipartite: (1) socio-cultural or socio-political ideologies toward the news event under consideration, and (2) ideological assumptions about the audience’s needs, interests and backgrounds. The latter are mainly predetermined by the former. The news organization addresses the desired readers, and assumes that their readers share the same opinions and attitudes (Reah, 2002, p. 35). When a news item is being produced, the news organization tends to infer the readers’ needs and interests according to its own ideological perspectives. After the news item has been published and read, the news organization may expect the ideological ideas conveyed through the news item to be accepted by the readership, consciously or unconsciously. These two types of ideologies are interrelated and need to be taken into account simultaneously, in order to have a more thorough picture of the ideological manipulation occurring in news trans-editing.
The underlying reasons behind the emphasis on ideological manipulation are twofold. Firstly, news accounts are far from being “pure” and “impartial” reflections of “reality” and “facts.” Since news organizations are socially and politically situated, news items are inevitably produced from certain perspectives, especially from news organizations’ own distinct ideologies, be they social, cultural or political (Fowler, 1991, p. 10). It stands to reason that the news organizations’ ideologies play a rather significant role in the production of news items. Such significance has been acknowledged by scholars and practitioners of Critical Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis, who have proposed some approaches to the analysis of the relationship between ideology and language in news, and have conducted some empirical studies to explain such relationships (see Brookes, 1995; Fairclough, 1995; Fang, 2001; Fowler, 1991, Kress and Hodge, 1979; Simpson, 1993; van Dijk, 1991 and 1998b). The data examined by them are mainly original news texts rather than translated or trans-edited news texts. As news trans-editing is embedded in the system of news production in general, it is worth investigating how ideologies govern and manipulate the process of news trans-editing.
Secondly, the issue of ideology continues to occupy a prominent place in translation studies. As stated by Peter Fawcett, “through the centuries, individuals and institutions applied their particular beliefs to the production of certain effects in translation” (1998, p. 107). Likewise, Christina Schäffner indicates that “any translation is ideological since the choice of a source text and the use to which the subsequent target text is put is determined by the interests, aims, and objectives of social agents” (2003, p. 23). The ideological effect is supposed to be more conspicuous in news trans-editing, as it involves more radical editing work.
Some empirical studies on news trans-editing have already been carried out to illustrate how the ideologies of the target news organization manipulate the source news texts in terms of such ideology-related aspects as transitivity, lexical structure, modality, adversatives, causal connectives, temporal adverbials, culture-bound terms, headlines and overall news structure (see Chen, 2006; Huang, 2007; Ji-Hae, 2007; Kelly, 1998; Kuo and Nakamura, 2005; Sidiropoulou, 2004, pp. 21-60; Valdeón, 2007). However, there is still one further significant element of news—quotation—worthy of exploration, but it has not been addressed in sufficient depth. This paper, therefore, intends to conduct a case study on ideological manipulation of quotation in news texts from foreign news organizations. In the following section, the ideological potential of quotation will first be examined.
1. Quotation as an Ideologically Loaded Textual Feature
Quotation, both direct and indirect, is an integral part of news items, which, to a considerable extent, are mostly concerned with what people say, such as announcements, statements, opinions, responses and criticisms (Bell, 1991, p. 53; Cappon, 1991, p. 79). Moreover, first-hand evidence of the facts is what the news workers strive to achieve. News texts need to convince the readers that what is reported is authentic, accurate and reliable, and quoting news sources is a strategy that journalists can resort to (Caldas-Coulthard, 1994, p. 303; Vuorinen, 1999, p. 76). Other functions of quotation are: enhancing vividness and dramatization, increasing precision, keeping distance from what is said in quotations, and protecting journalists from slander suits (Bell, 1991, pp. 207-209; van Dijk, 1988, p. 87).
Quotation is typically conceived of as “impartial” reproduction of the cited sources’ messages or “objective” transmission of facts in the words of referenced sources. However, quotation is usually adopted and reproduced by journalists to implicitly convey certain preferred interpretations or to render support to particular viewpoints. Quotation is taken out of one context (e.g., a press release) and then put into a different one (e.g., a news report), where it is manipulated to meet dissimilar communicative goals. The final version of a quotation appearing in a news text may have already undergone reinterpretations by a series of people. Its original communicative intention and purpose are no longer kept intact (Davis, 1985, p. 51; Waugh, 1995, p. 155).
The ideological potential of quotation can be explored by the following four aspects: news sources, quotation contents, reporting verbs and quotation modes (direct or indirect), (see Caldas-Coulthard, 1994; Kuo, 2007; Wortham and Locher, 1996). Some scholars in journalism and linguistics have conducted empirical research to highlight the ideological potential of news quotation. These studies show that the ways in which journalists use quotation can reveal their ideological assumptions about the hierarchy of social status or the newspaper’s political ideologies (see Caldas-Coulthard, 1993; Kuo 2007; Satoh, 2001; Teo, 2000; van Dijk, 1991).
Scholars in translation studies also indicate the ideological nature of quotation in interlingual and intercultural news texts, but the research is still quite sparse. Erkka Vuorinen (1999, pp. 76-77) proposes that the comparison of the source and target news texts in terms of quotation is an effective starting point for exploring ideological manipulation. The ways he suggests to approach the comparison are similar to the aforementioned four aspects of quotation and can be summarized as follows:
Are the original news sources fully or partially reproduced in the target text?
Are the source quotations fully or partially reproduced in the target text? Does the target text recompose the source quotations?
How are the source reporting verbs translated in the target text?
To what extent do the original quotation modes change in the target text?
Vuorinen only makes theoretical suggestions, whereas Maria Sidiropoulou (2004, pp. 63-72) and Ya-mei Chen (2009) explore ideological underpinnings of quotation in trans-edited news based on empirical case studies. Comparing some English news items with their trans-edited texts in Greek, Sidiropoulou identifies two regular shifts of quotation: (1) deleting details concerning the identity of the people quoted to highlight their social and political status, and (2) changing the argumentative values of reporting verbs to increase the involvement of the people quoted. She argues that the shifts are caused by the translator’s ideological assumptions about the readers’ interests and involvement. The manipulation applied to quotation is high when the readers’ interests in a given news event are presumed to be low, and vice versa. Using a comparative study between twenty-three source news texts from American newspapers and their trans-edited versions from Taiwanese newspapers, Chen illustrates how the recurrent changes occurring to the news sources and their quotation contents in the target texts can serve as the external evidence for the underlying ideology-related norms on news trans-editing imposed by the target newspapers.
It is obvious from the prior studies that quotation is an overt realization of ideologies, and is an essential textual feature for the investigation of ideological manipulation. The two aforesaid empirical studies on news trans-editing do not examine all the essential aspects of quotation as introduced earlier in this section. The case study presented in this paper, instead, will consider all dimensions of quotation when exploring its ideological implications.
2. Case Study
2.1 Case Study Data
The type of news trans-editing analyzed in the case study is trans-editing of news texts from foreign newspapers in the Taiwanese press. The case study thus focuses on the New York Times and the Washington Post as the source newspapers, and the China Times, the United Daily News and the Liberty Times in Taiwan as the target newspapers. The news events of the data collected revolve around the anti-secession law drafted and enacted by China. All the news texts selected were published in December 2004, when the drafting of the law was announced, and in March 2005, when China started to enact the law. The source and target texts collected are illustrated in the Appendix.
2.2. Background of the Anti-Secession Law
After Chen Shui-bian was re-elected as Taiwan’s president in March 2004, China started talking about drawing up an anti-secession law, which would allow China to counter a declaration of Taiwan’s independence with military force. Then, on 17 December 2004 China announced the plan to adopt the anti-secession law in March 2005. Even though President Chen Shui-bian began to show some goodwill and promised not to seek independence during his second term, China’s National People’s Congress still approved the anti-secession law on 14 March 2005. According to China, there were two main reasons behind the enactment of the anti-secession law. First, Chinese leaders believed that China’s policy toward Taiwan had been reactive in the past, and China should show initiative. Second, China was still suspicious of the goodwill of President Chen Shui-bian (Glaser, 2005, p. 2).
In Taiwan, the passage of the law was denounced by officials from the main political parties, including the pro-reunification Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the pro-independence Democratic Progress Party (DPP). Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese people joined a protest march held by the ruling party (the DPP) to oppose the enactment of the law on 26 March 2005, whereas most politicians from the KMT did not participate in any protest marches.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution formally condemning China’s anti-secession law. The EU also decided to continue with the arms embargo on China, which initially had been imposed upon China after the Tiananmen Square Massacre took place on 4 June 1989 (Zhao, 2005, pp. 82-83).
2.3 Political Ideologies and Intended Audiences
News coverage of China by prestigious U.S. newspapers usually conforms to U.S. policy toward China (see Chang, 1993; Lowry and Wang, 2000). The political ideologies held by the New York Times and the Washington Post as regards the event of anti-secession law also reconfirm the same tendency. First, these two newspapers accept the “one China” policy as the fundamental principle underlying China-Taiwan relations. Second, the two source newspapers are, to a varying degree, vague on their own stances as to whether Taiwan should be reunited with China, remain as a separate political identity or become a sovereign country. Third, they both make it clear that they do not support Taiwan’s independence, which would inevitably do harm to the stability of the Asia-Pacific area and pose a threat to U.S. interests there. Fourth, these two U.S. newspapers oppose moves in China or Taiwan to unilaterally change the status quo.
Having historically cordial ties with the KMT, the China Times and the United Daily News are pro-reunification, as their editorials, in the main, support. The United Daily News tends to be viewed as the newspaper most in favour of pro-reunification. The China Times, after its founder died in 2002, has become less adamant in its support for reunification, and sometimes leans slightly toward the maintenance of Taiwan’s status quo. These two newspapers recognize “one China,” defined in historical, geographical and cultural terms, and are hence against Taiwan’s independence as well as communism (Tian, 2002, p. 81; Wei, 2000, p. 352). On the contrary, the Liberty Times, affiliated with the DPP, strongly opposes the notion of “one China.” It argues that Taiwan is already an independent and sovereign country, and expresses a positive attitude toward Taiwan’s independence (Tian, 2002, p. 97; Wei, 2000, p. 344).
The source texts are aimed at well-educated U.S. readers, who are very concerned about the political and economic interests of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region. The trans-edited versions are for a new audience, that is, Taiwanese readers, who are supposed to attach more attention to China’s military threat as well as to the security and interests of Taiwan. There also exist some differences between the audience designs of the three Taiwanese newspapers. The China Times and the United Daily News mainly assume their desired readers to favour Taiwan’s reunification with China and to show more concerns over China-Taiwan relations. The Liberty Times, in contrast, primarily address those readers who support Taiwan’s independence and pay more attention to issues concerning Taiwan’s sovereignty.
In what follows, this paper will explore the target newspapers’ ideological manipulation by examining recurrent shifts in the target texts, which are identified through a comparison of the source and target quotation in terms of four aspects: (1) news sources, (2) quotation contents (including recomposition), (3) reporting verbs and (4) quotation modes. Since the target texts retain most of the quotation modes adopted in the source texts, the focus will be placed on the shifts in the other three aspects.
3. Ideological Manipulation of News Sources
The recurrent shifts as regards news sources are primarily caused by the addition of news sources. The names of the source newspapers or the source texts are usually referred to as external news sources in each target text. Such addition fulfills a dual function: (1) to specify that the opinions or viewpoints appearing in the target texts are expressed by the source newspapers, or (2) to indicate that the comments or remarks are from the news sources cited by the source newspapers. Here are two examples:
In example (1), the source newspaper 紐約時報 (the New York Times) is added to the target text to indicate that it is from here that the target message in question is cited. In example (2), the source newspaper is named to clarify that the quoted source 多數分析家 (many analysts) is cited by the New York Times.
In addition to referring back to the source text as the outside source, Target Text 2 of news item No 7 also cites as a newly added source Taiwanese premier Frank Hsieh, who is the author of the source text:
It is the source text that is referred to as the external source in Target Text 1 from the China Times, while in Target Text 2 from the Liberty Times, the quoted source is usually Frank Hsieh.
There exist two possible explanations for the newly added sources. Firstly, as indicated by Chen (2008, p. 45), to specify the sources for trans-edited texts conforms to the journalistic convention of objectivity as well as to Taiwan’s trans-editing culture. Secondly, the addition of news sources can also be explained in terms of the increase of newsworthiness, which is defined with respect to the target newspapers’ ideologies. All the three target newspapers may have presumed that the information from the New York Times and the Washington Post, two of the most prestigious and influential newspapers in the U.S., would be viewed by the Taiwanese audience as reliable and authoritative. In other words, it may have been assumed that the target texts with prominent reference to the two elite U.S. newspapers could raise the news value of the target texts and catch the Taiwanese readers’ attention. Likewise, Frank Hsieh is one of the key pro-independence political figures in Taiwan, so the Liberty Times may have believed that citing Frank Hsieh as a news source could more effectively attract the pro-independence readers it sought to reach.
Shifts also occur in the originally quoted sources, that is, changes are made to the ways they are represented, as example (4) demonstrates:
Not all the source information used to describe Song Xinning is fully represented in the target text. Even though shifts of this kind may be argued to be ideologically manipulated, they do not exhibit any systematic patterns, and they also occur less extensively, so this paper will not go further to explore them.
4. Ideological Manipulation of Quotation Contents
Given the space limitations imposed by the target newspapers, changes are made to the overall quotation contents. Compared with the source news, the trans-edited news texts in the Taiwanese press are usually much shorter despite that no exact space limitations are laid out in style guides (cf. Chen 2008, p. 42). The regular shifts in overall quotation contents are found to occur in two aspects: (1) the naming related to China and (2) the whole structure of quotation.
4.1 Naming Related to China
The term China in the source texts is regularly translated as 中共 (the CCP) in the target texts from the China Times and the United Daily News (cf. Chen, 2009, pp. 20-21). Such a shift, however, does not appear in the target texts from the Liberty Times:
The Chinese counterpart for the term “China” is 中國, which is the translation adopted in the target texts from the Liberty Times in examples (5) and (6), that is TT3 and TT2 respectively, while the target text from the United Daily News (TT2) and that from the China Times (TT1) opt for the term 中共 (the CCP).
The adoption of the term 中共 (the CCP) may have been motivated by the enduring conflict between the KMT and the CCP from 1927 to 1949. Having maintained close relations with the KMT, the China Times and the United Daily News during the production process may have used the term 中共 (the CPP) to underline the contrast between the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing. The ROC exists under a democratic system, which these two target newspapers believe to be superior to the communist system on which the PRC is based (cf. Chen, 2009, pp. 21-22). The Liberty Times, however, favours Taiwan’s independence, and advocates a “new Taiwanese identity,” so the term 中國 (China) may have been used to emphasize that the PRC and Taiwan are completely different states, and to highlight a contrast that “here is Taiwan, but there is China,” or that “we are Taiwanese, but they are Chinese.”
4.2. The Overall Structure of Quotation
The regular shifts in the overall structure of quotation can be further discussed in two parts: (1) the newly added quotations as target nuclei, and (2) the recomposition of quotations in the target satellites. As stated by Peter R. R. White (2002, p. 401), the schematic structure of a news item, which provides the form for the global semantic meanings, usually consists of a nucleus and a range of satellites. The nucleus is made up of a headline and lead, encapsulating core information. The other subsequent parts of the news item are satellites, which, instead of introducing news information, act to further specify the opening nucleus in terms of elaboration, explanation and evaluation.
4.2.1 Newly Added Quotations as Target Nuclei
All of the target nuclei are presented as newly added quotations with the New York Times or the Washington Post as the quoted sources. Take the headlines of news item No 1 as an example:
The source headline in example (7) is not a quotation, while the two target headlines are. The main reason for using the quotation format in the target nuclei is to increase the newsworthiness, as the news sources accompanying the quotations in the target nuclei are the New York Times and the Washington Post, which are regarded as elite groups, as mentioned in Section 3. Moreover, the contents of the source and target headlines are dissimilar. This is because the source news structure is recomposed in the target texts, and other messages originally appearing in the source satellites are reproduced as the headlines in the target texts.
Almost all the newly added quotations used as the target nuclei convey different messages from the source nuclei. Their comparison is demonstrated in Table 1 below:
The source nuclei are all related to the worsening relations between China and Taiwan. The deteriorating relationship would harm the stability of the Asia-Pacific area and U.S. interests in this area, so the attention of U.S. readers was assumed to be drawn by the issue regarding China-Taiwan relations. The worsening relationship, however, is not the only main concern of the target audience. Apart from news item No 6, the target nuclei have either extra focuses or completely new focuses, as Table 2 illustrates:
All the three target newspapers have “the EU’s arms embargo” as one of their focuses. This may be due to the target newspapers’ ideological assumptions that their Taiwanese readers would be interested in the issue related to Taiwan’s defense security.
The China Times and the United Daily News share two other focuses: “the law not used as a reunification law” and “China’s disagreement concerning Taiwan’s independence,” which conform to the pro-reunification stance. The two target newspapers support reunification with China on Taiwan’s terms rather than on China’s terms, so they may have presumed that their readers were interested in whether the anti-secession law is used to force Taiwan to reunite with China. Moreover, these two newspapers are against Taiwan’s independence, so it is very likely that they tried to highlight the negative aspects of Taiwan’s independence, with an aim of evoking similar feeling from their intended audiences.
Concerning the differences, the China Times pays extra attention to “China’s illegitimacy on determining Taiwan’s future” and to “aspects favourable to Taiwan and Chen Shui-bian.” The first shift may be attributed to the stance of the China Times to advocate reunification with China under the agreement of the ROC government in Taiwan. Also, at the time of these news reports, Chen Shui-bian had started to soften his claim about Taiwan’s independence and showed goodwill to China, which may have been assumed by the China Times to be helpful to Taiwan’s stability and consistent with the slight tendency of the China Times toward the maintenance of Taiwan’s status quo.
The United Daily News lays emphasis on the aspects unfavourable to China and Chen Shui-bian. It is possible that in terms of its political ideologies both China and Chen-Shui-bian are regarded as members of the out-group. Accentuating the negative qualities of the out-group may have been viewed as an effective way to convey its political views and to resonate with its audience’s attitudes.
The Liberty Times highlights the aspects concerning China’s hostility to Taiwan’s sovereignty and the Taiwanese people’s legitimate rights. These two focuses, bringing the Taiwanese identity to the fore, are consistent with the Liberty Times’ local Taiwanese values.
4.2.2 Recomposition of Quotations in the Target Satellites
The different nuclei in the target texts lead to the changes in the composition of quotations in the target satellites. The main quotations added, selected and deleted in the target satellites are generally summarized in Table 3:
All the added and selected quotations shown in Table 3 are, in one way or another, related to their corresponding nuclei. However, there are two points not revealed clearly in the target nuclei that are worth mentioning. First, the satellite quotations from the Liberty Times pay extra attention to “China’s hostile reactions to Chen Shui-bian.” This shift underlines the out-group member’s (China) negative behavior toward the in-group member (Chen Shui-bian, a key figure of Taiwan’s independence), complying with the pro-independence position of the Liberty Times. Second, the quotation concerning “support for Chen Shui-bian being dangerous” chosen by the United Daily News is deleted by the China Times. This phenomenon may be explained by the slight difference between these two target newspapers’ political attitudes. Being the most adamant in its support for reunification, the United Daily News may have accentuated the negative aspects of the support for Chen Shui-bian to reconfirm its opposition to Taiwan’s independence. The China Times, leaning slightly toward maintaining Taiwan’s status quo, may not have thought it necessary to emphasize this aspect in the trans-edited texts.
Both the China Times and the United Daily News omit the information solely about China, especially positive opinions on China’s anti-secession law. Moreover, the United Daily News deletes the information merely on the U.S. and EU and that on Chen Shui-bian’s criticism of the law. All the deletions may have resulted principally from the two target newspapers’ presumption that the information was not only irrelevant for the then target readers, but also incongruent with the readers’ assumed antagonistic attitudes toward the anti-secession law or toward Chen-Shui-bian. Due to space limitations, these portions may be the best candidates for deletion.
5. Ideological Manipulation of Reporting Verbs
The main recurrent shifts in reporting verbs are the addition of reporting verbs and the changes regarding the source verb “say.”
5.1 Addition of Reporting Verbs
The addition of reporting verbs is concomitant with the addition of news sources and quotations. The addition can be further classified into two types: the regular addition of the verbs 說 (say) and 指出 (point out).
The first type of addition chiefly occurs in the target text of the United Daily News in news item No 4 and those of the China Times in news items No 7 and No 8:
The reason why the verb 說 (say) is adopted may be that the topics of these target texts concern the events happening to or carried out by members of the out-group. The news item No 4 is about “the word of Chinese prime minister being censored,” and No 5 about “the protest held by the ruling party and President Chen Shui-bian’s good performance in it.” The verb 說 (say), involving the least manipulation, presupposes that there was an original utterance, which is represented as faithfully as possible (Gidengil and Everitt, 2003, p. 214). Thus, the China Times and the United Daily picked the neutral verb 說 (say) to accompany the newly added quotations in order to keep distance from what is conveyed in the quotations, which may either be predictions about China’s reasons for censoring Wen Jiabao’s word or positive comments on pro-independence supporters’ protests against the anti-secession law. In this way, the two target newspapers avoid indicating any value judgment or endorsement.
The ideological reason behind the addition of 說 (say) can be further confirmed by the comparison between the first and second target texts of news item No 7:
The verb 說 (say) is only added in TT1 from the China Times, while another verb 強調 (emphasize) is chosen in TT2 from the Liberty Times, where the quoted source presented is Frank Hsieh rather than the Washington Post. News item No 7 is concerned with the article written by Frank Hsieh on Taiwan’s right to determine its own future. Frank Hsieh is generally considered as a member of the out-group by the China Times, but as a member of the in-group by the Liberty Times. Accordingly, during the production process, the neutral verb 說 (say) was selected in TT1 to keep distance from the cited message, while an evaluative verb 強調 (emphasize) was used in TT2 to give a sense of importance to the same message.
The addition of the verb 指出 (point out) mostly appears in other news items:
In all the target texts where the verb 指出 (point out) is added, the quotations accompanied by this verb are particularly used to represent or reproduce the ideological viewpoints of the target newspapers. The verb 指出 (point out) lends the quotations “an aura of fact” (Cappon, 1991, p. 74). It implies endorsement for the quoted utterance as well as giving some importance to that utterance. The three target newspapers, by adopting this reporting verb, can give their audiences the impression that the cited information is important, reliable and authentic, which in turn can help transmit their ideologies.
5.2 The Verb Say
The verb “say” is regularly translated as 表示 (indicate) in the target texts rather than as its Chinese equivalent 說:
The verb 表示 (indicate) posits the reliability and plausibility of the quoted utterance. It also implies the endorsement for the viewpoints conveyed by the quoted utterance and the agreement with the quoted source (White, 2003. p. 270). All the original quotations selected and translated into Chinese with 表示 (indicate) as the reporting verb are primarily chosen to reconfirm and reproduce the target newspapers’ ideological viewpoints. By translating the verb “say” as 表示 (indicate), the target newspapers can further convince their audiences that the messages communicated by the original quotations are actually “objective” facts and in the meanwhile implicitly and effectively communicate their political ideologies.
News trans-editing, a socially regulated translating activity, is always under various contextual constraints and involves multiple parties. To produce suitable and acceptable target texts, source texts need to be customized and manipulated to some extent during the production process. Based on an empirical case study and using the trans-editing of quotation as a key, this paper has systematically explained how the operation of manipulation is governed by the ideologies held by Taiwan’s three newspapers with the largest circulation.
The three target newspapers have been found to be similar in the following trans-editing shifts caused by the ideological manipulation: (1) referring to the source newspapers or the source texts as the outside sources, (2) adopting the quotation format to present the target nuclei, (3) adding the reporting verb 指出 (point out), and (4) translating the verb “say” as 表示 (indicate) in the target texts. All these shifts can be attributed to the newspapers’ intentions to enhance the newsworthiness of their stories and to promote the transmission of their political ideologies to their audiences.
The main variance between the target newspapers lies in their overall quotation contents. The selection, addition and deletion of quotations in the target nuclei and satellites reflect the dissimilar ideological perspectives of the three newspapers, that is, the adamant stance on reunification (the United Daily News), less adamant attitude toward reunification (the China Times), and strong support for independence (the Liberty Times). In other words, the overall quotation contents of the three target newspapers are not objective but rather partisan. Each target newspaper chooses those quotation contents congruent with its ideological viewpoints, and deletes those incompatible with its ideologies.
By analyzing ideological manipulation in news trans-editing, this paper hopes to provide some insights into the complicated production of trans-edited news texts, which cannot be sufficiently explained in terms of the traditional notions of faithfulness and equivalence.
Case Study Data
Ya-mei Chen received her PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 2006. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of English at National Taipei University of Technology, where she has been teaching courses in translation theory and practice at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels since September 2006. Her research interests are news translation and trans-editing, descriptive translation studies and the application of reception aesthetics in translation studies. Her major academic publications include “Adaptation in News Trans-Editing Revisited” (2007), “The Translator’s Constrained Mediation in Trans-Editing of News Texts Narrating Political Conflicts” (2008) and “The Translator’s Subjectivity and Its Constraints in News Trans-Editing: A Perspective of Reception Aesthetics” (forthcoming). In addition to her work in translation studies research, Chen works as a freelance translator for Taiwanese publishers and has translated several titles into Chinese (e.g., News Culture by Stuart Allan).
1 This research was funded by the National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC 96-2411-H-027-003). An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Conference on Translation, Interpreting and Languages for Special Purposes: Research in Cross-lingual Communication, 1-2 February 2008, University of Macerata, Italy.
A case study on news trans-editing carried out by three Taiwanese newspapers will be discussed later in section 3. The trans-editing process in the Taiwanese press is used here as an example in order, on the one hand, to make clear the gatekeeping function in question and, on the other hand, to introduce the ways in which the source news is manipulated in the Taiwanese press.
For other types of news trans-editing practised in Taiwan, please refer to Chen (2008, pp. 37-38).
In the examples, No 3 and No 4 respectively refer to the third and forth sets of source and target texts listed in the Appendix.
In Tables 1 to 3 and the Appendix, NYT refers to the New York Times, WP the Washington Post, CT the China Times, UDN the United Daily News and LT the Liberty Times.
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