Ideological positioning in news translation

  • A case study of evaluative resources in reports on China
  • Li Pan
  • Target International Journal of Translation Studies, June 2015, John Benjamins
  • DOI: 10.1075/target.27.2.03pan

institutional practice in news translation

What is it about?

Translation in news agencies, as an act or process of reproducing news stories, is carried out as part of an institutional routine. However, previous studies on translated news discourse mostly gave their attention to text analysis and usually ignored the institutional practice involved. This paper, based on an empirical investigation of the actual practice in a Chinese news agency, is to show how the institutional practice can exert impact on the reproduction of news stories.

Why is it important?

The agency investigated is Reference News Agency, the one operated under the state-run Xinhua Agency and responsible for providing ‘faithful translations’ of foreign reports for Reference News, a most prestigious Chinese newspaper which enjoys the largest circulation in China and long served as the only authoritative source of information with its translated news texts for Chinese leaders about international events and other countries’ views and policies towards China. With trans-editing well established as the common translation approach in news agency, faithful translation is not a generally accepted as the criteria in news translation. It is thus interesting to investigate how the nature of filtering and gatekeeping function of a news agency accommodates the practice of ‘faithful translation’; what is conceived as faithful translation in institutional practice of the news agency and how it is possible to produce faithful translation in a news agency. The procedures, responsibility distributions, and related assumptions are surveyed for this study to find answers for the above questions. This paper incorporates the responses from interviews of its editors and the questionnaires filled by its in-house translators, aiming to present a clear picture of the impact of institutional factors on translating discourse on sensitive domestic realities in China.


Dr Li Pan
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies

The study is most likely the first empirical study on the institutional practice of a Chinese authoritative news agency engaging in translating international news . It could be regarded as a breakthrough in unveiling the institutional practice of a state-run Chinese news agency which is usually inaccessible to researchers and any other outsiders.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Li Pan