[New Publication] Distance and closeness in translated global news coverage: bilingual representations of culture-bound themes from Bolivia to the world

By Natalia Rodriguez-Blanco

Published in Perspectives


Global news agencies are major sources of information about events often happening far away from their international audiences; information that rapidly transcends geographic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. There is a twofold purpose to the analysis in this study of bilingual feature stories dealing with the representation of faith in Bolivia, published by the news agencies Associated Press, Agencia EFE, and Reuters in Spanish and English. First, it implements an analytical framework to characterize bilingual news coverage by describing types of transcultural transfers, singling out the translation techniques applied, and bringing into focus how the culture-bound elements were rendered. Second, the contrastive textual analysis prompts a methodological discussion on the potential of studying translation distance and closeness in multilingual news production from a non-mainstream locale. Results point to close renditions that may not be considered a typical practice in news translation, yet are ostensibly purposeful both from a translational and from a journalistic perspective. Since journalism and translation coexist in multilingual newsrooms, where the latter often goes unacknowledged, this article ultimately attempts to reveal the role of translation in producing international news about distant realities, such as Bolivia, where cultural specificities are ubiquitous.