Open Journal Systems

Language, violence, and media: Translating Russia-Ukraine 2022–2023 war from Arabic to English

Almutairi Mashael

Article ID: 2026
Vol 6, Issue 1, 2024, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 237 (Abstract) 128 (PDF)


Reporting a situation of war is an intricate activity that requires balance. An attempt not to uphold this balance can have an implication not only on the parties involved in the war but also on the report. This paper examines Arabic-English reports of the Russia-Ukraine 2022-2023 war, considering how the target text orients towards peace. The study has a tripartite footing in translation, media, and peace linguistics, drawing insights from Holmes/Toury’s Descriptive Translation Studies. The English translation has been carried out by two purposively selected media organizations, Asharq Al-Awsat and Qatar News Agency, which primarily report in Arabic. We have chosen two media houses in order to evaluate the peace linguistic implications of target texts in private and public media houses, the result of which can draw more attention to this research area. Ten reports on the Russia-Ukraine 2022–2023 war were randomly downloaded for the study from two websites, Asharq Al-Awsat and Qatar News Agency), all in Arabic (source text) and English (target text) versions. The Source Text (ST) versions were duly screened for expressions that describe violence or peace. Such expressions constitute the focus of examination in the Target Text (TT) so that we can identify how they have been translated, which leads to their peace linguistic effect. The study finds an under-reporting (or under-translation) of a violent situation of the war in the target text via lexical omission with the intent of either promoting peace or taking sides with one of the warring parties. At other times, there is neutralization of violence in the text so that the key lexical items suggesting violence are replaced with innocuous ones. The study concludes that the TT is more interested in amplifying the statement of violence attributed to Ukraine’s ally and, at the same time, backgrounding their statement of peace. On the contrary, violence attributed to Russia is often neutralized via the use of inadequate lexemes to report events.


war; Russia-Ukraine; translation; peace linguistics; media; translation

Full Text:



Al-Ogali, A.A. (2021). A Handbook of Media Translation. Majmahu Kuliyyaat Baabi Zubayr.

Ayasrah, B.M. (2015). The Role of Translation in Shaping Media and Political Discourses in Times of Conflict: The Syrian “Spring” in Context [PhD thesis]. London Metropolitan University.

Baker, M. (2006). Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. Routledge.

Baker, M. (2007). Reframing Conflict in Translation. Social Semiotics, 17(2), 151–169.

Baker, M. (2010). Interpreters and Translators in the War Zone. The Translator, 16(2), 197–222.

Bello, U. M., Yasser Alrefaee. (2022). Verbal Choice in the Ideological Construction of Romance and Migration in Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah. Cogent Arts & Humanities, 9(1).

Catford, J. C. “Translation Shifts”. The translation studies reader. London: Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2004. pp. 141-147.

Chilton, P. (2004). Analysing Political Discourse. Theory and Practice. Routledge.

Cronin, M. (2010). Globalization and Translation. Handbook of Translation Studies.

Gambier, Y., Doorslaer, L. Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1: 134-140.

Dragovic-Drouet, M. (2007). The Practice of Translation and Interpreting During the Conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia (1991-1999). Translating and Interpreting Conflict, 29–40.

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. London: Longman.

Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing Discourse. Textual analysis for social research. London and New York: Routledge.

Farghal, M. (2012) Advanced Issues in Arabic-English Translation Studies, Sayyab Books Series, London & Kuwait Publication Council, Kuwait.

Flowtow, L. (2010). Gender in Translation. In: Gambier, Y. & Doorslaer, L. (editors). Handbook of Translation Studies. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. pp. 129-133.

Freeth, P. J. (2023). Between consciously crafted and the vastness of context: collateral paratextuality and its implications for translation studies. Translation Studies, 16(3), 419–435.

Inghilleri, M. (2009). Translators in War Zones: Ethics under Fire in Iraq. Globalization, Political Violence and Translation, 207–221.

Inghilleri, M. (2010). You Don’t Make War Without Knowing Why. The Translator, 16(2), 175–196.

Kolawole, S. O. (2013). Interdisciplinarity in Language, Linguistics and Translation. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, 2(9): 7-12.

Kress, G., van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Routledge.

Kress, G., van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal Discourse. The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. Arnold.

Liao, M. H. (2022). Translation as a practice of resemiotization: A case study of the Opium War Museum. Translation Studies, 16(1), 48–63.

Lemke, J. L. (2002). Travels in hypermodality. Visual Communication, 1(3), 299–325.

Lemke, J. L. (2003). Texts and Discourses in the Technologies of Social Organization. Critical Discourse Analysis, 130–149.

Liu, W., & Yu, Z. (2023). Metaphorical translation strategies of the white paper “China’s Green Development in the New Era.” Forum for Linguistic Studies, 5(2), 1858.

Maier, C. (2007). The translator as an intervenient being, In: Munday, J. (editor). Translation as Intervention. Continuum. pp. 1-17.

Munday, J. (2007). Translation as Intervention. Continuum.

Nida, E. (2004). Principles of Correspondence. The translation studies reader. In: Venutti, L. (editor). London: Taylor and Francis e-Library. pp. 126-140.

Norris, S. (2004). Analyzing Multimodal Interaction. Routledge.

Norris, S., & Jones, R. H. (2005). Discourse in Action. Routledge.

Omole, K. & Bello, U. M. (2009). Language, Violence and Conflict Resolution: A Grammatical Perspective to Peace Linguistics. Journal of Research and Development in Arts and Social Science, 5: 63-79.

Palmer, J. (2007). Interpreting and Translation for Western Media in Iraq. Translating and Interpreting Conflict, 11–28.

Rafael, V. (2010). Translation in wartime. In: M. Baker (editor). Critical Readings in Translation Studies. pp. 383-390.

Salama-Carr, M. (2007). Translating and Interpreting Conflict.

Scollon, R. (2001). Mediated Discourse. Routledge.

Scollon, R., & Wong Scollon, S. (2003). Discourses in Place. Routledge.

Ali, G., Ali, N., & Syed, K. (2023). Understanding Shifting Paradigms of Translation Studies in 21st Century.

Tumber, H., & Palmer, J. (2004). Media at War: The Iraq Crisis.

Tymoczko, M. (2007). Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators, Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.

Xiaochuan, R. (2008). A Study of Principles of Bible Translation from the Perspective of Martin Luther’s Bible Translation. Canadian Social Science. June, 4(1), 74-79.

Vandaele, J. (2010). Humor in translation. Handbook of Translation Studies, 147–152. Portico.

Ventola, E., Charles, C., & Kaltenbacher, M. (2004). Perspectives on Multimodality. Document Design Companion Series.

Weiss, G., & Wodak, R. (2003). Critical Discourse Analysis. Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Wodak, R. (1989). Language, Power and Ideology. In: Critical Theory. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

(237 Abstract Views, 128 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Almutairi Mashael

License URL: