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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:

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Abstract

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.


Keywords

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

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.59400/fls.v6i1.2026
(237 Abstract Views, 128 PDF Downloads)

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