Stance in political discourse: Arabic translations of American newspaper opinion articles on the 'Arab Spring'
, PhD thesis, The University of Salford.
This thesis aims to introduce the theoretical concept of stance, as an aspect of interpersonal
meaning, into the discipline of Translation Studies and to explore the reproduction of stance in
translations of a heavily opinionated political genre commissioned by newspapers. It seeks to
provide an account of how patterns of stance are conveyed in newspaper opinion articles on the
‘Arab Spring’ originally published in English in the Washington Post and the New York Times
and then how these patterns are re-conveyed in full translations of these articles for two quality
Arabic-language newspapers with divergent editorial policies: Al-Ghad and Al-Ittihad.
A triangulation of methods is employed for providing a coherent analysis of stance at different
levels: lexico-grammatical, textual, and contextual. Accordingly, the methodology chosen for the
purposes of the study is a combination of corpus- and discourse-analytical methods that operate
within the tradition of descriptive translation studies. The former is drawn from the lexicogrammatical framework of stance (Biber et al., 1999; Biber, 2006), while the latter is drawn from
appraisal theory (Martin and White, 2005). Also, the combined methodology is complemented
by some aspects of Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysis (1992, 1995a) and Baker’s
narrative theory (2006), which, to varying degrees, allow for the contextualisation of the findings
and the explanation of translational behaviour.
The main contribution of the thesis is that it introduces a new theoretical concept into the field –
the concept of stance. This has not previously been approached within translation studies,
although it has been high on the research agenda for the past two decades or so within the field
of linguistics and its neighbouring disciplines. Also, the thesis has designed and tested a new
combined theoretical approach to analyse this phenomenon within the tradition of descriptive
translation studies. Moreover, this thesis contributes to the field as well by addressing a new
form of shifts in translation, namely shift in stance. The examination of the conveyance and reconveyance of stance reveals that significant shifts in stance occurred in the Arabic translations
produced by Al-Ghad and Al-Ittihad. These shifts result in the weakening, accentuation, and
entire loss of original stance.
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