Peculiarities of translation of social and political online news

UDC 81.23
Publication date: 20.08.2016
International Journal of Professional Science №1-2016

Peculiarities of translation of social and political online news

Geiko Natalya Romanovna
Kostanai Branch of Chelyabinsk State University, Kostanai
Abstract: The aim of the article is to demonstrate the features of texts of online news and to identify the most problematic lexical units for translators. Ways of translating of news materials are illustrated by way of examples of English and Russian language electronic media. Methods and techniques used in the study: descriptive method with its main components - observation, interpretation and generalization; the method of contextual analysis; the method of a solid sample of the actual material from the original texts. Analysis of online news has shown that a translator should pay attention to the translation of abbreviations, attributive phrases, stylistic expressive means and devices, social and political terminology, phraseology, informal vocabulary.
Keywords: translation, social and political vocabulary, mass media

National and foreign news about the social and political events is always the public interest. Under the era of globalization the rapid development in all spheres of human life enhances the keen interest in the changes in economic and political life in the whole world.

Today we live in the information age, every day we get news from the Internet, from newspapers and magazines, television and radio programs.

In this article, news is considered to be the material containing the event, which displays the current self-evident fact of reality, changing the specific situation, necessarily connected with a social problem and which may be interesting for the audience.

Wide spreading of news about the actual problems of our time to a large number of recipients at the present stage of development is provided by the on-line editions of the print media and the creation of media sites on the Internet, publishing translations of foreign publications.

The topicality of this article is vivid. It is necessary to study the linguistic and cultural features of the translation of socio-political news. Translation of socio-political materials is of great importance at the present time, due to the fact that socio-political publications cover a variety of social and political events taking place around the world: articles about the international, governmental and public organizations and political parties, military conflicts, wars, the process of world globalization, nuclear arms, national issues, economic crises, etc.

The material of the study is based on samples of electronic media: on-line version of English-language newspapers and its translations on the site,, for 2016.

Modern Internet version of the English-language and Russian-language media provide the reader with information about the different spheres of human activity. They present the current political, economic, environmental, national and other problems of society, everything that is so important for cultural bearer.

For our study socio-political events presented in all the above publications are of great importance.

Socio-political events are reports about the political and social life of any country, major events and their impact on the world.

We see that the translation theorists and practitioners have new tasks. In the modern period it is very indispensable to improve the quality of news translation. The translator must remember that the accepted criteria of news reports are the topicality, correctness, completeness.

Researches make great demands of translation of socio-political texts: it must be effective, able to carry out certain practical problems in a proper way and at the same time be as accurate and politically correct as possible.

Analysis of the structure of Russian- language and English-language online media, represented by showed that the articles in these journals are represented by the name of the news, by the text of the news material, by a photo of the described events, and hyperlinks. Headline of news material usually consists of 4-10 words (What makes America great? Team USA is showing us — Сборная США демонстрирует нам, что делает Америку великой; Crimea: Russia’s Little Pawn — Крым — пешка России; Putin’s Removal of Ivanov as Chief of Staff Is More About Rejuvenation — Путин омолаживает систему).

The main purpose of the title is to attract readers’ attention and to arouse interest in the described events. The information scope of the Russian-language news material is 3-4 times less than the English-language content. Considering this fact, translators sometimes reduce the amount of news material in the translation from English into Russian. This can be seen by viewing the article of foreign publications, which have been translated into the Russian language on the following sites: [2; 5].

The news material of social and political matter has lexical units used to increase the impact and a greater understanding of readership:

— specific terms related to the political and public life (a foreign power, military operations, collaboration, Revolution, political party);

— colloquial words and phrases (Clinton reportedly fumed, ‘Who the fuck does he think he is? Who’s the fucking superpower here?’ [6]; As was often said about US support for brutal dictators during the Cold War, ‘he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch’ [6]. Barack Obama said it would “get stuck in a quagmire and it won’t work” [4];

— abbreviation and acronym (IRGC the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps; DOD Department of Defense; DNC Democratic National Committee);

— phraseological units and idioms (to have its finger on Europe’s pulse; the U.S. “could find common ground” with Russia);

 — similes, metaphors, elements of irony (bureaucratic landscape; “fresh blood” (about new appointments in the government); a chain of economic shocks; Mr. Putin’s image as the strongman of Europe; American values; characterization of Ukraine’s post-Viktor Yanukovych democratic government as fascist);

— attributive groups (a long-standing agreement; the Russian leadership team; governors and presidential envoys; the internal law enforcement; the last strategic urban stronghold; government-chartered institutions; wide-ranging health care legislation; high-turnout elections; American political process; a presidential campaign issue; immediate politicization, Putin-centric political elites);

— loanwords (The Rouhani team has largely looked at the new U.S.-Russian cold war following the fallout from the annexation of Crimea as an opportunity to push its own agenda — not as an opportunity to move closer to Moscow per se, but to play the Russia card as a way to prod Washington to reassess its overall posture toward Iran [8]. State employees (or biudzhetniki) tend to believe in foreign policy directions based on personalities like Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov or Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu [1]. Were his foreign policy grounded in some discernible logic, his moves would be predictable and ex post facto explicable [3]);

— words with positive or negative colour (strategic overlap; a revolutionary Islamic force; the moderate government; pivotal obstacle; failed policy; indiscriminate violence; crafty efforts).

Translator working with news content must know and understand the nature and history of these events, at any time able to explain or clarify information for readers.

Translator can adapt the translation, depending on the cultural characteristics of the audience for which the translation is done. Sometimes it is necessary to perform an explanation of some words with no direct equivalents in other languages, culture-specific vocabulary.

The translator must realize the meaning of some phrases that are frequently used in political news. For example, “As soon as, God forbid, that happens, then they no longer need the bear, and the taiga will be taken over” [7]. Here the bear is the image of V. Putin, and Russia is compared with taiga by American journalists.

Many interpreters and translators believe that the translation of the socio-political texts does not require specific knowledge in comparison with the special translation, where it is necessary to have information about the sphere of translation. However, the important role is played by the “background information” [9, p. 18], and the more extensive the information, the more appropriate the translation is. Social and political translation involves taking into account and analysis of country-specific features and of course the high lexical level, as vocabulary of the socio-political sphere is the most subjected to semantic changes.


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