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The Individual and the Collective in Institutional Translation: A Case Study of Political News in Kuwait

BEZEA, ABDULLAH,S (2022) The Individual and the Collective in Institutional Translation: A Case Study of Political News in Kuwait. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Abdullah Bezea's PhD thesis.) - Accepted Version


The translation phenomenon is one that is affected by many factors. In an institutional setting these factors can vary. Institutions are collective in nature with translators being individuals in these institutions. This research has three aims. First, to explore the influence of the individual and the collective on the translation process and product in an institutional translation setting. Second, the research aims to examine the agency of the translator in an institutional setting dealing with political news. Third, to examine the effects of personal social attributes (nationality, religion, and political views) of translators in an institutional setting.

This research examined the institutional translation of political news in Kuwait as a case study to achieve these aims. This case study explores the previous phenomena by analysing three qualitative data sets and one quantitative data set. The qualitative data sets are critical discourse analysis (CDA) of political news texts in Kuwait (30 texts), translators’ interviews analysis (33 participants), and three open-ended questions analysis. the quantitative data set is from a multiple-choice questionnaire (33 participants). This corpus was collected from four Kuwaiti news translation institutions, two public institutions and two private ones. The public institutions are the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information and the Kuwait News Agency, the private ones are the Arab Times newspaper and the Kuwait Times newspaper.

The results show that, in the institutional translation of political news, collective (institutional) influence on the translation process and product exceeds that of the individual (translator) influence. This institutional influence was observed in the guidelines and protocols of each studied institution. This was more prominent in public institutions compared to the private ones. Mainly, this is due to public institutions having to be reflective of the state’s political views and policies. The translator’s agency in an institutional setting was found to be limited, due to the translator having to be in line with the institution’s guidelines and established translation process. The translator’s agency seems to also be affected by the general policy of the institution, which makes a translator working in an institutional setting likely to have limited agency.

The effects of the personal factors of political views, religion, and social background were limited as the translators and their translations were found to be more affected by institutional factors rather than personal ones. This was observed in two main instances. First, the majority of interviewed translators argued against the effects of personal factors. Second, the translations’ analysis showed that the translations were more affected by collective/institutional factors rather than personal ones. This made the translations more reflective of their respective institution.

A general overview of the state of institutional translation of political news in Kuwait was established. This was achieved by studying the recent translation processes and products of four prominent news translation institutions in Kuwait as a case study. Institutional translation of political news in Kuwait follows a defined translation process at the four institutions. This process is governed by strict procedures, guidelines, and protocols that the translators and their translations must abide by for the translations to be published. The translation process and product were found to be affected by external factors such as strict Kuwaiti publication laws, Kuwait’s foreign state policy, Kuwait’s diplomatic relationships, and the Amiri Diwan.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Translation; Translation Studies; Institutional translation; Collective; Individual; CDA; Critical discourse analysis; Empirical research; Kuwait; Sociology of translation; Translation and society; Translation and government; Social factors in translation; Translation in Kuwait; Political news translation; Translation and Politics;
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Nov 2022 10:48

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