TM2: Lucile Davier

Translation and multiplatform journalism at CBC/Radio-Canada: 
visions and practices of reporters working in a “minor” context

Lucile Davier
University of Geneva

Abstract: In Ottawa, the regional newsrooms of Canada’s public broadcaster (French-language Radio-Canada and English-language CBC) cover an area at the border between two provinces—Ontario, with an English-speaking majority, and Quebec, with a French-speaking majority. This paper explores “professional visions” ⁠(Goodwin 1994) of translation by relying on fieldwork (semi-directed interviews, non-participant observation, and documents) conducted in these newsrooms in 2017. Previous studies in news translation have argued that translation is invisible in the media​ ⁠(Bielsa and Bassnett 2009, Tsai 2010, Conway 2011, Davier 2014). Are these findings also valid in a context where the main working language is a minority language? According to which criteria do journalists decide to translate or not to translate sources in a second language? Which modes of translation do they favour? The situation is very different in both newsrooms. The Francophones describe themselves as a language minority that has to deal with the majority language on a daily basis, while the Anglophones rarely need to translate content. In the era of multiplatform production (radio, television, website, etc.), reporters distinguish translations for written text (published on the web) from audiovisual translations (radio or video). On the one hand, web reporters tend to translate more and hide marks of translation in their texts. On the other hand, radio and television reporters deliberately look for sources that are able to speak in their first language (French for Radio-Canada, English for CBC). Reporters explain this preference because of technical constraints. In prolonged interviews nevertheless, Francophone journalists also acknowledge the wish to give more space to “French voices.” In a minor context, avoiding translation or making it invisible in the media could be seen as an activist act. This paper focuses on journalistic practices (the process), in ways complementary to a parallel presentation that sheds light on the online news stories (the product) produced by the same broadcaster (“Translation and multiplatform journalism at CBC/Radio-Canada: invisible forms and modes of translation for online news,” by Philippe Gendron and Kyle Conway).

Keywords:​ news translation, audiovisual translation, minority language, invisibility, non-professional translation

Short bio: Lucile Davier holds a position as a lecturer at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting (University of Geneva, Switzerland). She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa, Canada (2016-2017), and a visiting scholar at the University of Leuven, Belgium (2012-2013). In 2013, she earned a joint doctoral degree in translation studies and communication studies (University of Geneva and University of Paris 3). Her research interests include news translation, translation ethnography, and convergent media.

Selected bibliography
⁠Bielsa, Esperança, and Susan Bassnett. 2009. Translation in global news. London, New York: Routledge.
Conway, Kyle. 2011. Everyone says no: Public service broadcasting and the failure of translation. Montreal, etc.: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Davier, Lucile. 2014. “The paradoxical invisibility of translation in the highly multilingual context of news agencies.” Global Media and Communication 10 (1):53-72. doi: 10.1177/1742766513513196.
Goodwin, Charles. 1994. “Professional vision.” American Anthropologist 96 (3):606-633.
Tsai, Claire. 2010. “News translator as reporter.” In Political discourse, media and translation, edited by Christina Schäffner and Susan Bassnett, 178-197. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.