TM2: P. Gendron & K. Conway

Translation and Multi-Platform Journalism at CBC/Radio-Canada: Invisible Forms and Modes of Translation for Online News

Philippe Gendron and Kyle Conway

University of Ottawa

Abstract: Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada, has the mandate to inform the citizens of Canada in both official languages. Frequently, as a result, CBC/Radio-Canada must transmit information that is not originally in the language of the viewer. In an era where the distinction between different media platforms is increasingly blurred, this mandate presents a new set of challenges. In that context of multiplatform journalism, it is important to investigate this new translation environment. To this end, this paper examines all the articles published in the politics sections of the CBC’s and Radio-Canada’s websites from January 15–22, 2017. First, this analysis demonstrates that a limited number of articles contain examples of translation and the process of translation is almost always invisible, in contrast to Gagnon’s (2012) findings in print news in Canada. Second, the process of translation is made visible only when it is necessary for the comprehension of an article. Third, in all the cases of translation, across all platforms, there was a net preference for paraphrasing. This study is a good first step in explaining the different techniques used to translate both for the majority language and for the minority language. It compares modes of translation with the results of a similar study conducted in the 1990s (Conway, 2010). It focuses on the stories themselves, in ways complementary to a parallel presentation that sheds light on the processes in the same broadcaster (“Translation and multi-platform journalism at CBC/Radio-Canada: visions and practices of reporters working in a ‘minor’ context,” by Lucile Davier).

Keywords: news translation, multi-platform journalism, audiovisual translation, CBC/Radio-Canada, invisibility


Philippe Gendron is a fourth year BA student at the University of Ottawa. His research interests include communication, translation, Canadian media, and the place of francophone media in Canada.


Kyle Conway teaches communication at the University of Ottawa. He studies media and translation. His books include (among others): Everyone Says No: Public Service Broadcasting and the Failure of Translation and Little Mosque on the Prairie and the Paradoxes of Cultural Translation.