Political discourse and transalation


Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….2


Theory of  Political Discourse ……………………………………………………………4

1.1. The Nature of Political Discourse ………………………………………………………….4

1.2. Language of Politics and Critical Discourse Analysis…………………………………...11


Political Discourse and Translation  …………………………………………...…........14

2.1. Translation of the Language of Politics ………………………………………………… 14

2.2. Political Discourse Translation ………………………………………………………….15


Political Discourse analysis of British and American politicians’ speeches and their translation into Armenian ………………………………………………..19

3.1. Comparative analysis of English and American pre-election speeches and their translation into Armenian …….………………………………………………………………19

3.2. The Use of Syntactical Stylistic Devices in Creating Expressiveness in British and American Politicians’ Speeches and Their Translation into Armenian  ………………..…31

3.3.God and biblical themes in the speeches of American Presidents  …………………..…43

Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………...................51

Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………………54













The study of political discourse has been around for as long as politics itself.   Political discourse analysis is a field of discourse analysis which focuses on discourse in political forums (such as debates, speeches, and hearings).   Politicians in this sense are the group of people who are being paid for their (political) activities, and who are being elected or appointed (or self-designated) as the central players in the polity. Linguistics is  interested in the words and structures politicians use to create a certain view of the world. This word view will be directly linked to their purpose and audience and will affect the language they choose in order to achieve a set goal. Lexical and syntactical choices can affect the voters, persuading them to vote for certain policies or personalities. Political language can be recognized in a variety of forms but in each case lexical and syntactical choices are directly linked to the audience, purpose and context of the discourse. Politicians aim to represent society as it really is, they can use language to adapt reality to suit their purposes.

Speeches of English and especially American politics in the twenty-first century are perhaps more frequently analyzed than any other body of language in modern English. With the growing popularity and use of the major news media and the Internet, the general public currently has an utterly unprecedented level of access to reports, transcripts and even videos of every word that passes through a public speaker's lips. The public scrutiny, however, is generally turned towards the meaningful content of these speeches rather than the manner of their expression. Through analysis of certain speeches of British and American politicians, this study aims to identify some of the common characteristics of preprepared political speeches and highlight the linguistic features commonly present both in speeches of American and English politicians.

The political elite are people that are educated and saddled with the task or business of political leadership and those occupying various political positions like Presidency, Head of State, Governorship, Ministry, Ambassadorship, Advisory, and other political offices. It also embraces those that are involved in practical political practitioning and politicking either civil or military. Each regime has always produced its own political leaders and elite.

Political speech, as a subset of late Modern English, is an interesting entity. Many of its linguistic features attempt to mimic those of conversational, scholarly or formal English, but the defining differences ultimately stem from the fact that it is all carefully crafted to persuade or even manipulate its intended audience.

In this paper we’ve set forth to study the nature of political discourse and critical discourse analysis.  The central aim of our analysis lies in revealing the means by which language is deployed in speeches of American and English politicians in order  to maintain power. Political discourse analysis of British and American politicians’ speeches was better accomplished by means of translation of certain parts of the analyzed speeches.

In this work we set the following tasks:

  • to review the sources devoted to the study of the political discourse analysis;
  • to reveal certain characteristic features of translation of the language of  politics;
  • to investigate political discourse analysis of British and American politicians’ speeches and their translation into Armenian.

The paper is composed of introduction, three chapters, conclusion and bibliography list. In the introduction the object and aims of the paper are mentioned. In the first chapter the general issues of political discourse  are considered. In the second chapter the characteristic features of translation of language of politics are outlined. The third chapter is solely devoted to the practical analysis of the political discourse of British and American politicians’ speeches and their translation into Armenian. The conclusion sums up the results of the study.




















Chapter 1

Theory of Political Discourse

1.1. The Nature of Political Discourse

The way we perceive language is the foundation of our social construction and individual or group relationships, and studies in sociolinguistics have tried to explain this relationship between the use of language and the importance of perceptions. A particular discourse, spoken or written, can stem from different sources such as power,  cultural or social background, region or social status.

Language is closely bound up with our social and cognitive development from  childhood, and our identity formation. The attitude that a listener can adopt towards the speech of another speaker has been a significant issue in sociolinguistics. The  study of language attitudes is one of the most important topics in the social  psychology of language. Much of the work on language attitudes has been conducted under the rubric of the social psychology, but sociolinguistics has always shared “overlapping concerns and involvements” (Garret 2001: 626). Trudgil (1992) describes language attitudes as “the attitudes which people have towards different  languages, dialects, accents, and their speakers” (Trudgil 1992: 44). Such attitudes may range from very favourable to very unfavourable, and may be manifested in subjective judgments about correctness, worth and aesthetic qualities of varieties, as well as the personal qualities of their speakers. Whilst linguistic studies have shown that such attitudes have no linguistic basis, sociolinguistics studies have proven that  attitudes are social in origin, and they may have important effects on language behaviour, being involved in acts of identity and linguistic change. Fasold (2006) notes that most language attitude work is based on a mentalist  view of attitude as a state of readiness: “an intervening variable between a stimulus affecting a person and that person’s response” (Fasold 2006: 147). A person’s attitude, in this view, prepares her/his reaction to a given stimulus in one way rather than in another. The other view is the behaviourist view. According to this theory, attitudes are to be found simply in the responses people make to social situations. Moreover, Holmes (2001) notes that attitudes to language ultimately reflect attitudes to the users and the uses of language. The standard variety in a community has “overt prestige” (Holmes 2001: 344). Speakers who use the standard variety are rated highly in terms of educational and occupational status, and these ratings reflect the  associations of their speech variety, which is generally held up as the best way of speaking in the community. “Covert speech” refers to positive attitudes towards vernacular or nonstandard speech varieties (Holmes 2001: 348).

These studies imply that attitudes to language can be linked to social and cultural identity, to social status and to the notions of prestige and solidarity, and that attitudes to language and its varieties can be influenced by different factors related to the users of that specific language.

Discourse is a broad term with various definitions which “integrates a whole palette of meanings” (Titscher et al. 2000 :42), covering a large area from linguistics, through sociology, philosophy and other disciplines. According to Fairclough (1989) the term refers to “the whole process of interaction of which a text  is just a part” (Fairclough 1989: 24). As pervasive ways of experiencing the world, discourses refer to expressing oneself using words. Discourses can be used for asserting power and knowledge, and for resistance and critique. The speaker expresses

his/her ideological content in texts as does the linguistic form of the text. That is,  selection or choice of a linguistic form may not be a live process for the individual speaker, but the discourse will be a reproduction of that previously learned discourse. 

According to Schaffner (1996), political discourse, as a sub-category of discourse in general, can be based on two criteria: functional and thematic. Political discourse is a result of politics and it is historically and culturally determined. It fulfills different functions due to different political activities. It is thematic because its topics are primarily related to politics such as political activities, political ideas and political relations. Power is a complex and an abstract idea and has a significant influence on our  lives. It is the “ability of its holders to exact compliance or obedience of other  individuals to their will” (The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thoughts, 1999: 678). According to Edelman (1977), the power-holder is a person who can “exercise influence outside the context of formal proceedings [thus wielding] real power” (Edelman, 1977: 123). Language has a key role in the exchange of values in social life and transforming power into right and obedience into duty. It may both create  power and become an area where power can be applied. Social values and beliefs are the products of the institutions and organisations around us, and are created and shared through language. Rousseau (2004) highlights this point saying “the strongest  is never strong enough always to be master unless he transforms his power into right and obedience into duty” (Rousseau, J.J., cited in The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thoughts, 1999: 678). Edwards (2006) notes that people do not “react to the world on the basis of sensory input but, rather, of what we perceive that input to  mean” (Edwards, 2006: 324). This is because language use corresponds to views of the social status of language users, thus providing simple labels which evoke social stereotypes that go far beyond language itself. For instance, listening to a given variety, acts as a trigger or a stimulus that evokes attitudes or prejudices or stereotypes about the community to which the speaker is thought to belong. According to Wareing (2004), the affective function of language is concerned with who is allowed to say what to whom, which is “deeply tied up with power and social status” (Wareing, 2004: 9). In other words, how individuals choose and use different language systems varies according to who the speakers are, how they perceive themselves and what identity they want to project. Language use also varies according to whether the situation is public or private, formal or informal, who is being addressed and who might be able to overhear. Likewise, Meyerhoff (2006) points out that we draw very powerful inferences about people from the way they talk.

It is a common knowledge that politics is concerned with power: the power to  make decisions, to control resources, to control other people’s behaviour and often to control their values. According to Jones and Peccei (2004), politicians throughout ages have achieved success thanks to their “skilful use of rhetoric”, by which they aim to persuade their audience of the validity of their views, delicate and careful use of elegant and persuasive language. Rhetoric is “the art of using language so as to persuade or influence others; the body of rules to be observed by a speaker or writer in order that he may express himself with eloquence” (Oxford English Dictionary).  Although the use of language is unquestionably an important element of politics, Fairclough (2006) notes that it can “misrepresent as well as represent realities, it can weave visions and imaginaries which can be implemented to change realities and in  some cases improve human well-being, but it can also rhetorically obfuscate realities, and construe them ideologically to serve unjust power relations” (Fairclough, 2006: 1).  Wareing (2004) also mentions that words can also have a strong influence on our attitudes; which word is chosen affects people’s perception of the others and of themselves. Similarly, Jones and Peccei (2004) point out that language can be used not only to steer people’s thoughts and beliefs but also to control their thoughts and beliefs. The best example for this notion may be Newspeak, a form of English  invented by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1998) in which people’s thoughts are controlled and limited by the language available to them. Orwell (1949) says that “Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. (...) To give a simple example, the word ‘free’ still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as “The dog is free from lice.” It could not be used in its old sense of „politically free‟ or „intellectually free‟,  since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless” (Orwell, 1998: 231). The novel makes it clear that it might be possible to manufacture an ideology which could steer the way people think. The main purpose of politicians is to persuade their audience of the validity of their political claims. Political influence flows from the employment of resources that shape the beliefs and behaviours of others. Common resources include expert skills, the restriction of information, the ability to confer favours on others or to injure them  without physical force, and subtle or crude bribery. Edelman (1977) states that the knowledgeable politician becomes successful by “using his or her knowledge of informal influence” (Edelman 1977: 123). According to Jones and Peccei (2004), this can be achieved through “presupposition” and “implicature”. These tools can lead the listener to make assumptions about the existence of information that is not made explicit in what is actually said, but that might be deduced from what was said. Presuppositions are background assumptions embedded within a sentence or phrase. These assumptions are taken for granted to be true regardless of whether the whole sentence is true. Such technique is particularly useful in political discourse because it can make it more difficult for the audience to identify or reject views communicated in this way, persuading people to take for granted something which is actually open to debate. Like presuppositions, implicatures lead the listener to infer something that was not explicitly asserted by the speaker. However, unlike presuppositions, these operate over more than one phrase or sentence and are much more dependent on shared knowledge between the speaker and the hearer and on the context of the discourse (Jones and Peccei 2004: 44). Van Djik (2006) notes that political situations do not simply cause political actors to speak in certain ways, instead “there is a need for a cognitive collaboration between situations and talk or text, that is a context” (Van Djik 2006: 733). Such contexts define how participants experience, interpret and represent the for-themrelevant aspects of the political situation. Political discourse is not only defined with political discourse structures but also with political contexts. Thus, acting as an MP, Prime Minister, party leader, or demonstrator will typically be perceived by speakers or recipients as a relevant context category in political discourse. A linguistic analysis of political discourse in general, and of political speeches in particular, can be most successful when it relates the details of linguistic behaviour to political behaviour. This can be done from two perspectives: we can start from the linguistic micro-level and ask which strategic functions specific structures (e.g. word choice, a specific syntactic structure) serve to fulfil. Alternatively, we can start from the macro-level, i.e. the communicative situation and the function of a text and ask which linguistic structures have been chosen to fulfil this function. Language use, discourse, verbal interaction, and communication belong to the micro-level of the

social order. Power, dominance, and inequality between social groups are typically terms that belong to a macro-level of analysis.

Given the power of the written and spoken discourse, Critical Discourse  Analysis (CDA, henceforth) can be used for describing, interpreting, analyzing, and critiquing social life reflected in text. CDA aims to systematically explore relationships between discursive practices, texts, and events and wider social and cultural structures, relations, and processes. Precise analysis and descriptions of the materiality of language are factors which are always characteristic of CDA. It strives to explore how these non-transparent relationships are a factor in securing power and hegemony, and it draws attention to power imbalances, social inequities, nondemocratic practices, and other injustices in hopes of spurring people to corrective actions (Fairclough 1992). It tries to illuminate ways in which the dominant forces in a society construct versions of reality that favour their interests. This means that CDA can theoretically bridge the gap between micro and macro approaches, which is a distinction that is a sociological construct in its own right (Van Dijk 2003: 354).

Political discourse analysis first of all should be able to define its proper object of study: What exactly is 'political discourse'? The easiest, and not altogether misguided, answer is that political discourse is identified by its actors or authors, politicians. Indeed, the vast bulk of studies of political discourse is about the text and talk of professional politicians or political institutions, such as presidents and prime ministers and other members of government, parliament or political parties, both at the local, national and international levels.

Some of the studies of politicians take a discourse analytical approach (Carbó 1984; Dillon et al. 1990; Harris 1991; Holly 1990; Maynard 1994; Seidel 1988b). In the USA, especially studies of presidential rhetoric are numerous (Campbell & Jamieson 1990; Hart 1984; Snyder & Higgins 1990; Stuckey 1989; Thompson 1987; Windt 1983, 1990).

Politicians in this sense are the group of people who are being paid for their (political) activities, and who are being elected or appointed (or self-designated) as the central players in the polity. This way of defining political discourse is hardly different from the identification of medical, legal or educational discourse with the respective participants in the domains of medicine, law or education. This is the relatively easy part (if we can agree on what ‘politics’ means).

However, although crucial in political science and PDA as actors and authors of political discourse and other political practices, politicians are not the only participants in the domain of politics.

From the interactional point of view of discourse analysis, we therefore should also include the various recipients in political communicative events, such as the public, the people, citizens, the `masses', and other groups or categories. That is, once we locate politics and its discourses in the public sphere, many more participants in political communication appear on the stage.

Obviously, the same is true for the definition of the field of media discourse, which also needs to focus on its audiences. And also in medical, legal or educational discourse, we not only think of participants such as doctors, lawyers or teachers, but also of patients, defendants and students. Hence, the delimitation of political discourse by its principal authors' is insufficient and needs to be extended to a more complex picture of all its relevant participants, whether or not these are actively involved in political discourse, or merely as recipients in one-way modes of communication. There is another complication, which is associated with the very delimitation of the field of politics. Obviously, it is not only official or professional politics and politicians that are involved in the polity. Political activity and the political process also involve people as citizens and voters, people as members of pressure and issue groups, demonstrators and dissidents, and so on (Verba, et al., 1993).

All these groups and individuals, as well as their organizations and institutions, may take part in the political process, and many of them are actively involved in political discourse. That is, a broad definition of politics implies a vast extension of the scope of the term 'political discourse' if we identify such practices by all participants in the political process.

Another, but overlapping way of delimiting the object of study is by focusing on the nature of the activities or practices being accomplished by political text and talk rather than only on the nature of its participants. That is, even politicians are not always involved in political discourse, and the same is obviously true for most other participants, such as the public or citizens in general, or even members of social movements or action groups. 

This also means that categorization of people and groups should at least be strict, viz., in the sense that their members are participants of political discourse only when acting as political actors, and hence as participating in political actions, such as governing , ruling, legislating, protesting, dissenting, or voting. 

Specifically interesting for PDA is then that many of their political actions or practices are at the same time discursive practices. In other words, forms of text and talk in such cases have political functions and implications. Although there are many more ways we may approach the problems of definition and delimitation, we may finally take the whole context as decisive for the categorization of discourse as 'political' or not. Participants and actions are the core of such contexts, but we may further analyze such contexts broadly in political and communicative events and encounters, with their own settings (time, place, circumstances), occasions, intentions, functions, goals, and legal or political implications. That is, politicians talk politically also (or only) if they and their talk are contextualized in such communicative events such as cabinet meetings, parliamentary sessions, election campaigns, rallies, interviews with the media, bureaucratic practices, protest demonstrations, and so on. Again, text and context mutually define each other, in the sense that a session of parliament is precisely such only when elected politicians are debating (talking, arguing, etc.) in parliament buildings in an official capacity (as MPs), and during the official (officially opened) session of parliament.

This integration of political texts and contexts in political encounters may of course finally be characterized as accomplishing specific political aims and goals, such as making or influencing political decisions, that is decisions that pertain to joint action, the distribution of social resources, the establishment or change of official norms, regulations and laws, and so on. That this domain is essentially fuzzy, hardly needs to be emphasized.

What may be clear for official political decision making by politicians at all levels, or even for various forms of political protesters and dissidents, is less clear for the decisions and discourse of, say, corporate managers, professors or doctors in other but overlapping domains of social life. In the sense that the latter' s decisions and practices affect the public at large or large segments of the public, also their actions and discourse become more or less 'political'. 

However, in order to avoid the extension of politics and political discourse to a domain that is so large that it would coincide with the study of public discourse in general we shall not treat such forms of discourse-with-possible-political-effects as political discourse. That is, corporate, medical or educational discourse, even when public and even when affecting the life of (many) citizens, will here not be included as forms of political discourse. And although we may readily subscribe to the well-known feminist slogan that the personal is political, we shall similarly not take all interpersonal talk (not even of gender) as political discourse.

The same is true for the discourses that pertain to the societal realms of 'race' or class. Since people and their practices may be categorized in many ways, most groups and their members will occasionally (also) `act politically', and we may propose that `acting politically', and hence also political discourse, are essentially defined contextually, viz., in terms of special events or practices of which the aims, goals or functions are maybe not exclusively but at least primarily political. This excludes the talk of politicians outside of political contexts, and includes the discourse of all other groups, institutions or citizens as soon as they participate in political events. 

From our discourse analytical point of view, such a contextual definition at the same time suggests that the study of political discourse should not be limited to the structural properties of text or talk itself, but also include a systematic account of the context and its relations to discursive structures.

Most, if not all, discourse structures may have many functions, in many different contexts and in many different genres. Except from the obvious case of lexical jargon (typically political words), therefore, we can hardly expect that structures that have so many functions could be reserved only for political genres and contexts.

In other words, once we have analyzed the particular properties of political contexts, political discourse analysis in many respects will be like any other kind of discourse analysis. The specifics of political discourse analysis therefore should be searched for in the relations between discourse structures and political context structures.

Thus, whereas metaphors in classroom discourse may have an educational function, metaphors in politics will function in a political context, for instance in the attack on political opponents, the presentation of policies or the legitimation of political power. An account of the structures and strategies of, e.g., phonology, graphics, syntax, meaning, speech acts, style or rhetoric, conversational interactions, among other properties of text and talk is therefore necessarily part of political discourse analysis only if such properties can be politically contextualized.

Despite such rather straightforward conditions on political discourse analysis, we may however ask ourselves whether specific discourse structures are more or less typical and especially more or less effective for the political functions they may have, or even, more specifically, in the specific political contexts in which they might be used.

Thus, we know that the 'official language' of government decisions, or the legal jargon of laws and regulations, is both discursively, politically and legally mandatory. Similarly, also parliamentary debates are expected to be held in relatively formal style of address and dialogue. Some of the more formulaic expressions, forms of address and textual and dialogical conventions are even specific for laws, regulations, parliamentary debates, or political speeches.



1.2. Language of Politics and Critical Discourse Analysis

Politics is a struggle for power in order to put certain political, economic and social ideas into practice. In this process, language plays a crucial role, for every political action is prepared, accompanied, influenced and played by language. 

It is widely conceived that language and politics are interconnected; language is for instance, considered the vehicular expression of politics. It is the means by which politics or political discourse and ideas are widely disseminated, Ali (1975) corroborates this when he opines that language “is the most important point of entry into habits of thought of a people. It embodies within itself cumulative association derived from the total experience of its people” (Ali: 48). In the same spirit, Harris avers, “in politics words have a powerful effect” (1975:58). Similarly, Harris views that Orwell sees political language as being designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, while Harris claims that Disraeli is of the view that “with words we govern men.” He adds, “language is the means by which political ideas are transmitted to the community,” while, he views that Locke claims that the strength of language in politicking is enormous. And at another setting, Ranney (1975: 130) submits that four hostile newspapers were the equivalent of 100,000 enemy troops on the field of battle underlining the extent to which political language is itself a weapon (Ranney: 130). He claims further that every political authority will lead to justify itself by an appeal to language in its symbolic or realistic sense. It is apparent from the various opinions stated above that language is the key factor in political behaviour concerning mobilizing people to support and acceptance; it is this relatedness of language and politics that justifies the need for this research so as to identify and highlight features inherent in the language of the political elite (Urbanavičienė 2004).

The methodological approach we have employed to examine the language of politics is known broadly as critical discourse analysis. This approach is at once both a technique for analysing specific texts or speech acts, and a way of understanding the relationship between discourse and social and political phenomena. By engaging in concrete, linguistic textual analysis—that is, by doing systematic analyses of spoken and written language—critical discourse analysis aims to shed light on the links between texts and societal practices and structures, or, the linguistic-discursive dimension of social action.

Critical Discourse Analysis  (CDA) is a framework for analyzing texts that grew out of the research of Fairclough in the 1980’s. He stated in his first publication, Language and Power, three pillars upon which his research is based; Language, Ideology and Power (Fairclough 1995:3). 

Another important aspect of CDA is the order of proceedings in the process of analysis. The first stage is description where formal properties of a text are treated. Second comes the interpretation, which looks at text-interaction relations. Finally there is the explanation, which explores relations between interaction and social context (Fairclough 1995:21 – 22).

Fairclough has defined some key variables for the practice of CDA, of which we intend to focus on two: ideologically contested words and the usage of the pronouns we and you (Fairclough 1995:92 – 93).

When using pronouns in a public discourse one has to be cautious, especially when giving a speech, which is a type of monologue, since then there is no room for questions and explanation. Finally one of the important features of CDA is the conception of knowledge. Jäger puts forth five central issues based on a theory of Foucault.

• what knowledge (valid at a certain place at a certain time) consists of;

• how this valid knowledge evolves;

• how it is passed on;

• what function it has for the constitution of subjects and the shaping of society and

• what impact this knowledge has on the overall development of society (Jäger 2003:32-33). 

Thus, a central aim of critical discourse analysis lies in revealing the means by which language is deployed to maintain power. What makes critical discourse analysis ‘critical’ is its normative commitment to positive social change.

In terms of studying the role and use of language, there are two levels at which critical discourse analysis functions. First, it engages directly with specific texts in an effort to discover how discursive practices operate linguistically within those texts. Second, because individual text analysis is not sufficient on its own to shed light on the relationship between discourse and social processes, critical discourse analysis adds a wider interdisciplinary perspective which combines textual and social analysis. In essence, critical discourse analysis involves carefully reading a specific text—such as a speech, interview, radio address or report—and employing a series of analytical questions: What assumptions, beliefs and values underlie the language in the text? How does the grammar, syntax and sentence construction reinforce the meanings and effects of the discursive constructions contained in the text? What are the histories and embedded meanings of the important words in the text? What patterns can be observed in the language, and how do different parts of the text relate to each other? What knowledge or practices are normalised by the language in the text? How does the language create, reinforce or challenge power relations in society? Finding answers to these questions goes some way towards understanding how discourses work to construct social processes and structures in ways that reproduce power relations.

Based on the above the conclusion that one must draw is that it is important to apply a critical stance towards how knowledge is presented as a commonly accepted truth.























Political Discourse and Translation

2.1. Translation of the Language of Politics

Political literature like any other scientific kind of literature  have languages items characteristic to them, that requires the translator  to  be precise and sharp. Most books on general politics are characterized  by  the passion of  expression,  polemic  style  and  the  specific  feature  is  in blending the elements of scientific speech  from  one  side  with  different emotionally colored means of expression from another side. The translation of political literature can be considered in two  ways: as a field of linguistic activity and as a separate field in science.

As a field of linguistic activity translation of  political  literature represents one of the types of special translations  possessing  as  objects of its activity different materials of political character.

   The translation of political language comes out into a special field of  study  due to its specific features of written and verbal speech on  political  topics, which is specified by its essential character  and  the  knowledge  of  this science.  Sometimes  these  features  are  so  diverse  that  in  order   to understand them  one  should  have  a special knowledge without which it would be very hard  to  clearly  perceive the inner sense on politics or a translated piece.

  Therefore, the study of specific features of written and verbal  speech acquires great importance to translators  (interpreters).  To  the  features mention above belong the following:

  1. maximal filling the political literature with special  political terms, and in verbal speech (among the politicians) – filling it with words of political jargon – slang.
  2. presence of special  idiomatic  expressions  and  phraseological units in verbal and written  speech  that  are  rarely  used  in colloquial speech and general literature.
  3. the presence of some stylistic deflection from general  literary norms is sometimes very great.
  1. wide  usage   of   elliptic   constructions,   especially   in periodically publishing materials, propaganda and  other  kinds of politically important printing media.
  1. preciseness and beauty of self-expression which is achieved  by the usage of elliptic constructions along with  wide  usage  of passive constructions.
  2. the presence of official writing style, mostly in documents  of official provisions that  cover  administrative  and  political questions.
  3. strictly regulated use of verbal  forms and  word  phrases  in special  chapters  of  political   literature   and   political documents.



2.2. Political Discourse Translation

The purposes of translation are so diverse, the texts so different, and the receptors so varied that one can readily understand how and why many distinct formulations of principles and practices of translation have been proposed. It’s widely known that translators should know both the source and the receptor languages, should be familiar with the subject matter, and should have some facility of expression in the receptor language. Beyond these basic requirements there is little agreement on what constitutes legitimate translating and how the science of linguistics, or even the knowledge of language structures, can and should be applied. For a better understanding of the causes of this lack of agreement and in order to construct a framework for the analysis and evaluation of the various theories of translation, it is essential to review the relations between the source, the message, and the receptors in the communication process, and also the function of the medium of communication which is employed.

What does it mean to act politically? On the face it, the phrase would involve actions influencing relations between people, particularly the loyalties and alliances that form power and direct its flows. The political pronoun is certainly "we", variously inclusive or exclusive. To act politically, in the intercultural field, could thus mean siding with one culture or the other, or with one aspect of a culture against another, to some degree or another, for one reason or another.

Because translation is an activity involving language, there is a sense in which any and all theories of translation are linguistic. There are, however, three quite different ways in which the principles and procedures of translation have been formulated and defended. These diverse approaches to the problems of translating are essentially matters of different perspectives or foci. If the focus of attention is on particular texts (and especially if these are of a so-called literary quality), the underlying theory of translation is generally best regarded as philological. If, however, the focus of attention is on the correspondences in language form and content, that is, on the structural differences between the source and receptor languages, the corresponding theory may be regarded as linguistic. Finally, if the focus is on translation as a part of an actual communication process, the most appropriate designation for the related theories is sociolinguistic. In actual practice, of course, there is a considerable degree of overlap both in the formulation of principles and in the corresponding recommendations on procedures.

That general process is held to have certain elements of irreversibility thanks to its grounding in technological change. Translators will mostly have to come to terms with those elements, as will everyone else. There are, however, political processes that build on globalization but should not be identified with it. Those processes also have consequences for translation but are not to be considered inevitable. Some of them can be resisted or influenced by the use or non-use of translation. Those political processes can thus be indirectly affected by a scholarly Translation Studies, which might thus develop its own politics with respect to globalization. This means that Translation Studies should seek to understand and explain the effects of globalization, without pretending to resist them all. At the same time, it should attempt to influence the more negative political processes within its reach, developing its political agenda and cultivating its ownpolitical organization. In this, the dialectics play out between the technological and the political, between the things we must live with and the things we should try to change. Only with this double vision should we attempt to take a position with respect to globalization.

According to Chilton and Schäffner (2002) in translation studies there are three general perceptions, or understandings, of the concept discourse. First, discourse can refer to real-time utterances in general. Second discourse can refer to a number of real-time utterances seen as a single language event, such as a political speech. This view also perceives a sequence of speeches, e.g. at a political debate, as one language event. Third, discourse can also be perceived as "the totality of utterances in a society viewed as an autonomous evolving entity "(Chilton, Scäffner 2002: 18). In this sense discourse can also be seen as particular types of language use or language practises, e.g. medical practise discourse. This way of perceiving discourse is closely linked to the theoretical practise of discourse analysis, which focuses on making explicit how language is used to exercise power.

From the above it seems difficult to pinpoint precisely what discourse is, but it appears to have something to do with practical use, or uses, of language, and it seems closely connected to the concepts of power and society. This is at least the case when examining the more precise concept of political discourse. Chilton and Schäffner approach this concept from a philosophical/rhetorical angle to begin with, drawing on the works of Aristotle and Plato.

They claim that present day academic approaches to language and politics all derive from this ancient philosophical tradition of perceiving language as a tool for obtaining or exercising power: "The whole classical tradition from the sophists to the enlightenment wrestled with the relationship between persuasion, truth and morality, carrying a deep suspicion of the power of language" (Chilton, Schäffner 2002: 1). As human beings we are inherently social, meaning that we socialize and form groups, and thus human nature is inherently political as we form coalitions, or social groups, based on shared perceptions of what is just and unjust, useful and harmful etc. This forming of political associations depends on the ability to communicate, and thus signaling the shared perception of values of these associations, as it is this signaling of shared perceptions of values that determines the boundaries of the group.  Because of this, political activity does not exist without the use of language, but on the other hand language did not evolve solely for the purpose of politics (Chilton, Schäffner 2002: 2-3).


On top of this philosophical foundation we find present day linguistic and discourse based approaches to politics, which tend to use real text and talk as empirical evidence, because such approaches perceive politics to be language (Chilton, Schäffner 2002: 3-4). Furthermore, they argue that the concept of genre is important for political discourse analysis, because of the important role genres play in the exercise of power and influence. This is because "genres specify patterns by which text and talk is sequentially structured, who speaks to whom, when, about what and in what manner". From this, it seems clear that genre is important to political discourse, i.e. political language use, and therefore it highlights the importance of examining the genre when translating political discourse (Chilton, Schäffner 2002: 21).

Schäffner in her essay, Strategies of Translating Political Texts, argues that the term of political text is a vague term that covers a wide range of text genres. She implies that political texts are instances of political discourse, i.e. political language use, and that such language use may come in many forms, both within a nation state and between nation states. As a result, she argues that political texts can cover genres such as political speeches, multilateral treaties, editorials, commentaries in newspapers, a press conference with a politician, a politician's memoir etc. (Schäffner 1997: 119). She also argues that the classification of a text as a political text can best be done based on functional and thematic criteria. Political texts are political because they are the result of or a part of politics, i.e. they are instances of language use for political activities and thus instances of political discourse. They fulfill various functions depending on different political activities, they are determined by history and culture, and their topics are primarily related to politics, e.g. political activities, political ideas etc. Additionally, political texts are often relevant to a wider public and they are often part of a wider political discourse, meaning that they will tend to show a high degree of intertextuality (Schäffner 1997: 119-120). Political discourse can be simply marked as the discourse of politicians, i.e. their text and talk, and their professional activities. The topics discussed usually come from public events that require collective decision-making, policies, regulations or legislation. (Van Dijk 2001: 4) . Political Discourse (PD) relies on translation, in the sense that linguistic behaviour influences political behaviour.

A wrong or inappropriate word choice in the context of politically sensitive issues can lead to great misinterpretations. DA tries to define why a particular word, phrase or structure during the translation process has been chosen over another one. International politics involve translation to a large extent. Agreements between countries are made available in several languages; interpreters participate in the most crucial political events facilitating the work of international institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations Organization, the League of Nations, etc; some governments put translations of significant documents on their websites. As noted by Schaffner, the mass media plays an important role in spreading politics and ideologies.

The kinds of transformations that occur as texts move along the political and media chain are dependent on the goals and interests of the context into which the discourse is being recontextualized. According to Nahrkhalaji: The competent translator should be aware that translation of PD is not a mere process of transferring words from one text into another.   Codes of ethics issued by interpreters' associations define standards that should apply for interpreters of PD. Schaffner stresses that the collaboration of TS and PDA: helps explain that different lexical choices and omissions may point to different ideological , socio- cultural values and reveals the connection between linguistic choices and socio- political structures and processes. That kind of intellectual community carries the weight of history, if nothing else.






































Political Discourse analysis of British and American politicians’ speeches and their translation into Armenian

3.1. Comparative analysis of British and American pre-election speeches and their translation into Armenian

The main peculiarity of political discourse is that it contains mostly those text types which  have a manipulative intention as a prevailing one. Among the political text types of a manipulative kind we can see political interviews, slogans, announcements, articles in special party papers and certain messages in electronic mass media. Nevertheless, the most remarkable type of manipulative messages which function within political discourse is the text type of pre-election propaganda speeches.

As a rule, the texts of such speeches have some structural and intentional characteristic features which make it possible to consider these speeches as a definite text type. All speeches contain special etiquette phrases (greetings and words of appreciation),  they have prognostic character, the main communicative intention of such speeches is that of promise. In addition to that, pre-election propaganda speeches have one more interesting  peculiarity: the collective recipient of the speech is fully or partly aware of the manipulative character of the message. In other words, recipients guess or understand which effect is planned to be achieved by the producers of pre-election propaganda speeches before the election [Antonova 2011, 1]. 

…There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common - that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in America.

Yes we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can… (Barack Obams, January, 08,  2008, Nashua, New Hampshire, USA).

Political discourse and transalation