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Languages: Media Translation Issues Essay

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2020


The media is an essential tool for communication as it helps in relaying different forms of information to the target audience. It plays an essential role in shaping the perceptions of the audience with regard to the different issues. The media is also a critical tool in influencing culture because of the way in which it portrays certain societal values as reality.

Media translation entails the change of information from one language to the other mainly for purposes of easy understanding by the particular audience. Objectivity and neutrality are key issues in the media and although the two words are often used interchangeably, they are nonetheless different in certain respects. The paper looks into the difference between objectivity and neutrality and its importance in translating news from English into Arabic, and vice versa.

Objectivity and neutrality in media translation

Objectivity in media entails relaying of information based on facts without any influence, personal prejudices, or emotions which are likely to distort the meaning or public perception. Media objectivity could include aspects like depersonalization whereby the media personnel are not expected to express their own views or beliefs about an issue. Instead, they are supposed to base their arguments on facts.

Balance is the other aspect of objectivity whereby the views of the two parties regarding a certain contentious issue should be presented without any favors or inclination towards either side. There has been a heated debate on the issue of objectivity in media with the issue of its complete existence coming under scrutiny. This is because as human beings, we are susceptible to voicing our own opinion about a certain issue, although this is against the media professionalism.

Neutrality in media on the other hand implies that the transfer of a particular work between or among different media does not change the character of that work for copyright reasons. This is particularly important when it comes to the electronic media although it also applies to paper media as well. It advocates for the maintenance of the original purpose or meaning of the news as opposed to making any alterations (Kieran, 1998).

Although objectivity and neutrality are sometimes used interchangeably there exist some differences between the two in terms of their definitions. Both are also important especially when it comes to news translation (for instance, from English to Arabic or vice versa). Objectivity and neutrality should always be maintained to the highest degree possible even in the event of news translation from one language to the other.

Failure to do this undermines the meaning and the information may not serve the intended purpose. Objectivity and neutrality ensures that the original meaning and purpose of the news is not distorted in any way especially in the event of translation. This helps to keep the meaning of news as an informative and reliable tool for consumption by the society through the dissemination of information that touches on various aspects of life (for instance, politics).

According to Darwish (2010), Translation mediation is one of the key factors that contribute to the problems of news bias. Translation is very critical in the media as it enhances its effectiveness by making it useful to the wider audience. Language is for instance essential as it helps in easy understanding of the news content. For example, the translation of news from English to Arabic makes it easy for the Arabic nations to grasp the news well.

This is especially important for in a case whereby the original news is in English and it has to be translated into Arabic without altering the intended meaning. The same case applies to the translation of news from Arabic to English. This increases the chances of understanding for individuals who are not conversant with the Arabic language. Translation helps in dealing with the existing language barrier among different cultures by enabling the media agencies to overcome the cultural and linguistic boundaries.

As a result, it makes the news appropriate to a various audiences. All in all, objectivity and neutrality should be emphasized in any form of translation to avoid any biasness that could come about as a result of trying to tailor the news to the specific audience.

Objectivity, neutrality and worthiness with regard to news are very important as they facilitate translation in that they make it easy for adaptation where the markets have similar or standard values and norms. Consequently, the translated news can effectively cater for the information needs of the different kinds of audiences (Bassnett & Bielsa, 2009).


The aspects of objectivity and neutrality are very critical in the media and should not be underemphasized if the media is to be deemed effective in relaying important issues to the public. The problem becomes more influential when translation is involved and it is therefore important that the different media personnel are fully aware of the issues associated with translation of news from one language to another (for instance, from English to Arabic) to avoid undermining the objectivity and neutrality aspects of news.

Reference List

Bassnett, S., & Bielsa, E. (2009). Translation in Global News. USA: Routledge

Darwish, A. (2010). A Journalist’s Guide to Live Direct and Unbiased News Translation. Melbourne: Writescope Publishers

Kieran, M. (1998). Media Ethics. New York: Routledge

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