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Many Voices, One BBC World Service?

This paper concerns the trans-editing (simultaneous translation and editing) of coverage of the 2008 US presidential elections on BBC World Service websites. We investigate how English-language source texts were reworked in Arabic, Persian, Tamil, and Turkish, with a detailed analysis of the structuring, content, and rhetoric of a sample text in English and in these other languages. This analysis shows that, while the BBC’s corporate aim is to provide a univocal service across its multilingual output, this aim is in tension with widely differing journalistic norms, and differing assumptions about audience knowledge and needs, in each of the World Service’s language departments. The ‘melody’ remains essentially the same, but it is orchestrated differently by each department.

Project contact: 

Arnd-Michael Nohl,

    Project members: 

  • Dr Tom Cheesman is the Principal Researcher and Co-ordinator of the Axial Writing Project, part of the ESRC Transnational Communities Research Programme. He recently completed a book about Turkish-German novelists. He was the organiser of the following conferences; 'Writing Diasporas' (September 2000), 'Postmigrant Turkish-German Culture / Türkisch-Deutsche Postmigrantenkultur' (November 1998), 26th International Ballad Conference (July 1996). He also co-organised the conference on Ecological Thought in German Culture (March 1995).

    Arnd-Michael Nohl is a Professor in Education Science at Helmut-Schmidt University, where he has worked since 2006. He holds a Ph. D in Education Science from Freie Universität Berlin and a Habilitation degree from Magdeburg University, both in Germany. His research interests are education, migration, qualitative methods, Turkish studies, and media education. His recent books include “Education in Turkey” (co-edited, Münster & New York: Waxmann 2008), “Interview und Dokumentarische Methode” (3rd edition, Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag 2009) and “Konzepte interkultureller Pädagogik” (2nd edition, Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2010).

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