According to Thompson (as cited in Wodak, 2002), the concept of ideology first appeared in late 18th century in France and was used ever since. He defines ideology as “social forms and processes within which, and by means of which, symbolic forms circulate in the social world. In CDA, ideology is seen as an important means by which unequal power relations are established and maintained”. Thompson considers the study of ideology as one of the ways in which various symbolic forms are used to construct and convey meaning. But, it should be noticed that the study of ideology, regardless of the purpose of the study, is more than just construction and conveyance of meaning. Such study should also analyze how the constructed meaning draws the desired or target result or reaction in the outside reality and how it helps maintain relations or direct social actions.
Based on what van Dijk states the theory of ideology that informs the discourse analytic approach is multidisciplinary. It is articulated within a conceptual triangle that connects society, discourse and social cognition in the framework of a critical discourse analysis. In this approach, ideologies are the basic frameworks for organizing the social cognitions shared by members of social groups, organizations or institutions. In this respect, ideologies are “both cognitive and social” (Van Dijk, 1998, p. 18). Van Dijk defines ideology as “socially shared representations of groups” and distinguishes four essential properties for ideologies. In his view, whatever ideologies are, firstly, they are belief systems which do not contain the ideological practices or social structures that are based on them. Secondly, ideologies are socially shared by the members of a collectivity of social actors and, therefore, there is no such thing as ” personal ” or ” private ” ideology. Thirdly, ideologies are fundamental or axiomatic with general and abstract nature, which organize other socially shared beliefs. Finally, ideologies are acquired gradually and changed gradually, and therefore are relatively stable. Sometimes ideologies get so widespread that they become shared by a whole community. In such case, Van Dijk believes they lose their ideological nature and become a common sense, such as the issue of human rights. Van Dijk also describes that ideologies may function variously. Most importantly, they frame the identity of groups in a society, they can organize and ground the social representations which are shared by the members of groups, they determine how discourses and other social practices are conducted in a group, they help members of a group to coordinate and harmonize their individual and joint actions and interactions in favor of the goals and interests of the group, and they function as part of the socio-cognitive interface between social structures and discourses, and thus legitimate domination, articulate resistance, set social guidelines, etc. In other words, ideologies are localized between societal structures and the structures of the minds of social members. In this regard, all variable phonological, lexical or syntactic forms, intonation, and tone in discourse production might be controlled by the underlying representations of group beliefs or ideologies. Yet, the relation between ideology and discourse is indirect and complex; even discourses might not be ideologically transparent, meaning that the producer might hide his/her ideological attitudes by using specific choices. However, when ideologies are mapped onto discourse, they typically become expressed with their own underlying structures. One of the aims of CDA is to demystify and illuminate discourse by means of deciphering ideologies. However, the main problem of most critical approaches to ideology is that they are exclusively inspired by social sciences and rather confused philosophical approaches. They ignore detailed and explicit cognitive analysis, and so they are unable to explicitly link social structures with social practices and discourses of individuals as social members.
2.4 Ideology and Power
When it comes to the theory of ideology the basic social question that comes up is that why people develop ideologies in the first place. Cognitively, ideologies may be developed because they organize social representations. According to Van Dijk (1998) at the level of groups, this means that people are better able to form groups based on identification along various dimensions, including sharing the same ideology. Since ideologies indirectly control social practices in general, and discourse in particular, the obvious further social function of ideologies is that they enable or facilitate joint actions; interaction and cooperation of in-group members, as well as interaction with out-group members. These would be the social micro-level functions of ideologies.
Van Dijk 1998 (cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 354) states “At the macro-level of description, ideologies are most commonly described in terms of group relations, such as those of power and dominance.” Indeed, ideologies were traditionally often defined in terms of the legitimization of dominance, namely by the ruling class, or by various elite groups or categorizations.
Thus, according to Van Dijk 1998 (cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 355) if power is defined here in terms of the control one group has over another group or the actions of the members of another group, ideologies function as the mental dimension of this form of control. That is, ideologies are the basis of dominant group members’ practices (say of discrimination). They provide the principles, by which these forms of power abuse may be justified, legitimized, condoned or accepted.
In other words, ideologies are “the beginning and end, the source and the goal of group practices, and thus gear towards the reproduction of the group and its power (or the challenge toward the power of other groups)” (Van Dijk, 1998, cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 354).
Traditionally the term dominant ideologies is used when referring to ideologies employed by dominant groups in the reproduction or legitimization of their dominance. Ideologies may thus, according to Van Dijk 1998 (cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 358) be geared especially towards the formulation of the principles by which a group deserves advantages over other groups. For instance, opposition to immigration will often be legitimated by claiming that WE were here first and therefore WE have priority over scarce social resources such as citizenship, housing or work.
If there is one concept often pertinent to ideology it is that of power. As is the case for many very general and abstract notions in the social sciences and the humanities, there are many definitions and theories of power. Here we only speak of social power, that is, the power of a group A over another group B. this power may be defined in terms of control.
Usually this means the control of action. Van Dijk 1998 (cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 357) believes that “A is able to control (limit, prohibit) the actions of B”. Since discourse is also a form of action, such control may also be exercised over discourse and its properties: its context, its topic, or its style. And because such discourse may also influence the mind of the recipients, powerful groups may –indirectly, for instance through the mass media- also control the minds of other people. We then speak of persuasion or manipulation. Van Dijk 1998 (cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 359) in terms of his cognitive theory states that this means that powerful discourse may influence the way we define an event or situation in our mental models, or how we represent society in our knowledge, attitudes and ideologies. Power needs a “power base”, such as scarce social resources like force, money, real state, knowledge, information or status.
One of the important social resources of much contemporary power is the access to public discourse. According to Van Dijk 19
98 (cited in Schiffrin & Hamilton, 2001: 359), who controls public discourse, indirectly controls the minds (including the ideologies) of people, and therefore also their social practices. We shall often encounter this relation between social power, discourse, the mind and control. In a more critical approach to power, we are especially interested in power abuse or dominance, and how ideologies may be used to legitimate such dominance.
2.5 Translation and power
After the 1960s, as the result of the changes that had occurred in the international relations, and when the dominant ideologies were challenged in the poststructuralist and post-colonialist era, the concept of society and power were reconceptualized. Translation studies as well saw to itself an emerging interest in power in the coming decades. During this time, many translation scholars set off to explore the issues of power and translation. The new descriptive approach in Israel to literary translation in which translation goals are linked to social and political context led to foundation of The Manipulation School in 1985 by Mc-Guire, Toury, Hermans, Lefevere, and Lambert. In their view, translation was one of the primary literary tools that dominant and influential social institutions could use to “manipulate” a given society in order to build a desired culture. The contributions of the proponents of The Manipulation Thesis triggered a change in translation studies known as “the cultural turn” in the 1990s- through such turn did not only affect translation studies but many fields in the humanities. This era was accompanied by many new movements and publishing of new works in translation studies by different scholars (see Tymoczko & Gentzler, 20002, pp. xiv-xvi for some examples and details) central to which was the issue of power majorly either to control or to resist.
Tymoczko (2006) raises a very interesting discussion about the place of translation in society during wartime and peacetime. She posits that during peacetime translation is stereotyped and dismissed as secondary activity and is considered as a job that can be undertaken by any one person with a bilingual dictionary-her statement seems a bit overgeneralized though, since many discourses such as jurisprudence still value translation as an expertise that should be undertaken by professionals- while during wartime the value of translation becomes critical and a matter of national security and survival. Her discussion can easily be linked to the issue of power and translation. In fact, during wartime, regardless of the ruling regime, dominant culture, or the overall amount of translation regularly undertaken in a country, translation is seen as a power tool that can turn the tides, meaning that correct and precise translations are required so as not to fall behind. She also believes that concerns about traitor translators also contribute to such criticality.
In contemporary views, translators are social agents with the responsibility of transferring meaning from the source language to the target one, and they have the power, if not monitored and directed by commissioners, to impose their interpretation of the text as well as their ideology through the choices they make at every level of translation, i.e. they have the power to voice their ideology over the text, “intervention of translators can be traced through the shifts they introduce into the texts they produce, including shifts in content, literary forms, politics, and ideology”(Tymoczko, 2006, p. 447). Readers of translations usually do not refer to the source text nor do they make a comparative analysis between the source and the target to see where the translator has shifted. “Once produced, translations as texts lead a life of their own, and are the basis on which people acquire information and knowledge” (Shaffner, 2004, p. 125) and that is why they can induce certain effects regardless of their source text. Translators can be, and are, active elements in the formation and alteration of cultures with their agendas, including what to translate and how to translate.
The examples of practicing translation as a source of power to make changes in a society or culture are abundant in history. Karimi-Hakkak (1999, p. 518) explains that during Qajar dynasty, translation from European languages into Persian provided Iranians with a glimpse of the Western knowledge and science they previously lacked by the end of the 19th century – the need for technology had grown in Iran because of the new inter-govermental relationships with the West – and that translation of Western literary works during this era contributed to Persian literature reform toward its contemporary form. Translation played an undeniably vital role in Iran’s modernization in the late 19th century. As the result, new gates toward acquaintance with totally new ideologies, world-views, cultures and literary genres opened onto Iran through translation, which was nothing less than a renaissance in nature at that time. Of course, aside from the constructive aspects, this was followed by a torrent of cultural and social inconsistencies the discussion of which is beyond the aims of the present thesis.
Regarding the interplay between translation and power, schaffner (2004, pp. 144-145) refers to four strategic functions which link discourse to political situations in a society and defines them from the view point of translation. These strategic functions are:
- Coercion: controlling what texts to be translated, checking the final translation and using translation for home agendas.
- Resistance, opposition and protest: counter-deployment of discursive strategies by translators in selecting source texts, giving voice to neglected or oppressed minorities and moving beyond the conventions defined by institutional powers.
- Dissimulation: quantitative or qualitative control of information made available through translation or allowing specific chosen pats of texts to be available, also publishing inaccurate translations.
- Legitimization and delegitimization: positive self presentation and negative other-presentation by using specific translation strategies.
Translation as product or process is deeply interconnected with power, and a critical analysis of a text can reveal that “where discourses meet and compete, translation negotiates power relations” (Tymoczko & Gentzler, 2002, p. xviii) and that translation can be an ideological weapon in the hands of its translator, commissioner, government, etc. for excluding the author or certain readers, constructing new social or cultural models and even directing the cognitive aspects of human life in a society.
- Impact of Translation on Representation
Discussing the Rabindranath Tagore’s auto-translation of his anthology Gitanjali: Song Offering 1910, Sengaputa ( 1999: 58) mentions:
‘… Tagore deliberately chooses to write like these poets (Blunt, Davies, De la Mare and all the Victorian poets) when he translates his own poems into English. He makes adjustments to suit the ideology of the dominating culture… He fits perfectly into the stereotypical role that was familiar to the colonizer’.
Further he talks about the consequences of this translation and explores the ways Tagore’s work effected the representation of him and the colonized ”as a saint or seer from the East”. The Nobel committee refers to Gitanjali as ”a collection of religious poems”.
Sengaputa assumes that the colonizers had appointed a mission to Tagore and that was to give a representation of the colonized nation as people who are concerned only with spiritual issues. Tagore’s mission was in line with those of Christian missionaries who were trying to release the naive people ”from the bondage of tradition and history”. According to Sengaputa, Tagore as a translator supplied another basis for the existing superstructure of orientalism, ”he
became the representative of the alluring ‘Other’ to the western world.”
Moreover, other scholars have investigated the translation as a representational activity, which represents an image of the culture the translated text comes from. Ovidio Carbonell (1996) in ‘the exotic space of cultural translation’ recognizes that a translator like Francis Burton furnishes of the Arabs, their culture, literature and language by translating The Arabian Nights in 1885-8 (1996: 80). He believes that there always exist the elements of untraslatability which provides room for some modifications of the originary text according to the structures of representation of the target language or culture. Through this course of representation of exotic texts a process of making sense and interpreting takes place.
Translation is an activity that bridges between cultures. ‘Any approach to a given culture always involves a process of translation’. It depends on the Western Philosophical notions of reality, representation, and knowledge (Niranjana, 1992). According to post-colonialist, including Niranjana, translation is an instrument in the hands of colonial forces to repress the colonized nations. It has been used as ‘strategies of containment’. The colonizers have used translation as a means of reinforcement the hegemonic domination. In this way the colonized gains the position which according to Edward Said is representations or objects without history. Then in the course of history this representation becomes a fact or reality. Niranjana mentions ‘Translation functions as a transparent presentation of something that already exists, although the ‘original’ is actually brought into being through translation. Paradoxically, translation also provides a place in ‘history’ for the colonized’. European missionaries in Africa and Asia in the modern world, among the first groups to stress the importance of translation and prepare bilingual dictionaries of a host of Asian and African languages fir the use not only of their own workers but also for merchants and administrators (Macaulay, selected by G. M. Young cited in Niranjana 1992). She suggests that there is a connection between the ‘liberal humanist rhetoric of colonialism’; the process of discarding the colonized people of their native roots. This is exactly what the translator of Rubaiyat, Edward Fitzgerald, commented in 1851: ‘it is an amusement to me to take what liberties I like with these Persians, who … are not poets enough to frighten one from such excursions, and who really do want a little Art to shape them’. The colonizers have considered the colonized objects as primitive and their thought as ‘primitive thought’ that needs to be translated to construct the primitive world and to represent it and ‘to speak on his behalf’. But they do not notice the symmetrical relation between colonizer and colonized that enabled the translation. In this relation there is a reality that is out there and should be observed and discovered and re-presented. Notice how the people in power construct the reality. What is important in the discourse of postcolonial and its relationship with representation is the asymmetrical relations between languages that make representation impossible.
2.7 Robert Hodge and Gunther Kress on CDA
Robert Hodge & Gunther Kress published their book ‘Language as Ideology‘ in 1979 which later became a classic text in the subfield known as Critical Linguistics (CL). They owe a lot to Generative Grammar which was Chomskey’s then innovative ideas on grammar. On the other hand, they were moving on the path already paved by Whorf about language.
Hodge & Kress (1993: 3) saw language as used in the storing of perception and thoughts and believed that communicable perception has to be coded in language. Language was thought by them to be a social phenomenon which was given by society to individuals and restate what Borger and Luckman had mentioned about language that it plays a vital role in what has been called the ‘social construction of reality’ (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 15).
Hodge & Kress tended to emphasize the direct influence of linguistic forms (” texts”) on social processes. By and large, their focus was on the link between environments of language use and features of the language used; “the social” and its meaning were central in their work. Given that, the term text and discourse could readily come to be used more or less interchangeably. They believe discourse is a site where social forms of organization engage with systems of signs in the production of texts, thus reproducing or changing the sets of meanings and values which make up a culture. (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 15)
To begin with their theory, Hodge & Kress found Whorf’s ideas very useful for their purpose. Whorf thought of languages as systems of categories and rules based on fundamental principles and assumptions about the world. These principles and assumptions are not related to or determined by thought: they are thought. Whorf called these fundamental organizing assumptions a ‘science‘ and a ‘metaphysic’, that is, a systematic account of reality and the a priori assumptions on which that account rests. Such assumptions are embodied in language, learnt through language, and reinforced in language use (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 17).
Before this, it was said that their theory of language was absorbed in the ongoing life of a society, as the practical consciousness of that society. This consciousness is inevitably ‘a partial and false consciousness’ (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 23). They call it as ideology and define ideology as ‘a systematic body of ideas, organized from a particular point of view’ (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 6). Ideology is thus a large category which includes science and metaphysics, as well as political ideologies of various kinds, without implying anything about their status and accountability to reality. In another place they define ideology in this way: ‘ideology involves a systematically organized presentation of reality’. This presentation involves language and any presentation in or through language, which involves selection in itself (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 15). These initial selections are central, because they set the limits within which any resulting thinking or reworking of ‘reality’ takes place. Maybe what Hodge and Kress try to say can be somehow condensed in this form that: ‘if a systematic theory, an ideology, is guiding the use of language, then we would expect systematic use of linguistic forms to evident’ (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 20).
In addition to the communication usage of language as a social instrument, language can be use in controlling others and this comes through the linguistic forms which let the hearers to be informed or manipulated (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 6). Kress and Hodge discuss that these forms, i.e. grammatical forms, are the most revealing theory of language and would be one which should follow the form of the grammar; in other words ”the grammar of a language is its theory of reality”.
The main premise in their discussions is that: language is certainly a social practice, ‘which is one amongst many social practices of representation and signification’ (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 198). The consequence of this premise would thus be that the study of language is irreducibly dual, drawing on social and semiotic theories, theories of social forces and relationships, and theories of systems of representation and signification (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 202).
They mention that human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much under the control of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. For then it seems to be a fact the ‘real world’ is largely unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 62) this means that we see and hear and otherwise experie
nce very largely as we do just because the language habits of our community orders us to do so.
As already mentioned, Hodge & Kress believed that the grammar of a language is its theory of reality; the most helpful theory of language which will be one that follows the forms of grammar. Since language functions to deceive as well as to inform, they discuss that every component of grammar will contain one set of forms which allow the speaker to avoid making distinctions which are primary and another set where these distinctions have to be made sharply with precision (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 125). They supposed that ‘linguistic items and processes do not occur in the grammar simply as unconnected items, but as part of ordered system’ (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 152). In this regards they affirm an indirect and implicit presentation of ideology is widely pervasive and it acts unconsciously at a level beneath critical awareness. This allows it to accommodate contradictions in the ideology more easily while presentation of ideology is more obviously coercive and hence more liable to be resisted.
When they talk about syntax one can notice that it occupies an important place in their theory as it makes the set of signs that make up language. For them the signs of syntax are always ideologically inflected social meanings. These meanings are ideological in two senses: as representations of social existence, and as traces or mobilizations of discursive positioning and activities (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 208).
Hodge and Kress (1993: 153) try to read the traces and effects of power in language and discourse, in text and syntax. Having recognized the role of power in determining meaning, they do not accept that power and history are meaningless. On the contrary they specify a vital form for a new theory of language, one that takes for granted the interdependence of language and power, meaning and social process.
Critical Discourse Analysis has made the study of language into an interdisciplinary tool and can be used by scholars with various backgrounds. As Hodge & Kress (1993: 151) point out, CDA has an ”overtly political agenda,” which ”serves to set CDA off from other kinds of discourse analysis” and text linguistics ”as well as pragmatics and sociolinguistics”. While, most forms of the discourse analysis ”aim to provide a better understanding of socio-cultural aspects of texts,” CDA ”aims to provide accounts of the production, internal structure, and overall organization of texts” (Hodge & Kress, 1993: 151). One crucial difference is that CDA ”aims to provide a critical dimension in its theoretical and descriptive accounts of texts”.
According to Hodge and Kress’s definition, CDA treats language “as a type of social practice among many used for representation and signification” (1993: 153). Meanings come about through integration between readers and receivers and linguistic features come about as a result of social processes, which are never arbitrary.
In addition to language structure, ideology, also, has a role to play in CDA. Hodge and Kress (1993: 162) state that Language, “can never appear by itself- it always appears as the representative of a system of linguistic terms, which themselves realize discursive and ideological systems”.
At the final chapter of their book, Hodge and Kress (1993: 209) summarize their principles according to the following classification with the hope of making their theory easier to apply in practice:
- Language is a set of partial systems of choices and rules.
- Background meanings are both inside and outside a text.