Translation of Political and EU Texts

Teachers: Sosoni Vilelmini
Code: SOT122
Category: Specialization
Type: Elective
Level: Postgraduate
Language: Greek
Delivery Method: Lectures
Semester: 1st
ECTS: 10
Teaching Units: 10
Teaching Hours: 3
E Class Webpage:
Short Description:

The course’s aim is twofold: It seeks to introduce students to the language of politics, the characteristics of speeches, the art of rhetoric and spin, the party manifestos, slogans and posters as well as various types of propaganda writing, varying from texts produced by international institutions, political parties and governments, to texts produced by companies and journalists. It also seeks to introduce students to the translation of EU texts and in particular economic and political EU texts. This involves an introduction to the nooks and crannies of the European edifice as well as the idiosyncracies of EU texts. Emphasis is given on the linguistic equality of EU texts and their subsequent surface similarity and ‘hybridity’. Students learn how to produce texts which not only conform to Target Readership expectations and are terminologically accurate, but which are also in line with the EU Institutions demands and guidelines. As a result, students become effective users of the phraseology, expression terminology and idiolect of EU texts (reference to the Interinstitutional Style Guide, the Style Guide for Greek, the instructions for translating WEB texts, etc.). They learn how to cope with the socio-political EU context and at the same time meet the market demand for highly-competent translators of EU texts. Furthermore, students are introduced to the specificities of political texts through familiarisation with political speeches and propaganda texts. Students learn to deal effectively with the features of political rhetoric, such as metonymy, metaphor, analogy, repetition, antithesis, expressiveness, inertextuality and vocative elements commonly present in political texts. As a result, students become effective users of the phraseology, expression terminology and idiolect of EU political texts. They learn how to cope with the socio-political EU context and at the same time conform to the specific requirements of the EU Institutions.

Objectives - Learning Results:

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the idiosyncracies of political texts, the specificities of political speeches, manifestos and political campaigns, the importance of semiotics, the role of colours, paralinguistic features and idiolect
  • understand the vocative function of political texts and the challenges their translation poses depending on the intended function of the target text
  • translate political texts for different functions, adapt images, music and other extralinguistic features as required
  • understand the European construction and the wider socio-political context in which EU texts are produced
  • distinguish the different genres and specific features of EU texts (e.g., linguistic equality, surface similarity, hybridity, intertextuality)
  • translate EU texts (political, economic, legal, etc.) following the guidelines and strict standards set by the EU institutions
  • resolve translation problems relating, inter alia, to terminology, phraseology and idiosyncracies of EU texts
  • make effective use of the electronic resources and translation tools provided by the EU
  • be competitive in the labor market by being aware of career opportunities in the EU institutions and bodies.

Week 1: Overview of the course. Introduction to politics, politicians and labels. 

Week 2: satire Metaphor and metonymy

  • Analogy
  • The Art of Spin
  • Speeches and soundbites
  • The power of three, contrastive pairs and use of pronouns
  • Slogans and posters
  • Manifestos
  • Parliamentary speeches

Week 3: Using corpus analysis tools: Antconc, Voyant Tools. Translating political texts.

Week 4: Translating for the European Union, a historical overview and the policy of multilingualism (Europe in 12 Lessons). EU institutions, decision-making and decentralized agencies. Translating for the EU: Job opportunities, market requirements, EU competitions (EPSO).

Week 5: Lawmaking in the EU, multilingualism, linguistic equality, collective and non-native speaker drafting, textual hybridity. Analysis of legislative texts, lack of equivalence of legal concepts, hybridity of the EU legal system, autonomous legal concepts, terminology issues, neologisms and cultural-specific items. The illusion of equivalence.

Week 6: Translation of EU texts and the constrints imposed by the EU Institutions' drafting and translation style guides: Interinstitutional Style Guide, Greek Style Guide, Joint practical guide of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission for persons involved in the drafting of legislation within the Community Institutions, Guide for External Translators. Use of Juremy for terminological research.

Week 7: Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), preliminary rulings, case law of the Court of Justice.

Week 8: Translation of recitals.

Week 9: Translation of a staff working document.

Week 10: Translation of persuasive texts, ideology and translation, propaganda, the art of persuasion.

Week 11: Translation of a press release and a WEB text.

Week 12: Machine translation in the EU: eTranslation and post-editing of machine translated output.

Week 13: Machine translation and eTranslation: practical application.

Recommended Bibliography:


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Schaeffner, C.  and Bassnett, S. (eds) (2010). Political Discourse, Media and Translation. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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EU Texts Translation

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Language Aids including Glossaries

European Commission, Translation Resources,

Διοργανικό Εγχειρίδιο Σύνταξης Κειμένων,

How to Write Clearly,



Teaching and Learning Methods:

The lesson has a hybrid lecture-workshop format. It is largely based on the interaction with students and classroom discussion. Hands-on sessions focus on practical aspects of the issues covered and described during the lectures. Students have hands-on sessions translating official texts produced by the EU Institutions. The class material is made available on the Open eClass platform.

ICT Usage:

PPT presentations

The MT system e-Translation

The terminology tool Juremy

The corpus analysis tools AntConc and Voyant Tools

Open eClass platform.

Grading and Evaluation Methods:

A final written assignment and a written exam are used to assess the students. Students have a choice. They can choose a project consisting of a translation of an official EU text or political text and a commentary on the translation problems they encountered and the strategies they used to address them or a terminology project in collaboration with Termcoord, i.e. the Terminology Unit of the DG Trad of the European Parliament. They can also choose to carry out a research project in the fields of either politics and language or EU terminology and translation. They have to defend/present their work in class. In parallel with the final assessment, students are asked to complete short individual or group exercises or assignments on a weekly basis.



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