Festschrift in Honour of Christina Schäffner
Edited By Beverly Adab, Peter A. Schmitt and Gregory M. Shreve
Chantal Gagnon, Montreal: Speeches In Translation: A Canadian Context
Chantal Gagnon Montreal Speeches In Translation: A Canadian Context “Political discourse relies on translation; translation is in fact part of the development of discourse, and a bridge between various discourses.” (Christina Schäffner 2004: 120) 1 Introduction Languages issues are at the heart of Canadian politics: in this country, two offi- cial linguistic groups (Anglophones and Francophones) struggle over identity or culture differences. Indeed, French is mainly spoken in one province (Quebec) whereas English is the dominant language of the rest of the country. With no surprise, translation has played a vital role in Canada’s political landscape. In particular, Canadian leaders have been known to use translation as a political tool to get their message across in both official languages. Hence, the analysis of political speeches in translation becomes a key to understand the relationship between Canadian prime ministers and Canadians at large. The excerpt below, taken from a famous Canadian speech, illustrates how translation can help man- age a political crisis (in all my examples, the emphasis and the translations in caption are mine): Example 1: However, I cannot put out of my mind all those “Yes” supporters who fought with such strong convictions, and who tonight have seen their option defeated by the verdict of the majority. Pourtant je ne peux m’empêcher de penser à tous ces tenants du OUI qui se sont battus avec tant de conviction et qui doivent ce soir remballer leur rêve [let go of their dream] et se plier au verdict de...
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