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Language Contact Around the Globe

Proceedings of the LCTG3 Conference

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Edited By Amei Koll-Stobbe and Sebastian Knospe

The fifth volume in the series Language Competence and Language Awareness in Europe unites a collection of peer-reviewed papers delivered at the Third Conference on Language Contact in Times of Globalization (LCTG3) at the University of Greifswald in 2011. The papers are arranged in five thematic sections: Part I studies lexical and grammatical borrowing and pseudo-loans. Part II looks at code-switching and language intertwining in different contexts, while Part III is concerned with the power, political backup and use of different languages in multilingual settings. This is followed by Part IV which comprises three articles on the Linguistic Landscapes of different urban areas. Finally, Part V focuses on language choices in literature and institutional settings.
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Antonia Unger (Viadrina University Frankfurt/Oder) and Jekaterina Nikitin (University of Jena): Crisis communication: an analysis of English originals and German translations of BP’s corporate communication during the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

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Crisis communication: an analysis of English originals and German translations of BP´s corporate communication during the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Antonia Unger and Jekaterina Nikitin

Abstract

To protect the image of a company during times of crisis, corporate PR departments usually initiate an intensive crisis campaign in several languages to inform a global readership. The question that arises is whether the company reports on a disaster with the same voice across different languages or whether the text conventions are culturally adapted. Initial results of a translation analysis of English and German press releases, based on a systemic-functional approach (Hyland 1998, 2005), provide evidence of translational shifts in the following areas: In the English original, BP’s operations are described more actively than in the German translation through usage of active constructions. Furthermore, linguistic forms of agent constructions allow BP to appear as the main actor and the English press releases contain more military terms than the German translations.

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