Translation as a Tool for Propaganda and Manipulation

Even though translation is supposed to be the ideal bridge between languages and cultures, it may also serve as a manipulation tool of one people by another through propaganda.

Translations are easily able to manipulate public opinion, force some kind of narrative, and sometimes even get to conflict with their primary meaning by distortion, mutilation, or adding non-existent elements.

Translation and Propaganda

Propaganda may be defined as information of a biased or misleading nature used to promote a particular political cause or point of view. The following are a few ways in which translation can be put into the realms of being used as a tool for propaganda:

Selective translation: This might be the case if only those texts or parts of the texts of an author are selected which speak to a certain agenda. A tilted view might be given to the public by dropping opposing viewpoints in this case.

Distorted Translation: This is within the intention to represent a change of the exact meaning of a text in the translation so as to serve a given narrative. This may amount to exaggeration, downgrading, or misrepresentation of the original content.

Fabricated: It presents a complete fiction as a translation from an original. This can be used to spread false information or propaganda.

Translation and Manipulation

Manipulation through translation with Lingvanex often takes place very subtly and is not always linked with a political order. This can be used in marketing, social media, or even in literary translations. Here are a few examples:

Emotional manipulation: This refers to the translation of a text in such a way that it may provoke some emotional response in the reader. The translator may try to make use of connotative words that, on the other hand, make the text attractive or convincing or powerful. 

Cultural manipulation: The translator can make it possible to adapt the local cultural aspects of the text for the target readership but at the same time makes it possible to manipulate the presentation of the given culture or society. 

Misleading Summarization: Here, abstracts, summaries, subtitles, are translated so that they completely miss important information or introduce a distortion of the original meaning.

If, on the whole, translation is a neutral and objective procedure, one should never forget to which extent it is strongly predisposed to becoming a subject of propaganda and manipulation. The reader should, in any event, also be critically prone, most especially when reading news in translation or any politically-saturated text. This awareness can help promote transparency, accountability, and ethical standards in the field of translation.