Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Lost (and found?) in translation: key terminology in disaster studies

Lost (and found?) in translation: key terminology in disaster studies Disaster studies has emerged as an international interdisciplinary body of knowledge; however, similar to other academic disciplines, its terminology is predominantly anglophone. This paper explores the implications of translating disaster studies terminology, most often theorised in English, into other languages and back.Design/methodology/approachThe authors chose six of the most commonly used (as well as debated and contested) terms that are prominent in academic, policy and public discourses: resilience, vulnerability, capacity, disaster, hazard and risk. These words were translated into 54 languages and the meanings were articulated descriptively in cases where the translation did not have exactly the same meaning as the word in English. The authors then analysed these meanings in order to understand implications of disaster scholars working between dominant and “peripheral” languages.FindingsFindings of the study demonstrate that many of the terms so casually used in disaster studies in English do not translate easily – or at all – opening the concepts that are encoded in these terms for further interpretation. Moreover, the terms used in disaster studies are not only conceptualised in English but are also tied to an anglophone approach to research. It is important to consider the intertwined implications that the use of the terminology carries, including the creation of a “separate” language, power vs communication and linguistic imperialism.Originality/valueUnderstanding of the meaning (and contestation of meaning) of these terms in English provides an insight into the power relationships between English and the other language. Given the need to translate key concepts from English into other languages, it is important to appreciate their cultural and ideological “baggage”. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Disaster Prevention and Management Emerald Publishing

Lost (and found?) in translation: key terminology in disaster studies

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/lost-and-found-in-translation-key-terminology-in-disaster-studies-npvHx53kCR

References (38)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0965-3562
DOI
10.1108/dpm-07-2020-0232
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Disaster studies has emerged as an international interdisciplinary body of knowledge; however, similar to other academic disciplines, its terminology is predominantly anglophone. This paper explores the implications of translating disaster studies terminology, most often theorised in English, into other languages and back.Design/methodology/approachThe authors chose six of the most commonly used (as well as debated and contested) terms that are prominent in academic, policy and public discourses: resilience, vulnerability, capacity, disaster, hazard and risk. These words were translated into 54 languages and the meanings were articulated descriptively in cases where the translation did not have exactly the same meaning as the word in English. The authors then analysed these meanings in order to understand implications of disaster scholars working between dominant and “peripheral” languages.FindingsFindings of the study demonstrate that many of the terms so casually used in disaster studies in English do not translate easily – or at all – opening the concepts that are encoded in these terms for further interpretation. Moreover, the terms used in disaster studies are not only conceptualised in English but are also tied to an anglophone approach to research. It is important to consider the intertwined implications that the use of the terminology carries, including the creation of a “separate” language, power vs communication and linguistic imperialism.Originality/valueUnderstanding of the meaning (and contestation of meaning) of these terms in English provides an insight into the power relationships between English and the other language. Given the need to translate key concepts from English into other languages, it is important to appreciate their cultural and ideological “baggage”.

Journal

Disaster Prevention and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 12, 2021

Keywords: Language; Translation; Communication; Disaster studies

There are no references for this article.