(In)formal discourses, (in)formal societies? What the Popes’ portrayal in the press can tell us about the importance attributed to the Church

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The speeches delivered by the Popes in the United Nations General Assembly were broadly reported, especially in countries sharing the Catholic religious tradition, such as Portugal. Fundamentally, these news reports represented rewriting processes (Lefevere, 1992) of events which occurred in a foreign country, in foreign languages and in particular contexts of time and space, having the contents “been shaped for its receivers [and] mediated through several sets of filters” (Bielsa and Bassnett, 2009: 117). The textual representation of the pontiffs while source agents was part of such processes, since semantic choices reflect “a certain way of looking at the world, a certain ideology” (Lefevere, 1987: 273); thus, they manifest the news producers’ agency (Kinnuen and Koskinen, 2010). From this perspective, we could argue that the designations chosen to refer the Popes – varying from “His Holiness” and “Holy Father” to “Jorge Bergoglio” or “the Argentin” – could have influenced significantly the reading of the pontifical (translated) messages in the whole, for “[f]acts, objects and concepts acquire meaning only within a semiotic framework” (Lefevere, ibid.). In other words, it is the whole framework that determines how contents are interpreted.
In this paper, two of the most influent newspapers in Portugal (Diário de Notícias and Jornal de Notícias) were compared with the aim of (i) comprehending how differently the role of the Popes and the authority of the Catholic Church were translated by the more or less formal designations chosen by the jorunalists when mentioning the pontiffs in the target texts, and (ii) which major changes happend throughout time in their more formal or informal choices.
Period14 Feb 2019
Event titleNew Voices in Portuguese Translation Studies II: 2nd Graduate Symposium in Translation
Event typeConference
LocationLisbon, PortugalShow on map


  • Diário de Notícias
  • Jornal de Notícias
  • Catholic Church
  • Discourse analysis
  • Agency
  • Formal and informal speech