Law and the semiotics of translation. The case of commercial name (shingle) translation in the Greek market
Evangelos Kourdis (Department of French Language and Literature, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Hellas)
The Greek law imposes that all commercial names in foreign languages must be translated in Greek. More specifically, the Greek law imposes the genre of translation (intralingual translation in which the target language is Greek or transliteration in Greek) and the size that the translating commercial name must have in Greek.
This paper examines the influence of Greek law in the compulsory phenomenon of translation. This fact has a double dimension: first of all, the law using translation aims to protect the rights of Greek citizens to read the commercial name in their country in their own language. Secondly, this measure connotes the desire of the Greek State to protect its language, for which Greeks are very proud of, from the linguistic hegemony of other languages, especially English, and to protect the purism of their language.
Despite this, merchants seem to avoid the application of the law and the use of its translation in Greek commercial names (if their main commercial name is in another language other than Greek) because they are afraid that a Greek commercial name does not connote the promotion of modern and high quality goods and facilities in the Greek market. On the contrary, it seems to prefer the use of English, secondly French and sometimes the Balkan languages, in their commercial shops, depending of the nationality of their clients.
This paper examines the relation between this semiotic triangle (law, translation, the Greek market) aiming through a socio-semiotic research to approach the Greek reality in Thessaloniki. A number of commercial names are collected and a questionnaire is distributed to Greek students specializing in Translation in a Post University Program at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in order to study their language ideology about the social aspect of this translation phenomenon.
Patron: President of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer
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