Begriplig EU-svenska? : Klarspråksarbetets förutsättningar inom den interinstitutionella översättningsprocessen

Sammanfattning: This thesis is a study of the inter-institutional translation process through which the Swedish versions of EU legislative acts are created, focusing on the conditions for plain language work within this process. These Swedish translations have long been considered incomprehensible. Complicated originals and strong demands for close correspondence to the source text have been considered the main reason. This study aims to examine the translation process, to see how institutional factors shape the scope for plain language work. The theoretical and methodological bases of the study are the sociology of translation, focusing on translation as a social activity, and ethnography, focusing on the participants’ perspective. The data analysed consist of field notes, interviews, video recordings of participants translating, and revised translations.A key factor for plain language is shown to be the demands for close correspondence to previous texts – not only the source text but also previous Swedish translations. Close correspondence is necessary due to special demands on legal translation but is also supported by other institutional factors, such as translators’ insecurity regarding legal language, short deadlines and the needs of internal readers. The use of CAT tools such as TWB further reinforces this dependence on previous texts.Other institutional factors that stand out are the relative isolation of the translation units, with limited feedback from outside the unit, and the position of the translated documents within the EU legal system. The results indicate that the difficulties for a Swedish reader are often not due to linguistic or textual formulation of the documents, but to the gap this EU position creates, between the reader’s (Swedish) and the text’s (EU) frame of reference respectively.Support for plain language is strong at the units, but the concept appears to have been partially given a local meaning, showing that the traditional understanding of plain language may not be fully applicable in this setting. This shows the necessity to identify the aspects most central to comprehensibility, for different types of texts and in different settings – a necessity not only for plain language work within the EU, but in national settings as well.