The cautiously pragmatic translation policy in Estonia


  • Luc van Doorslaer University of Tartu KU Leuven Stellenbosch University
  • Terje Loogus University of Tartu


language policy, translation management, translation practices, translation beliefs, linguistic power relationships


Translation policy is never neutral, as it does not only take into account linguistic and cultural elements, but also aspects of political and economic power. Situations of unequal power relationships between states or language areas make especially interesting objects for study. The Republic of Estonia has been one such a case since its regained independence in 1991. Estonia has developed a language and translation policy prioritizing Estonian, due to the demographic changes during the period of the Soviet occupation as well as recent globalization developments. The cases of two institutional websites (those of the President of the Republic and the University of Tartu) show how this prioritized viewpoint plays out in translation practice: it allows for pragmatically accommodating both an international audience and the minority of Russian language speakers, albeit not to the same extent.