In this chapter I shall compare the history of translation in four twentieth century ‘fascist’ regimes: Mussolini’s Italy (1921-1943), Hitler’s Germany (1933-1945), Franco’s Spain (1939-1975) and Salazar’s Portugal (1926-1974). What I aim to show is that there is a direct correlation between the extent to which these regimes were genuinely fascist and the degree of hostility towards translation. I also want to consider how the level of hostility shown towards the translations was linked to the adoption of anti-Semitic policies. I am of the opinion that research on translation has a significant contribution to make to our understanding of any historical context where the politics of culture become bound up with the politics of nationalism. Any nationalist enterprise has to define its relationship with the foreign, a process in which culture plays a fundamental role. And to the extent to which this will also involve the acceptance or rejection of cultural exchange, translation will inevitably become significant. As we shall see, in those regimes where cultural exchange was viewed with suspicion or hostility, translation became an issue that extended well beyond the cultural sphere into the realm of politics and government policy. Where cultural exchange was viewed in more relaxed fashion, or even encouraged, translation did not become a political issue to the same extent and was simply subjected to the same policies as domestic cultural products. In historical contexts such as these, then, translation can provide a fascinating perspective which throws into relief the way in which a society or a regime defines its own identity with respect to others.

Translation and Fascism

Christopher Rundle
2018

Abstract

In this chapter I shall compare the history of translation in four twentieth century ‘fascist’ regimes: Mussolini’s Italy (1921-1943), Hitler’s Germany (1933-1945), Franco’s Spain (1939-1975) and Salazar’s Portugal (1926-1974). What I aim to show is that there is a direct correlation between the extent to which these regimes were genuinely fascist and the degree of hostility towards translation. I also want to consider how the level of hostility shown towards the translations was linked to the adoption of anti-Semitic policies. I am of the opinion that research on translation has a significant contribution to make to our understanding of any historical context where the politics of culture become bound up with the politics of nationalism. Any nationalist enterprise has to define its relationship with the foreign, a process in which culture plays a fundamental role. And to the extent to which this will also involve the acceptance or rejection of cultural exchange, translation will inevitably become significant. As we shall see, in those regimes where cultural exchange was viewed with suspicion or hostility, translation became an issue that extended well beyond the cultural sphere into the realm of politics and government policy. Where cultural exchange was viewed in more relaxed fashion, or even encouraged, translation did not become a political issue to the same extent and was simply subjected to the same policies as domestic cultural products. In historical contexts such as these, then, translation can provide a fascinating perspective which throws into relief the way in which a society or a regime defines its own identity with respect to others.
The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics
29
47
Christopher Rundle
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