Translation and Censorship of English-Spanish Narrative Texts in Franco’s Spain and its Aftermath: TRACEni (1970-1978)

Cristina Gómez Castro (cristina.gomez@unican.es)
Departamento de Filología Moderna, Universidad de León, Spain
May, 2009
 
Dr. Cristina Gómez Castro is currently a lecturer in English at the Department of Languages at the University of Cantabria, Spain. She completed her Graduation in English Studies at the University of León, Spain, where she also held a scholarship in order to do her PhD. She has done research stays at the University of Leuven (Belgium), Aston University (Birmingham, UK) and Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal). She has published several articles in journals and books dealing with translation studies and has attended numerous conferences and seminars of specialization.
 

Abstract

The present Doctoral Thesis is framed within the study line developed by the research group named TRACE (acronym of CEnsored TRAnslations in Spanish) and it covers the area corresponding to the translated narrative texts from English into Spanish during the decade of the seventies (1970-1978). The objective of this research is to disentangle the translation practices of that time with the intention of establishing translation norms which can help us complete the mosaic that constitutes the history of translation in Spain. Thus, our theoretical and methodological framework is composed by the Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS) implemented by the Polysystem Theory and a Corpus-Based Approach (CBS). After establishing the contextual and methodological framework and examining the ins and outs of its main determining factor, official censorship, a catalogue was compiled containing all the translated narrative texts between both languages during those nine years. The result was a pre-textual corpus or corpus 0 with 9269 entries. From these, a series of regularities were drawn which allowed the possibility of studying in more depth six textual sets consisting of best seller novels, which were the most prototypical kind of narrative at the time. The descriptive-comparative study of these was done taking into account the controversial topics of the dictatorial regime in charge by then, i.e., politics, religion, sexual morals and improper language and by means of a list of “anchor terms” which helped locating the instances for the analysis. This list of "anchor terms" is similar to the “anchor words” used in parallel corpora: we translated those taboo areas into terms which allowed us to search the aligned texts with the software available for that means, thus improving the methodology used in the TRACE studies so far. Thanks to this analysis the behavior of the translators in each of the cases could be observed and it was thus possible to determine that the translating activity is closely linked to the place where it is carried out. The translators’ tendency towards the acceptability pole could be seen in the instances relating to sexual morals and improper language, whereas regarding religious and political matters the norm was to tilt towards adequacy, in harmony with the progressive deterioration of the dictatorship and liberalization of the Spanish society by then and confirming the fact that “translators and interpreters shape their words to the needs of the moment” (Tymoczko 2006: 453).


ISSN 1920-0323