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The Translation of Films, 1900-1950$

Carol O'Sullivan and Jean-François Cornu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266434

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266434.001.0001

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date: 26 May 2020

Introduction Film history meets translation history: The lure of the archive

Introduction Film history meets translation history: The lure of the archive

(p.1) 1 Introduction Film history meets translation history: The lure of the archive
The Translation of Films, 1900-1950
Carol O’

Jean-François Cornu

British Academy

Abstract and Keywords

This introductory chapter highlights how film translation history is a new discipline, a coming together of film history and translation history. It provides a definition of film translation as encompassing all the conventional modes of film translation of the silent and talking periods. Because of the polysemiotic nature of the film medium, film translation includes related interventions of all kinds, such as editing changes and image and sound manipulation. The chapter also emphasises how this volume is driven by a multidisciplinary and international approach to film translation history, and contributes to scholarship seeking to transnationalise film history. It details the aims and structure of the book, and shows how crucial archival and access issues are to understanding the evolution of film translation, and to raising awareness about the nature of the films we watch and listen to.

Keywords:   film translation, film translation history, film historiography, film reception, transnational cinema, audiovisual translation history

WHERE DO WE GO TO SEE the great foreign-language films of the past? To anyone interested in cinema today, the most immediate way to discover films of all periods is the Internet, for better or for worse. Older cinephiles first learned about world film history through books and film magazines, and, if they were lucky, through the film prints of a William K. Everson or of a Henri Langlois. Younger generations of cinephiles can familiarise themselves with pre-Second World War films by paying substantial sums for DVDs from Masters of Cinema or Criterion, or, at no charge, by browsing YouTube or Dailymotion, where they will find films in a vast variety of languages (and, at least in theory, a handy button which can be clicked for subtitles). The historian of film translation can find many interesting curios there, such as an Italian ‘dubbed silent’ version of The Barnyard (1923)1 directed by Larry Semon, a famous American slapstick comedian of the 1920s, admired for his timing by fellow actors and filmmakers such as Buster Keaton;2 or an Italian version of Fritz Lang’s The Testament of Dr Mabuse (Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, 1933). Lang shot two versions of this film, in German and French, when ‘multiple-language films’ were in fashion in the early 1930s. However, he never made an Italian version. The one which can be seen on YouTube at the time of writing is in fact an Italian-dubbed version of the French-language version shot by Lang.3 Not that you would know this from the paratext of the film; there is none to speak of. As Luke McKernan rightly observes, ‘the web’s video platforms, such as YouTube, offer the illusion of the optimum archive, but they fail to (p.2) offer adequate descriptions, context, or permanence’.4 Alongside the proliferation of early cinema and translated versions online comes an urgent need to better understand the nature of film translation, the many contingencies which have shaped its development since the birth of cinema, and its implications for film history.

Before being released onscreen (large or small), fiction and documentary films generally go through a three-stage process involving preparations prior to shooting known as pre-production (which includes developing ideas, scriptwriting, financing, and other practical preparations); the actual shooting (production) of the film; and a further set of operations (known as post-production) involving putting together the finished film by means of image and sound editing, sound mixing, composing music, and adding beginning and end credits.

For films to reach their target audiences, other agents come into play after post-production: sales companies, particularly crucial for the international exposure of films; distributors, who are key elements in connecting filmmakers with the general public; and finally, exhibitors, who actually screen the films in cinemas. Filmmakers and producers generally hope for the widest possible audience not only in their original language market, but also abroad, if the film gets that far. This makes translation an indispensable stage in the international diffusion of films.

Cinema is the melting pot of art and industry, image and sound, written text and spoken dialogue. Film translation is at the core of this mix, as the ‘interface’ between the final post-production work and the presentation to the public. After translation (understood in the widest sense, including the reshooting of credit sequences and the recording and mixing of dialogue in dubbing), nothing else happens to a ‘foreign’ film to be presented to viewers in other language territories. Unfortunately, because it is the very last stage of the overall production process, film translation is often rushed or otherwise neglected. Writing about the coming of sound at the turn of the 1930s, Markus Nornes observes that ‘while the technicians had invented novel methods for combining sound and image, the problem of translation was an afterthought’.5 Even today, translation is not considered to be part of the film-making process or the actual film itself. As Michel Chion notes: ‘Almost always done after the fact, subtitling [of a foreign film] is not an integral part of the work.’6 Film translation, whether for theatrical distribution, broadcast, (p.3) DVD publishing, or streaming, is a kind of unnamed ‘post-post-production’. The audience ignores it except in those countries where filmgoers have a choice between dubbing and subtitling. If so, they usually choose the method they dislike less. The overwhelming majority of film critics and reviewers never acknowledge the fact that there is such a thing as film translation, even when they watch and listen to films in languages they do not understand.

Film historians and academics teaching film studies likewise usually overlook this aspect of film-making, with a few honourable exceptions.7 DVD publishers in most countries fail to credit the subtitler or dubbing scriptwriter in standard DVD and Blu-ray releases. Film-archive cataloguing rarely acknowledges film translation in the form of specific entries for dubbed, subtitled, or otherwise translated versions, possibly because the emphasis in film archiving is often on preserving the best possible elements. Prints with optically photographed or chemically burned-in subtitles, which may use a rather old-fashioned language, typeface, or layout, and which may have been censored or otherwise edited for their original release, are by definition no longer the best possible elements for screening and restoration.8

Recent decades have seen a surge of interest in audiovisual translation as a research topic. There is now a large case literature and we have a very good understanding of the kinds of manipulation that dubbing and subtitling perform on the film text. Within the fast-growing field of film history, there has also been substantial interest in specific issues such as multiple-language versions (1929–32). Research has, however, remained quite polarised around these topics; there has been little interest in the diversity of coexisting translation practices which were in evidence in the silent era and the early years of sound, or in translation’s implications for film textuality and film circulation. Access to archival documentation, whether in the form of newspaper cuttings, film prints, or production papers, is essential to this work. The phrase ‘the lure of the archive’ which we quote in the title of this introduction comes from Casper Tybjerg’s excellent 2002 essay ‘The raw material of film history’, in which Tybjerg argues for the importance for film historians not only of the (p.4) film text, but also of its material support.9 We share Tybjerg’s view of the centrality of the material, and would add that translation is implicated in this in many and complex ways. In this volume, we argue for the vital role of the film archive, the library, and the database in understanding the role that translation has played in film history. This collection of essays exploring the history of film translation in the first half of the 20th century sets out the kind of research currently being done, and the resources that underpin it. The collection will serve to show the untapped potential for research in this area. There is a large and unexamined body of primary materials requiring classification and analysis; there is a necessity to historicise how we look at audiovisual translation, whose diachronic dimension has been almost totally neglected to date; in order fully to tease out the implications of screen translation for film and translation history it will be necessary to adapt our current interdisciplinary conceptual frameworks. We explicitly advocate for research on subtitled and dubbed prints, for better documentation for subtitled and dubbed versions, and ultimately for the wider availability of historically significant film translations through screening and through digitisation. This shift in perspective has profound implications for the study of film and media, but also for the full range of scholarly work in the arts and humanities which draws on audiovisual materials. Too much research in this area is currently indifferent to language as a parameter; our research will raise consciousness in the academic community of the linguistic diversity which subtends so much of what we unthinkingly consume.

What is film translation?

Our definition of film translation encompasses all the conventional modes of film translation of the silent and talking periods. Silent films contained inter-titles, or title cards, inserted between sequences of moving images and carrying narrative information and dialogue. Translated intertitles appeared almost as early as original-language title cards, in the early 1900s. When sound and speech became synchronised with images in the late 1920s and early 1930s, subtitling was introduced on a modest scale: it consisted in superimposing translated fragments of the spoken dialogue on the image. In films with high box-office appeal, dubbing replaced the original voices and dialogue with new ones in the target languages, trying to maintain the illusion that the screen actors actually spoke the words one could hear. Voice-over, a simplified form (p.5) of dubbing, superimposed a single voice over the original dialogue which could still be faintly heard, leaving aside any attempt to synchronise that voice with the lip movements on the screen.10

For a short period in the early 1930s, production companies attempted to overcome language barriers by making ‘multiple-language versions’. A film would be shot first in its original language, and then immediately in a varying number of languages, according to the targeted markets. Different casts of actors succeeded each other on the same sets, acting in scenes shot in nearly identical fashions in all versions. Such ‘MLVs’ have been extensively researched over the last 20 years, usually from a film-historical perspective. Although they are occasionally mentioned in this volume, they are not treated in detail, not because they are not also in a very real sense translations, but because they have benefited from considerable critical attention already.11 Multiple-language versions should not be confused with what the famous American entertainment and film magazine Variety called ‘direct shot’ films in the early 1930s: such films aimed to bypass translation issues by being made directly in the relevant languages, and produced solely for foreign markets. Unlike multiple-language versions these were not ‘copies’ of an original film: they were original films in themselves, shot in only one language, even if this language differed from that of the country where they were being made. Multilinguals and ‘direct shot’ films were mostly made in Hollywood, Berlin, and Paris. Multiple-language films continued to be made at intervals after the boom-and-bust of the early 1930s.

But film translation is more than any or all of these methods. It cannot be reduced to the activity of translating applied to cinema. For one thing, the film-translating profession developed within the film industry, rather than bringing in translators working in other fields. It is a unique form of translation because of the polysemiotic nature of the film medium. To translate dialogue without taking into account its intricate relationship with the movement of images and the flow of sounds is impossible.

Film translation employs a wide spectrum of strategies. In the early talking period, before adequate translation methods had been developed, American talking films were shown abroad, for example in France, with only musical soundtracks, and simply called ‘sonorised’ films. Some early talkies were shown abroad with the dialogue edited out and replaced by written title (p.6) cards, to comply with target culture policies, as in Fascist Italy or in 1930s colonial Palestine.12

An early form of film translation was embodied by the ‘film explainers’ of the silent period who not only read the intertitles out loud, and often acted them out, for illiterate viewers, but also translated the title cards of foreign films. This provided an interesting combination of written text orally translated, not unlike the simultaneous translation of (mostly English-) subtitled films used in festivals before the advent of electronic subtitling.

Re-editing imported films was a common practice. In the silent period, rewriting intertitles was common. This could also involve cutting shots or scenes or putting them in a different order. Both before and after the coming of sound, it was acknowledged that American audiences, for instance, preferred shorter running times to German or French audiences so films would be shortened to suit.13 With early dubbed versions, changes in dialogue could also entail changes in editing.

In some French versions of American musical films of the early 1930s, songs were kept in their original language, while spoken sequences were reshot and recorded in French.14 Up until the 1940s and beyond, text inserts (close-up shots of letters, telegrams, posters, and other written material) were commonly reshot in the target language (mostly in dubbed films).15 It was also very common for title sequences to be recreated. If, as has been argued, the title sequence has its own autonomy within the film as a whole,16 then we need to think carefully about what localised title sequences do for the ways in which a film signifies. ‘Foreign’ versions could also combine dubbing and scenes shot in the ‘multilingual’ fashion, such as the English and French versions of Fritz Lang’s M (1931), in which some scenes were dubbed and others, including the climactic final speech by Peter Lorre, were reshot.17 Such hybrid translated (p.7) films might involve cultural translation, as in the case of adapting musical styles.18 Cultural translation could also be influenced by the ideological rules of the place and moment, which led foreign films to be edited (in all senses) in a different way than their original version, and altered not only in their dialogue but even in their narration; this was evident in foreign films distributed in the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, and Franco’s Spain, for example. Soviet audiences were said to like sad endings, whereas audiences in other countries preferred happy endings: some companies shot ‘Russian endings’ to make their product more attractive to the Soviet market.19 Translation thus becomes a conceptual tool for understanding some of the similarities, but also some of the many cultural differences that underlay oppositional ideological regimes of the inter-war period.

At the other end of the film translation spectrum, some dubbed versions introduce dialogue snippets or lines which do not exist in the original version.20 One striking process in translation was the addition, in the early years of talking films, of filmed prologues as a way of helping the audience to follow the plot or understand the wider resonance of a film in a foreign language. This was the case, for instance, with the US release of Reinhold Schünzel’s Das schöne Abenteuer (1932).21 A similar filmed prologue can be found in the print of Victor Trivas’s Niemandsland (1931) held at the British Film Institute National Archive.

Subtitles have also been subjected to a form of ‘overtranslation’ through the years, if one considers the constant increase in the number of subtitles over the years since subtitling was introduced for talking films. Subtitles were initially viewed as a ‘comprehension aid’, so that viewers could understand the main lines of dialogue and follow the broad narrative, at the expense of subplots and subtleties. Today as much of the original dialogue as possible is translated into subtitles, within the time and space limits intrinsic to this translation mode. This is sometimes criticised as preventing viewers from fully enjoying the visual dimension of film;22 the sparser subtitles of the early (p.8) talking period allowed for this, although the gradual increase in subtitle density over the decades23 suggests that audiences who readily accepted subtitles preferred their films more comprehensively subtitled.

‘Film translation’, in short, can usefully be considered to cover not only ‘modes of translation’ and language transfer activity, but related interventions of all kinds, including editing changes, image manipulation (reshooting of credit sequences, for example), paratextual framing, and censorship. These factors are all inextricably entwined with decisions about international film distribution. One cannot but conclude that the history of film translation, especially in its early stages, properly belongs to film history and that film history would benefit from greater engagement with issues of translation.

Challenging histories of film and translation

Close attention to translation and language transfer in film history invites us to question a number of received narratives in both film and translation history.

One narrative that has repeatedly been challenged but that proves remarkably resilient is that of the universality of silent film, according to which silent films were easy to translate and therefore somehow more universal than sound film. Nostalgia for the lost era of universal film is in evidence from the early sound period; as one commentator recalls in the autumn of 1931, ‘[American] dramas and comedies were shown in practically every place in the world where there was a moving picture projector. The enfolding of a story through pantomime was understandable by a native of any country, while the translation of explanatory subtitles into any language was simple.’24 In a standard textbook for subtitlers, Jan Ivarsson and Mary Carroll contrast intertitles, which were simply ‘removed, translated … filmed, and re-inserted’25 with the knottier challenges of subtitling sound film. But, as Tessa Dwyer has argued, ‘the degree of translation required to preserve the myth of universalism [of silent film] was phenomenal’.26 There were complex translation workflows, with Hollywood studios, for example, shipping a list of titles to various distributors abroad, who would translate the titles and send them back to the studio.27 This could cause problems if technicians without (p.9) language expertise reshot the titles. Later, such titles were dispatched along with the print, rather than edited into it, so that the distributor could have more control over the translation and reinsertion of the titles. The translation of paratextual materials was also important; for example, ‘each Famous Players-Lasky film was also accompanied by fifty or so other items that required translation and printing in the target languages’.28 Title cards could be quite elaborately ornamented (‘art titles’), but recreated titles in other languages often had lower production values. Barry Salt has drawn a link between a reduction in film exports from the United States during the First World War and an increased use of illustrated title cards; by contrast, in periods when overseas markets accounted for a lot of trade, illustrated title cards, which were more challenging to translate, were less favoured.29 As we have argued elsewhere,30 such links between film style and translation are integral to audiovisual translation history. Chapters 2 to 6 of our volume illustrate the linguistic and filmic complexity of silent film distribution and restoration in different ways.

A second commonplace which this volume seeks to complicate is the close association of specific territories with specific modes of audiovisual translation. Standard accounts of the history of film translation by scholars in translation studies have tended to give fairly simplistic labels to film territories. Territories tend to be categorised as dubbing territories (i.e. France, Spain, Italy, Germany); subtitling territories including Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Flanders, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries; and exporting territories, principally the UK and the USA.31 This is largely true, but a film-historical approach requires us to seek a much more nuanced picture of distribution policies and language norms. For example, the UK and the USA do principally subtitle imported films for the arthouse circuit, but more popular film genres such as martial arts, and films aimed at a more mainstream audience (for example, outside metropolitan centres), have often been dubbed. Dubbing did quickly become embedded in a number of large language markets in Europe, but often followed an initial period of (p.10) experimentation with subtitles;32 these subtitles have been almost completely ignored by critics, partly because of difficulties in accessing prints. Practices have not remained static in these territories either; different modes of translation are sometimes used in different exhibition environments (for example, theatrical projection vs broadcast vs home entertainment or streaming). Film history needs to acknowledge these tensions in film exhibition.

A major problem in the historiography of film translation to date is the hasty treatment of the period between the late 1920s, as sound film became established in the United States, and the early 1930s, as dubbing and subtitling became established in many territories. As a number of contributors to this volume argue, it seems clear (despite the patchy surviving evidence) that this development was not linear, and that a number of practices co-existed over a period of as long as several years. Although accounts of different territories (predictably) show common developments, the speed of development of audiovisual translation was heavily dependent on technology (how fast cinemas were being wired for sound in that territory) among a number of other factors. Our reappraisal of this topic therefore differentiates carefully between markets.

A final concept which this volume seeks to engage with is that of the ‘original’ film. Of course, many scholars have acknowledged how problematic the idealisation of the original film is,33 but the concept remains remarkably pervasive in discourses of film criticism, cinephilia, and distribution. It is sometimes implicit (the quest for the ‘best’ version of a film) and sometimes explicit, but its effect is to associate all but the most textually compromised films with an ideal authoritative version. But the truth is that that authoritative version, even if it is a close approximation of the version that was initially exhibited in the source language market, would not have been seen in most target language markets, and therefore represents potentially only a small proportion of the film screenings. Translated films could be textually very different from their originals, and it is those altered versions with which the historian of film must engage. Early film translation practices were quite different at the beginning of the talking period compared to today’s practices; even discounting the issue of the format or support (nitrate vs safety stock; analogue vs digital) we can make no assumptions about the reception of a 1930s American or German film in Europe or Latin America based on (p.11) versions of that film available today. Putting practices in their historical context makes it possible to understand exactly what we are watching and listening to when watching a ‘translated film’.

The title of this volume sets its time-frame from 1900 to 1950. This is not to say that more recent developments in film translation have not been equally interesting, but we were insistent that the volume needed depth and focus on this crucial period. The extended section on translation in the silent era reflects how ignored this period has been in translation studies, and how acute is the need for new perspectives. The relative neglect of the transition to sound meant that this also had to be a key focus of the volume. Of course, much remains to be further researched, both for the time period dealt with here and for subsequent developments. While the primary purpose of the present volume is to set the agenda for research on the history of film translation, we hope that the volume will also contribute to broader debates on the circulation and consumption of audiovisual media.

Disciplines in dialogue

The concept behind this volume developed out of the participation of the co-editors in translation studies conferences dealing with historical aspects of audiovisual translation, such as the European Society for Translation Studies Congress in Germersheim (2013), and in the 2013 Symposium of the Annual Congress of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in Barcelona, as well as their own previous research into the field.34 This laid the foundation for a successful application to the British Academy to hold the conference ‘Splendid Innovations: The Development, Reception and Preservation of Screen Translation’ in London in May 2015. This brought together film historians, translation scholars, and archivists for the first substantial discussion of film translation history, many of whose voices are presented in this volume; other colleagues have also contributed chapters to enrich the range of contexts covered.

This volume fits into recent developments in translation studies and in film history and preservation. Both film historians and translation historians have grappled in recent years with the question of the material.35 Both disciplines have seen a move from text-focused studies to more historically and sociologically-informed approaches, which have in some ways de-emphasised (p.12) the role of textual analysis.36 We do not dispute that a broader contextual framework is needed to understand both film and translation history; on the contrary, the limitations of a textual approach are evident. But the kind of textual approach is also fundamental. It has been particularly common in film studies to look at any copy of a film as adequate to the task of analysis,37 but our approach in this volume shows how important it is not only to look at the translated versions of films, but to interrogate the status and provenance of those versions and the documentation available for them. The studies in this volume thus draw, where possible, on primary materials.

The centre of gravity of this volume is noticeably weighted towards film history, rather than translation history or theory. In this it builds on an important recent contribution to translation history from Chris Rundle, whose provocative 2012 essay ‘Translation as an approach to history’ argues that we should look to a translation history which uses the innovative framework of language and translation to illuminate history, rather than the other way around.38 Rundle uses the example of translation publishing in Fascist Italy, showing that while it is interesting in itself to understand how translations were censored under the Fascist regime, what is most interesting is what that censorship tells us about the regime’s own vulnerabilities. Similarly, the contributors in this volume show us how translation played into industrial developments in film history, for instance, in the work of Claire Dupré la Tour on the rise of Pathé, or Charles O’Brien’s study of the interaction between dubbing and film style. Charles Barr’s chapter illustrates how language becomes an intrinsic and inescapable factor in film-historical research which is not, in itself, concerned with translation, in that its main aim is to fill a gap in Hitchcock scholarship.

The previous section shows how a translation-informed approach can help us to re-examine received wisdom in film history. But the film-historical approach also enriches our understanding of translation, for instance via Yuri Tsivian’s and Charles Barr’s work on Russian re-editing,39 or Jeremy Hicks’s persuasive study of the relative fortunes of Chapayev, with English titles added, in the USA and the UK.40

(p.13) This volume inscribes itself in a strand of recent work seeking to transnationalise film history. Seminal studies focusing on the production of ‘multiple-language versions’ in the early 1930s lay the ground for such a transnationalised approach. Such films were mostly produced in the USA, Germany, and France, but aimed at audiences far beyond their countries of origin, in Latin America and throughout Europe. Nataša Ďurovičová, Martin Barnier, and Chris Wahl41 have notably contributed to a better understanding of this specific type of film production which, as short-lived as it was, had an impact on general film production and reception, and was often intertwined with the international development of dubbing. Transnational perspectives on silent film have also proliferated.42 A notable contribution is the 2014 book Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space, edited by Jennifer M. Bean, Anupama Kapse, and Laura Horak, who seek to look beyond the national paradigm in which most of film history has situated itself. Bean’s introduction outlines how the volume responds in turn to Giorgio Bertellini’s call to engage ‘the problematics that would intrinsically expose the multi-linguistic and multi-cultural fabric of silent cinema — i.e. its cross-national commercialisation and influences’.43 As Bean argues, both film archives and universities are regulated by funding and institutional imperatives within a national or regional context. This makes it very challenging to look at translation, but by the same token makes translation an exciting and disruptive factor in the ‘philosophical and methodological shift in the writing of film history and geography’44 for which Bean and her co-editors call.

This does not, of course, apply only to the silent period. As our volume shows, these questions also have important implications in relation to sound films. While not de-historicising the film cultures involved, we would argue that translation in different modes is an essential aspect of the transnational distribution and reception of film, and that translation must be considered as implicated in the methodological shift which Bean advocates. For some years (p.14) now translation has been present around the edges of film history in a way which imperatively demands further exploration.

Although still limited, specific studies on film translation and its history have grown in numbers in the last 15 years, with transnational perspectives on film translation in France, Japan, Italy, and Germany.45 The ideological manipulation of films through their translation has also attracted the attention of a growing number of scholars with a similar transnational approach.46 Research is growing fast in this field but we would argue that to make further progress dialogue between film history and translation studies is needed.

Translators and other agents

The ‘cultural turn’ in translation studies from the 1990s brought with it an increased interest in the context in which translation takes place, in its agents and in supra-textual approaches to translation.47 It might seem as though the natural framework for looking at translation history is a translator-centred one. However, looking at translation in history may involve relatively little consideration of translators themselves, as Hilary Footitt observes in a 2012 article on translation and interpreting in wartime. In her project, the frameworks which linguists and translators take for granted turned out not to structure other fields of activity, and indeed were sometimes almost unrecognisable.48 What Footitt found was that translation was referred to in the archives she consulted under a number of other labels. Similarly, if we look at (p.15) the first 50 years of film, we find translation taking place in contexts of distribution, or of editing. In the silent period, title writers often also cut the film; compilation of the titles was intimately linked to editing. Some subtitlers were also distributors, such as Ya’akov Davidon and Yerushalayim Segal in 1930s Mandatory Palestine49 or authors in their own right, such as Fanny Hurst, who was credited with the titles for the US release of the Czech film Skeleton on Horseback (Hugo Haas, 1937), or cinema managers (Herman G. Weinberg). Many subtitlers of distinction have not necessarily considered themselves translators; Weinberg and John Minchinton, for instance, two of the most prolific subtitlers into English, sometimes worked on literal translations prepared by others, as did some title writers of the silent period, such as Katharine Hilliker.

In the silent and early sound periods, individual cinema proprietors sometimes improvised their own translation solutions;50 this practice declined steadily with the vertical integration of the film industry, and distributors became important players. The Hollywood studio system meant that studios played a key strategic role in making decisions about translation. In many cases, the actual language transfer is likely to have been done by anonymous, uncredited, and potentially unqualified ad hoc linguists. An approach centred on agents is thus a useful framework for thinking about film translation history, as long as we bear in mind that the professional translator may not be the best category to start with.

Archival and access issues

The welcome transnational shift in film studies nevertheless tends to ignore the textual implications of film translation.51 This in turn has implications for archiving, curating, and public exhibition. Looking at the translation of films upsets the conventional national boundaries not only in academic film studies but also as regards preservation.52 In reference to multilingual productions, Chris Wahl observes that ‘alternative-language versions of films are independent products worthy of being preserved. The aspect of films’ versionality (p.16) has become widespread, in part thanks to the work of film archives. The language a film uses to address its audience … is a relevant criterion for determining its “nationality”, though this idea is still not widely accepted.’53 The issue of the various linguistic versions of a given film is thus linked in a complicated way to the concept of nationality, which is both dependent on and detached from the language(s) involved. For example, an Italian-speaking version of an early Hollywood talking film is American by virtue of its country of production, but Italian because of the language used in the soundtrack, and because the Italian regime of the time did its best to make it look and sound Italian. The translation scholar Gideon Toury has argued along similar lines that translations are ‘facts of the target culture’54 and should be studied as such. But dubbed and subtitled versions tend to fall between two stools when it comes to cataloguing and ‘ownership’: too far from the original films for the source culture to be interested in them, and too foreign for the target culture to own them.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for research in film translation history is that archives do not seem systematically to preserve specific translated versions of films (i.e. the first versions exhibited), or to record details about which translations they hold. Because of the hegemony of the visual in film and media studies, only challenged in recent decades, and because of the emphasis put on the ‘original’ or ‘ideal’ cut of the film, translated versions are considered of lower status, particularly where these are textually divergent. Furthermore, the passage of time and physical deterioration of copies in archives (for example, flammable nitrate prints, safety prints affected by the ‘vinegar syndrome’) mean that some materials may be becoming difficult or impossible to access.

This volume represents innovative current research by drawing on surviving primary materials to provide a foundation for systematic, empirical study of the history of film translation. The material aspect of this project is significant. Yet, although it would seem obvious to film archivists, it has not always been so to researchers. As film scholar Paul Cuff rightly notes, ‘content’ is often considered as prevailing over the material specificities of film. Quoting film history and translation studies specialist Karin Littau and film history and preservation expert Leo Enticknap, Cuff mentions the resistance ‘to the study of historical technologies that carry and contain moving images’ (and sound, we should add), and the lack of interest of some academics in the material and physical dimensions of film.55 This seems particularly crucial (p.17) when it comes to the study of translated films. Not enough attention has been paid to what version or print of a given subtitled or dubbed film is being studied, with the risk of making incorrect assessments. There have been studies of filmic reception which have not seen fit to specify which mode of film translation was used for the film; one article in a well-respected cultural studies journal on the French reception of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954) discusses at length ‘what happens to On the Waterfront when it is translated into Sur les quais56 without ever mentioning explicitly whether the film was dubbed or subtitled. We presume that it was a dubbed version that screened at its ‘gala première at the Opéra Garnier in Paris on 25 November 1954’ but it is nowhere explicitly stated in the article. The article goes on to use a metaphor of translation to denote the cross-cultural communication of the film to its French audiences, and the debates that resulted, while apparently presuming that the mode of audiovisual translation and the specific choices of the putative dubbing scriptwriter were of no relevance to the film’s reception. In the preparation of this volume we were, by contrast, much heartened by the enthusiasm of our colleagues to consider what technological and material aspects of film translation can teach us about the history of translation and of film.

Material and archival issues also bear on the exhibition of translated films, whether in cinema venues, on DVD and other digital media, or on the web. In a study of the public presentation of their collections by film heritage institutions, film curator Nico de Klerk emphasises the need for contextualisation and proposes a conceptual approach ‘that allows a more complete understanding of film heritage and its histories’.57 He suggests a model comprising five categories, one of which he defines as ‘identity’, focusing ‘on the negotiation between local and international aspects, of which appropriation — local measures to adapt foreign cultural objects to legal, linguistic, or other market conditions — is the most ubiquitous instance’.58 We feel there is a need for similar historic and material contextualisation of translated films, in their manifestations with localised intertitles, and as subtitled and dubbed versions, for researchers as well as audiences to be more aware of what films they are watching and listening to, and what other options might be available to them.

Discussing today’s releases of silent films in digital formats, Cuff points out that ‘many silent films are missing their original intertitles, or else have extant titles in a language foreign to that of the digital distributor. Whilst (p.18) some companies use subtitles to solve the latter problem, [others] tend to favour replacement by English titles. The key issue here is not linguistic translation but media transliteration’:59 a situation which has attracted, according to Cuff, little attention.60 We would suggest, to modify Cuff’s comment slightly, that the issue is not only linguistic translation; of course, this media transliteration still involves textual translation.

In its emphasis on contextualisation, this volume participates in the ongoing debate on film preservation as preserving not so much the ‘film object’ as the ‘film system’, which consists in screening a film with an audience, involving the equipment used for the original exhibition of the film, i.e. a physical print, a projector, and a large screen. In Film Curatorship, a fascinating book-length conversation between four experienced film archivists and curators, David Francis and Alexander Horwath discuss in practical detail what this ‘system’ involves, which goes beyond the mere, and somewhat vague, ‘film experience’: ‘the most important thing is … the ability to continue to create the use of the physical object, the projection, the environment, etc’.61 Referring to film restorer Enno Patalas’s approach to presentation, Horwath highlights his focus ‘on the fact that it is the showing, the public performance of a film, where this film … truly actualises and realises itself. This is why the conditions and characteristics of film presentation deserve as much attention as those of the film “object” and its restoration.’62 Film translation is part of both the ‘film object’ and the conditions of presentation. Largely overlooked until now, its material aspects are crucial both to the understanding of the history of film translation and to the public presentation of translated films of all periods and origins. If one considers that film history and preservation is about the ‘film system’ as a whole, then preserving and explaining the physical, visual, and aural aspects of subtitling and dubbing are essential. The translated intertitles of silent films vary with time and place; subtitled films bear very different texts according to when, where, and for whom they were made; dubbed versions are equally marked by the context of their making. Redubbing is less routine than resubtitling, but there are many examples. These are sometimes very poorly received; paradoxically, the historical dubbings to which so many critics objected in the past63 and which Jean (p.19) Renoir called ‘monstrous’64 have become, over time, ‘original’ versions in their own right with their own weight of nostalgia and accrued associations. The current fashion of ‘redubbing’ older films with today’s equipment and usages in turn produces ‘monstrous’, hybrid film objects with totally different, even alien, sound atmospheres compared to the sound, speech, voices, and delivery of the original film and which can sometimes sound as though they belong to a different film.

Researching and studying the historical dimension of the material aspects of film translation contribute to preserving the ‘film system’, not for the sake of a nostalgic re-enacting of past experiences, but simply to raise awareness about what films we are watching and listening to. This is one of the aims of this volume.

Aims and structure of the volume

The major aim of this volume is to lay the foundation of film translation history as a dynamic field, interdisciplinary by nature, engaging film and translation historians and practitioners. The volume collects scholarly research and first-hand experience by film archivists in the restoration of film involving issues of language and translation. The contribution of curators and archivists to film translation history is of the highest importance, in order to avoid the uncritical approach to the text discussed above.65 Reflections by the contributing archivists in this volume help us to understand the priorities underpinning archival practice and enlarge our understanding of the scope of film historical study. Interdisciplinary collaboration in the form of a dialogue between scholarly and archival approaches is needed to identify primary materials in archives and to develop methodologies for the analysis of film elements and the comparison with surviving documentary evidence. Initial research in this field, much of which is collected in the present volume, has shown that there are invaluable materials available for the study of film translation, from autobiographical accounts66 and known film prints to press material (we remind ourselves that by no means all of the most important have been digitised) and archives holding unknown translations from the past.

(p.20) This collection falls into two sections, one dealing with silent cinema (Chapters 2 to 6), the other with the transition to sound and speech, and the first two decades of translated talking films (Chapters 7 to 15). However, these chapters should be understood as all being part of a continuum because, from the perspective of translation, we challenge the view that the systematisation of synchronised speech constituted a radical divide between silent and talking cinema. At a very early stage films needed to be translated, and it was the conditions of performing film translation, rather than the demands of the translation itself, which evolved in the changing technical and commercial context. Many film-historical translation practices of silent cinema, including the reshooting of text inserts, the reshooting of credit sequences, and the use of narrative titles, survived to a greater or lesser extent into the sound period.

Each chapter in this volume discusses a specific aspect of film’s need for translation in the period under study. In the section on the silent period, chapters on film archivists’ and curators’ experience in restoring original and translated intertitles alternate with in-depth studies by scholars of silent film. This section is framed by Bryony Dixon’s and Thomas C. Christensen’s general approaches to intertitle restoration ethics, with specific insights into restoring intertitles only available in a language other than that of the original film. Claire Dupré la Tour explains how the translation of title cards by Pathé in the early 1900s was a bold and pioneering strategy — a crucial, though rarely addressed aspect of the otherwise well-documented worldwide domination of this company prior to the First World War — and shows that language and translation were at issue from very early in film’s history. Dominique Moustacchi gives a detailed account of intertitle restoration in several films of the 1920s, including the fascinating case of an Italian film restored from complementary sets of French and Italian intertitles. Films from the West were popular in the Soviet Union of the 1920s, but the political agenda required them to be revamped through re-editing and intertitle rewriting. Charles Barr offers a vivid account of how a British film went through such a process and of how the surviving Russian version gives us the only access we currently have to a film whose link with Alfred Hitchcock makes it a notable part of British cinematic history. A number of illustrations greatly enhance our visual understanding of text on screen and how not only text, but also images, and the interactions between them, could be implicated in the translation.

Overcoming language barriers worldwide was not easily achieved with early talking films. Music and songs played an important part in the transition to sound, and for a brief period seemed to offer the potential for film to retain its much-hyped universality. However, Geoff Brown shows how lyrics and musical styles needed to be adapted to the target language and culture. The coming of sound and speech to Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin (p.21) America prompted the Hollywood majors to try a number of translation strategies, which are addressed by Adrián Fuentes-Luque in his study of how the tricky issue of the many varieties of Spanish was dealt with in the making of dubbed versions for Spanish-speaking countries. Soon dubbing also became an ideological weapon to ‘preserve’ audiences from foreign linguistic influences. This was particularly the case in Fascist Italy, as Carla Mereu Keating shows in her study of the reception of Hollywood films in Italy in the early 1930s.

In Hollywood, dubbing was not initially given much chance of success. But, as dubbing practices improved in the USA, they had some impact on the production, editing, and sound treatment of original English-speaking films. Charles O’Brien’s chapter in this volume looks at how anticipating the making of dubbed versions could affect film style. Along similar lines, Jean-François Cornu scrutinises a sample of French-dubbed American and European films to reveal and interpret the technical, linguistic, and artistic manipulations these versions contain. This section of the volume is rounded out with Martin Barnier’s case study on the reception of Paramount’s dubbed versions in France, in which Barnier traces the beginning of the opposition between original-language versions screened in upmarket cinemas, and dubbed versions aimed at popular neighbourhoods.

Subtitling and dubbing coexisted in a number of markets. Rachel Weissbrod uses rare first-hand accounts by film translators to describe how talking films made their way into Mandatory Palestine in the early 1930s, revealing how both translation modes were used for a brief period of time by translators who were their own film distributors. During the same period, Sweden also tried to use both methods, but we learn in Christopher Natzén’s study of the beginnings of audiovisual translation in Sweden that the reception of the lone film dubbed into Swedish was so negative that it cemented the position of subtitling as the only film translation mode used in Sweden. The introduction and development of subtitling in English-speaking countries are looked at by Carol O’Sullivan who uses material evidence — film prints, trade papers, surviving translators’ accounts — to survey the early years of English and American subtitling.

The historical panorama this volume offers reveals the ingenuity of film distributors and exhibitors across the USA, Europe, South America, and the Middle East in finding ways to solve language barriers for their audiences. Where first-hand accounts exist, they are invaluable, but there are very few of these, partly, perhaps, because of the lack of prestige of this domain of translation work. Occasionally film translators were credited on prints (Herman Weinberg and Mai Harris are two examples) but in many cases we lack evidence of who early film translators were and how they worked. Even today, translators are not the best historians of their own practices because of (p.22) increasing time constraints and perhaps the lack of awareness among translators of the usefulness of such accounts. (Something to bear in mind, for translators reading this volume!)

A book in English about film translation may seem a contradiction in terms, when the proportion of films translated into English, and their market share, is so much smaller than that of English-speaking films translated into other languages. One of the reasons for this is that the need for film translation primarily stemmed from the necessity to exhibit American films in other countries so that they would be fully profitable and production costs could be recouped — a situation still holding true today. This accounts for the many contributions in this volume looking at translations out of English. Contributors to the volume are based in the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Israel. Together they cover a wide variety of linguistic areas (though we are aware that this covers only a small number of contexts of interest for the historian of translation). While the practical necessities of editing a scholarly collection require all contributions to be in English, we have sought to maintain a polyphony of languages through the translation of two contributions, and through the provision of quotations in their original languages and scripts in the footnotes.

A multidisciplinary and international approach to film translation history

The chapters of this volume enter very naturally into dialogue with each other, and with earlier eminent archivists and restorers such as Enno Patalas and Raymond Borde. Borde argued for the retention of dubbed film copies.67 In a 1998 issue of the Journal of Film Preservation, Patalas, who was responsible for a restoration of Nosferatu, a film with a wildly multilingual history, makes a similar argument:

These [translated, edited, sonorised, etc.] versions belong to the history of these films as much as their supposed ‘original’ versions. Dubbed versions, mutilated and falsified versions should be collected for study, like the ‘denazified’ adaptations of Nazi films from Adenauer’s time, as well as the versions of American films of the same period (whose explicitly anti-nazi content was suppressed after the war) such as Casablanca and Notorious. Where are these prints now?68

(p.23) We believe gathering contributors from different fields, countries, and languages, with a shared concern for film history and preservation will help to provide further answers to Patalas’s question. This is already bearing fruit, not only in the continued interdisciplinary conversations, but also in the location of specific prints of ‘translated’ versions of early talking films, such as the German Mädchen in Uniform and Der brave Sünder, which happened in the course of preparing the research for this volume.

Conclusion: A historiography of film translation

This volume argues for a broad definition of film translation. It demonstrates that a translated film is not simply the result of the technical and linguistic operations performed in subtitling and dubbing talking films, or in the retitling of silent films. Film translation encompasses these operations and more: the re-creation and manipulation of image and sound through editing and other interventions in the textual features of films which alter the flow of their images and the content of their soundtracks. In their daily practice, film translators are constantly aware of the intricate relationship of image, sound, and spoken or written speech; film history researchers should be equally aware of this relationship, which the volume aims to highlight.

The historiography of film translation has much to learn both from film history and translation history, but underpinning our work is the conviction that the history of translating films cannot be disentangled from the history of film itself. Looking at translated films over the course of film history requires specific skills and tools. With the studies in this volume we have tried to provide such tools and to stimulate further research. The intention is that this volume offers a model which can be applied and appropriated by other scholars and practitioners. This new field can thrive only by benefiting from the co-operation across disciplines, and between the academy and the wider film community. Real breakthroughs in methodology will happen only by developing a common scholarly language, which requires us to reflect upon our own position as scholars and consider the general disciplinary and interdisciplinary movement of which we are a part. By stimulating further research in this field, and by raising awareness and understanding of film translation before and after the coming of sound, we hope that our research will benefit today’s film industry players including distributors, DVD publishers, and online film platform operators, and ultimately all who enjoy watching classic films. (p.24)


(1) L’audace impresa di Ridolini: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psVPYg7N1i0, last accessed 19 June 2017.

(2) See, for example, Gerald Mast, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies, 2nd edn (Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 194.

(3) Il testamento del dottor Mabuse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZFwuQJm2eM, last accessed 19 June 2017.

(4) Luke McKernan, ‘Audiovisual Archives and the Web’, Journal of Film Preservation, 96 (April 2017), 35–9 at 38.

(5) Abé Mark [Markus] Nornes, Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2007), p. 124.

(6) Michel Chion, Words on Screen, ed. and trans. Claudia Gorbman (New York, Columbia University Press, 2017), p. 139; originally published in French as L’Écrit à l’écran (Paris, Armand Colin, 2013), p. 146.

(7) These include Nornes, Cinema Babel; Mark Betz, ‘The Name above the (Sub)Title: Internationalism, Coproduction, and Polyglot European Art Cinema’, Camera Obscura, 46 (2001), 1–44; a number of publications by Nataša Ďurovičová and Ginette Vincendeau on multiple-language versions (see Select Bibliography, this volume); and Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, ‘The Cinema after Babel: Language, Difference, Power’, Screen, 26.3–4 (1985), 35–58.

(8) For example, the policy at the Swedish Film Institute is to consider subtitled prints of non-Swedish films as ‘not the most suitable elements for digitisation’; see Jon Wengström, ‘The Coexistence of Analogue and Digital Strategies in the Archival Film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute’, Journal of Film Preservation, 96 (April 2017), 63–74 at 66.

(9) Casper Tybjerg, ‘The Raw Material of Film History’, in Dan Nissen, Lisbeth Richter Larsen, Thomas C. Christensen, and Jesper Stub Johnsen (eds), Preserve then Show (Copenhagen, Det Danske Filminstitut, 2002), pp. 14–21 at 17.

(10) We do not discuss the latter in this volume, partly because of the lack to date of available historical research in this field.

(11) In his history of multilingual films shot in Germany in the 1930s, Chris Wahl sees them as a ‘variety of “translation”’; see Multiple Language Versions Made in Babelsberg: Ufa’s International Strategy, 1929–1939, trans. from the German by Steve Wilder (Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2016), p. 149.

(12) See, for example, Carla Mereu Keating, The Politics of Dubbing: Film Censorship and State Intervention in the Translation of Foreign Cinema in Fascist Italy (Oxford, Peter Lang, 2016) and Rachel Weissbrod’s chapter in this volume.

(13) See Charles O’Brien’s chapter in this volume.

(14) See, for example, Martin Barnier, Des films français made in Hollywood (Paris, L’Harmattan, 2004).

(15) On this topic, see Chion, Words on Screen, pp. 142–5; Carol O’Sullivan, ‘The Translating Dissolve’, in Translating Popular Cinema (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 45–50 and ‘Images Translating Images: “Dubbing” Text on Screen’, trans. Marie Causse and Betty Serandour, L’Écran traduit, 2 (Autumn 2013), http://ataa.fr/revue/archives/2387 (also available in French as ‘Quand l’image traduit l’image : “doubler” le texte à l’écran’ on the same website at http://ataa.fr/revue/archives/2038).

(16) See, for example, Georg Stanitzek, ‘Reading the Title Sequence (Vorspann, Générique)’, Cinema Journal, 48.4 (Summer 2009), 44–58.

(17) On the French version of M, see François Albera, Claire Angelini, and Martin Barnier, ‘M /Le Maudit, ses doubles et son doublage’, Décadrages, 23–4 (Spring 2013), 80–113, also available in German as ‘“M” /“Le Maudit”: Doppelgänger und Dubbing’, trans. Nathalie Mälzer, in Alain Boillat and Irene Weber Henking (eds), Dubbing: Die Übersetzung im Kino / La Traduction audiovisuelle (Marburg, Schüren Verlag, 2014), pp. 65–114.

For the English version, see the 2010 Eureka Masters of Cinema Region 2 DVD release of M (spine no. #92) which includes the 1932 British release as an extra feature.

(18) Cultural adaptation of musical styles in early sound films is the subject of Geoff Brown’s chapter in this volume.

(19) See Paolo Cherchi Usai, Silent Cinema: An Introduction (London, British Film Institute, 2000), p. 12.

(20) See, for example, Cornu’s chapter in this volume.

(21) See the review, signed ‘Kauf.’ [Wolfe Kaufman] in Variety (13 December 1932), 15.

(22) On the tendency to ‘over-translate’ in contemporary subtitling as practised in France, for instance, see Bernard Eisenschitz, ‘La Parole écrite : extrait des mémoires d’un traducteur’, in Jacques Aumont (ed.), L’Image et la parole (Paris, Cinémathèque française, 1999), pp. 29–45 at 39.

(23) See O’Sullivan’s chapter in this volume.

(24) ‘Scrutator’, ‘Sees Expansive Future for Talking Picture Industry’, Chicago Daily Tribune (5 September 1931), 21.

(25) Jan Ivarsson and Mary Carroll, Subtitling (Simrishamn, TransEdit HB, 1998), p. 9.

(26) Tessa Dwyer, ‘Universally Speaking: Lost in Translation and Polyglot Cinema’, Linguistica Antverpiensia, new ser. 4 (2005), 295–310 at 301.

(29) Barry Salt, Film Style and Technology: History and Analysis, 2nd edn (London, Starword, 1992), p. 109.

(30) Carol O’Sullivan and Jean-François Cornu, ‘History of Audiovisual Translation’, in Luis Pérez González (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation (London, Routledge, 2019).

(31) See, for example, Media Consulting Group and Peacefulfish, Étude des besoins et pratiques de l’industrie audiovisuelle européenne en matière de doublage et de sous-titrage (Paris/London, 14 November 2007), p. 4: http://www.larp.fr/dossiers/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Media-Consulting-Groupe-Etude-des-besoins-et-pratiques-de-lindustrie-audiovisuelle-européenne-en-matière-de-doublage-et-sous-titrage-141107.pdf, last accessed 23 August 2017.

(32) See the chapters by Barnier and O’Sullivan in this volume. On the French situation, for example, see Jean-François Cornu, Le Doublage et le sous-titrage : histoire et esthétique (Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2014), pp. 33–88.

(33) One notable contribution is Vinzenz Hediger, ‘The Original Is Always Lost: Film History, Copyright Industries and the Problem of Reconstruction’, in Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener (eds), Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory (Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2005), pp. 135–49.

(35) See Tybjerg, ‘The Raw Material of Film History’; Karin Littau ‘Translation and the Materialities of Communication’, Translation Studies, 9.1 (2016), 82–96.

(36) On film history, see Robert C. Allen and Douglas Gomery’s remark in their Film History: Theory and Practice (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1985) that ‘for certain investigations, film viewing is really an inappropriate research method’, quoted in Tybjerg, ‘The Raw Material of Film History’, 14.

(38) Christopher Rundle, ‘Translation as an Approach to History’, Translation Studies, 5.2 (2012), 232–40. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2012.663615.

(39) See Barr’s chapter in this volume.

(40) Jeremy Hicks, ‘The International Reception of Early Soviet Sound Cinema: Chapaev in Britain and America’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 25.2 (2005), 273–89.

(41) Nataša Ďurovičová, ‘Translating America: The Hollywood Multilinguals 1929–1933’, in Rick Altman (ed.), Sound Theory, Sound Practice (New York and London, Routledge/American Film Institute, 1992), pp. 138–53; N. Ďurovičová, World Cinema: Transnational Perspectives, ed. with Kathleen Newman (New York, Routledge/American Film Institute, 2010); Barnier, Des films français made in Hollywood; Wahl, Multiple Language Versions Made in Babelsberg.

(42) Frank Kessler and Nanna Verhoeff (eds), Networks of Entertainment: Early Film Distribution 1895–1915 (Eastleigh, John Libbey Publishing, 2007); Rudmer Canjels, Distributing Silent Film Serials: Local Practices, Changing Forms, Cultural Transformation (London, Routledge, 2011); Jacqueline Reich, The Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2015).

(43) Quoted in Jennifer M. Bean, Anupama Kapse, and Laura Horak (eds), Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2014), p. 7.

(45) Cornu, Le Doublage et le sous-titrage; Nornes, Cinema Babel; Mereu Keating, The Policy of Dubbing; Gerd Naumann, Filmsynchronisation in Deutschland bis 1955 (Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, 2016).

(46) See, for example, Jorge Díaz Cintas (ed.), ‘La Manipulation de la traduction audiovisuelle / The Manipulation of Audiovisual Translation’, Meta, 57.2 (June 2012); Rosario Garnemark, ‘Ingmar Bergman, maternidad y Franquismo: Traducción y censura de En el umbral de la vida’, Meta, 57.2 (2012), 310–24, also available in French as ‘Ingmar Bergman, maternité et franquisme : traduction et censure d’Au seuil de la vie’, trans. Nathalie Diu and Marie-Christine Guyon, L’Écran traduit, 2 (Autumn 2013), 62–84, http://ataa.fr/revue/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ET-02-Bergman.pdf; Rainer M. Köppl, ‘Hitchcock und die IG Farben — Filmsynchronisation als Tanz in Ketten’, in Lew. N. Zybatow (ed.), SprachenkontaktMehrsprachigkeitTranslation (Frankfurt-am-Main, Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 107–41, also available in French as ‘Hitchcock et IG Farben : le doublage ou la danse dans les chaînes’, trans. Anne-Lise Weidmann, L’Écran traduit, 5 (Summer 2016), 37–73, http://ataa.fr/revue/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ET-05-IG-Farben.pdf.

(47) See, for example, the call by Lieven D’hulst for research into ‘quis’ and ‘quibus auxiliis’ in translation studies: Lieven D’hulst, ‘Why and How to Write Translation Histories?’, CROP 6: Emerging Views on Translation History in Brazil, ed. John Milton (2001), 21–32.

(48) Hilary Footitt, ‘Incorporating Languages into Histories of War: A Research Journey’, Translation Studies, 5.2 (2012), 217–31. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2012.663606.

(49) See Weissbrod’s chapter in this volume.

(50) See, for example, O’Sullivan’s chapter in this volume.

(51) This seems to be partly for methodological and partly for disciplinary reasons. The close textual work required to link changes in film texts with the industrial, geopolitical, economic, and technological contexts in which film translation occurs poses challenges of scale for researchers, but also, arguably, fits uneasily with the more sociological approaches of recent years.

(52) On the problem of the national imaginary in film studies, see Andrew Higson, ‘The Limiting Imagination of National Cinema’, in Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie (eds), Cinema and Nation (London, Routledge, 2000), pp. 63–74.

(54) Gideon Toury, Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond (Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 1995), p. 29.

(55) Paul Cuff, ‘Silent Cinema: Material Histories and the Digital Present’, Screen, 57.3 (2016), 277–301 at 278.

(56) Douglas Smith, ‘Sur les quais des brumes: Mist, Mystification and Demystification in the French Reception of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront’, French Cultural Studies, 19.1 (2008), 85–99 at 86.

(57) Nico de Klerk, ‘Becoming an “Expert System”: An Investigation into the Public Role of Film Heritage Institutes’, Journal of Film Preservation, 95 (October 2016), 11–15.

(61) Francis and Horwath refer to this as a ‘working or functioning system’. See Paolo Cherchi Usai, David Francis, Alexander Horwath, and Michael Loebenstein, Film Curatorship: Archives, Museums, and the Digital Marketplace (Vienna, Synema, 2008), p. 89.

(62) Alexander Horwath, ‘The Old Life. Reframing Film “Restoration”: Some Notes’, Journal of Film Preservation, 96 (April 2017), 30 (writer’s emphasis).

(63) For examples, see Barnier’s chapter in this volume.

(64) Jean Renoir, ‘Contre le doublage’ [Against dubbing], in Écrits 1926–1971 (Paris, Belfond, 1974), p. 47 (‘je considère le doublage comme une monstruosité’). In an autobiography published the same year in French and English, Renoir also condemns dubbing, this time calling it an ‘infamy’ and a ‘heresy’; see My Life and My Films, trans. Norman Denny (New York, Atheneum, 1974), p. 106.

(65) See, for example, Christensen’s chapter in this volume.

(66) See Weissbrod’s chapter in this volume.

(67) Raymond Borde and Freddy Buache, La Crise des cinémathèques… et du monde (Lausanne, L’Âge d’Homme, 1997), pp. 47–9.

(68) Enno Patalas, ‘On “Wild” Film Restoration, or Running a Minor Cinematheque’, Journal of Film Preservation, 56 (June 1998), 29–30.