Publication Title
The translation of films 1900-1950
Publication Type
Edited book
Year of publication


This rich collection of articles and essays by film historians, translation scholars, archivists, and curators presents film translation history as an exciting and timely area of research. It builds on the last twenty years of research into the history of dubbing and subtitling, but goes further, by showing how subtitling, dubbing, and other forms of audiovisual translation developed over the first fifty years of the twentieth century.

This is the first book-length study, in any language, of the international history of audiovisual translation which includes silent cinema. Its scope covers national contexts both within Europe and beyond. It shows how audiovisual translation practices were closely tied to their commercial, technological and industrial contexts. The Translation of Films, 1900-1950 draws extensively on archival sources and expertise. In doing so it revisits and challenges some of the established narratives around film languages and the coming of sound. For instance, the volume shows how silent films, far from being straightforward to translate, went through a complex process of editing for international distribution. It also closely tracks the ferment of experiments in film translation during the transition to sound from 1927 to 1934 and later, as markets adjusted to the demands of synchronised film.

The Translation of Films, 1900-1950 argues for a broader understanding of film translation: far from being limited to language transfer, it encompasses editing, localisation, censorship, paratextual framing, and other factors. It advocates for film translation to be considered as a crucial contribution not only to the worldwide circulation of films, but also to the art of cinema.
Submitted by Irene Tor on Wed, 17/07/2019 - 11:26