Culture in translation: The case of British Pathé News – New article by Sarah Maitland available online
At the risk of serving and betraying two masters, the intellectual and practical work of the translator is best characterized as an ethical problem: to navigate our anxieties of otherness by making difference accessible while also protecting the ‘other’ from appropriation. This article locates these concerns within the context of international motion picture news production, during which the need to make far-off people, events, and cultural practices accessible to audiences at home suggests a similar translation process. Using Paul Ricoeur’s notion of ‘linguistic hospitality’ as its point of entry, it maintains that as cultural translations engaged in the description and explanation of frames of reference different to those of the spectator, newsreels took their audiences on an intercultural journey of discovery, bridging both the physical and the metaphorical gulf that separated them from the images projected on their cinema screens and the experience of life elsewhere. By placing this discussion within the concrete practice of British Pathé News, this article advances a powerful example of not only the complex intercultural negotiations that exist at the heart of newsreel production as a form of cultural translation but also the ways in which these negotiations echo across our relationship to otherness more generally.