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Culture in translation: the case of British Pathé News

Maitland, Sarah


Sarah Maitland


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.


Maitland, S. (2015). Culture in translation: the case of British Pathé News. Perspectives, studies in translatology, 23(4), 570-585.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 19, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 24, 2015
Publication Date Oct 2, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 6, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 24, 2015
Journal Perspectives : studies in translation theory and practice
Print ISSN 0907-676X
Electronic ISSN 1747-6623
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 570-585
Keywords News translation, Politics of translation, Ethics, Cultural values, Cultural diversity
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:
Contract Date Jul 6, 2015


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