This case study highlights the importance of the role of the translator in the publishing industry, the preconditions of today’s “activist turn” in translation studies, and the social nature of the translation process. The reasons for the unexpected success of the Jewish Zsolnay publishing house in pre-“Anschluss” Austria will be explored.
The role of the translator in the publishing process has been underestimated for centuries. All translations are produced in specific sociopolitical contexts by agents with different interests and opinions. In short: no translation is neutral, and the translator is always visible. Translating goes beyond the text; it is not only an interlingual transfer of signs, but a social phenomenon. This case study shows how Jewish social networks influenced the publication of translations and aims to explain the unexpected success of the Jewish Zsolnay publishing house in pre-“Anschluss” Austria. The research shows that translators played a central role in choosing what should be translated and in establishing communication between authors and the publishing house. For the first time, the concept of Translationskultur is historicized and applied to a single publisher. The approach furthermore expands the project of translation studies beyond disciplinary boundaries to encompass sociology, history, and Jewish studies.
Tatsiana Haiden holds two Master’s degrees in Translation, one from the Belarusian State University in Minsk (2012) and one from the University of Turin (2015). She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Transcultural Communication at the University of Vienna and is an IFK_Junior Fellow. Her academic interests include translator studies, translation sociology, translation history, translators in exile, publishing translations, and policies of publishing houses.