Creativity Under Constraints: The Beginning of Film Translation in Mandatory Palestine

R. Weissbrod

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter addresses film translation into Hebrew in Mandatory Palestine, from the 1920s to the 1940s, when silent films were gradually replaced by talkies and the need for translation increased. It combines ‘macro history’ with ‘micro history’, the study of history through primary sources. Its main primary sources are the autobiographies of two pioneering translators, Ya’akov Davidon and Yerushalayim Segal, who specialised in dubbing and subtitling, respectively. While local production at that time served Zionist ideology, the main function of foreign films was to provide entertainment. Film translators faced two obstacles: official British censorship and the objection on the part of some sectors of Jewish society to the screening of films in foreign languages, considered a threat to Hebrew. Despite these obstacles, translators had the freedom to import, invent, and experiment with new technologies, and to adapt not just the translation to the film, but also the film to the translation.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Translation of Films 1900-1950
EditorsCarol O'Sullivan, JF Cornu
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780197266434
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy


  • British censorship, Dubbing, film translation, Hebrew, Mandatory Palestine, Subtitling, Ya’akov Davidon, Yerushalayim Segal, Zionism, audiovisual translation history


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