The ideological manipulation of Hebrew literature in English translation in the 1970s and 1980s

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In the past two decades, the field of translation studies has increasingly focused on the role of ideology in literary translation and cross-cultural transfer. This paper presents findings from the close textual comparison of original works of Hebrew literature and their English translations published in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. I specify translation strategies that have had ideological effects on the source texts, and demonstrate how historically or ethically charged subject matter was manipulated so as to subdue “problematic” aspects of the text for the (largely Jewish) target audience. The two major categories of manipulations had to do with the moral dimension of the portrayal of Israel and Israeli society, particularly in subject matter related to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; and with the relationship between Israel and other nations, and between Israel and Diaspora Jews. As stressed by recent sociological studies of translation, the translations can be seen both as reflective of contemporary socio-political trends of thought, and as practices playing an unseen role in strengthening these trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-401
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • American Jewry
  • English translation
  • Hebrew literature
  • Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • Translation
  • diaspora
  • ideology
  • manipulation


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