Estonia 1850-2010: Texts, Agents, Institutions and Practices

Collective volume “Translation Under Communism” now published

The collective volume “Translation Under Communism” is the first attempt to gather research on the history of translation in the USSR and other communist regimes in Eastern Europe. The book has been edited by Christopher Rundle, Anne Lange, and Daniele Monticelli and was published by Palgrave Macmillan. 

The volume examines the history of translation under European communism, bringing together studies on the Soviet Union, including Russia and Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Poland. The book does not consider translation as a separate field of research, but uses it as a lens through which to examine history. In any totalitarian regime maintaining control over cultural exchange is strategically important, so studying these regimes from the perspective of translation can provide a unique insight into their history and into the nature of their power. The different chapters focus on the institutional and social settings of translation, translation norms and practices, the role of translation and translators in the process of Sovietization of Russia and Eastern Europe and the formation of a shared socialist canon, the relation between translation, power and censorship and translation as a site of dissidence and resistance.     

With a strong interdisciplinary focus, the volume establishes a dialogue between experts of ‘local’ histories and international discourses on translation history, showing that translation research has to be firmly situated in the socio-political circumstances of a given country and underlining the relevance of translation studies for historical disciplines.

The publication of the volume was supported by the Estonian Research Council’s grant PRG1206