Corps de l’article

1. Censorship under Franco: an overview

During the nearly forty years (1936-1975) that Spain was ruled by successive fascist governments, cultural manifestations were closely monitored and controlled by the military authority and the Roman Catholic Church. The control of text production, both native and translated, was exerted by juntas de censura, committees composed of Church representatives, lower-rank officials and men of letters[1] functioning under the supervision of the authorities. The fascist State used legislation to enforce official censorship, overtly controlling all types of information. Laws were passed that were to remain in force for over forty years. Although this phenomenon was not new to Spain there had been censorship during the Second Republic, the democratic period brought to an end by the bloody Spanish Civil War—, what seems to be specific to Franco’s control mechanism is its persistence over time, and the way the application of censoring criteria would vary depending on the degree of ideological conviction of the minister in charge. Another salient characteristic is the forty-year span that was long enough to allow for the creation of new ways of receiving imported texts that differed from those in other parts of Europe, and, more importantly, for the manipulation in a certain direction of the textual system, favouring certain authors and certain types of literary production over others. Also of significance is the way official censorship ceased to exist. Although in 1977 official censorship was abolished, records show that it continued under democracy, at least until 1983, when the first socialist government was already in power. It gradually faded away, only to be substituted by other types of control of print, mainly government (national or regional) subsidies and private sponsorship. In this article,[2] we are looking at two questions: i) Are certain translation phenomena characteristic of the period (1936-1975)? and ii) Are these phenomena exclusive to a censored context or are they still present in the non-censored post-1975 democratic context? Information from the TRACE records will help us answer these questions.

State censorship of one type or another can be traced back in Spain to the time of the Catholic King and Queen, Fernando and Isabel (Cramsie, 1978, p. 58 and Elliott,[3] 1996, p. 271), but under Franco it acquired a new colour, with the religious tints typical of any authoritarian regime that also purports to be defending the true and only religion. Members of the pro-Franco political party, the Falange, and the most fundamentalist members of the clergy became willing censors who protected Spaniards from “contamination” by “dangerous” products, whether Spanish or foreign in origin. In 1938, one year before the end of the Spanish Civil War, the first laws that would structure government censorship in Spain were passed. The basis for Franco’s regime was being laid; controlling information and filtering cultural products were deemed of utmost importance. Once again in Spain, as throughout world history, power and the fear of losing it clashed with freedom and the will to enjoy it. Early legislation supported the establishment of a new heavily structured bureaucracy that would, like a gigantic whale, swallow up and subject to close scrutiny all cultural products meant for the public. As the regime slowly evolved, so did the bureaucracy and the legislation that underpinned it.[4] The post Civil War culture descended from the plays that had been performed, the films that had been produced and the books that had been published and read before and during the Civil War. Nonetheless, everything new or old, produced in translation or in the original Spanish had to be assessed and, likely expurgated, before it could be consumed. If a play was written in Spanish for the Spanish stage, it had to undergo a censoring process that would ensure that no immoral or politically dangerous content would reach the audience. If the play was foreign, a process of translation had to take place before submitting the text to scrutiny. Interlinguistic rewriting was specific to foreign products, whereas intralinguistic rewriting was shared by both national and foreign texts.

Censorship under Franco was carried out in a bureaucratic fashion.[5] For a play to reach the stage, a producer had to ask for official permission using a specific type of document. The same procedure applied to a publisher who wished to publish a novel. This type of overt official censorship was sustained by ad hoc legislation (Gutiérrez-Lanza, 1997). There was also a subtle form of covert self-censorship: authors were aware of unwritten rules and they knew what had to be done to comply with or subvert the values of the Establishment. As they wrote or rewrote their texts authors, translators, pseudotranslators and adapters made heavy use of self-censorship, for they knew that the text they submitted to the authorities would be judged according to certain criteria and their aim was to reach the public. Usually more than one process of rewriting took place. The most difficult to identify is self-censorship, whereas overt official censorship left enough vestiges to be traced back.

2. The TRACE (TRAducciones CEnsuradas, TRAnslations CEnsored) Project

After having come across the censorship archives in Madrid,[6] we set out to explore the immense possibilities that they offered. Since virtually every document (official forms and manuscripts) produced during the period was kept and filed, the archives are a faithful reflection of the literary world at that time. We can actually map out certain periods and write the history of the literary life in Franco’s Spain: the plays that were staged and those that were banned; the novels that were published and those that were not. Access to different adaptations of the same text allows us to establish what changes were made, at what stages, by whom and possibly why. These archives are ideal for a researcher, since they make available more sophisticated information than any other source. We set out to study the role of translation in post Civil War Spain, and, since all culture was passed through the censoring filter, the study of its traces was of utmost importance for writing the history of translation during the period. We focused on translations because we feel it necessary to fill in the gaps in publications about the history of literature and the history of culture that systematically ignore translation, no matter how vital the role translation may have played in boosting or creating culture.

To tackle the monumental task ahead, we distributed the work in keeping with the government structure: fiction on the one hand, and drama on the other. Since we wanted to discover which authors and works had entered Spanish culture, we decided to search for information, not by author, but randomly, without imposing a priori selection criteria. By setting out to identify, through systematic sampling of the archives, which plays and novels had been submitted to the Censorship Boards, which plays had been performed, which novels published and what their impact had been, we would be able to establish the role that a playwright, say Shakespeare, or a novelist, say Hemingway, played in the Spanish culture of that time.

Starting from this wealth of observable data, the TRACE project was launched seven years ago. It aims i) to explore the influence of censorship on translation activity in Spain during the 1939-1975 period and the consequences of censorship on present-day translation activity; ii) to verify whether or not certain translation practices are exclusive to censored recipient contexts, and iii) to uncover the ways in which censorship intervention contributed to the creation of a given literary model or system and how this was done. Textual evidence and contextual information are obtained from different sources: i) STs in English and their translations into Spanish; ii) censorship records that have been carefully preserved to the present day;[7] iii) laws and norms regulating the application of censorship (Gubern, 1981); iv) old publishing catalogues updated by present-day publishing houses; v) occasionally, information supplied by witnesses or the recollections of their families (Martínez de la Hidalga, et al., 2000, pp. 175-182). All of this information has been fed into the TRACE database in order to build a parallel English-Spanish corpus of source and translated narrative, drama and film material. Eventually, poetry will be added to the database. The contextual and preliminary[8] evidence recorded in the official ‘censorship records’ (expedientes de censura) yield information mostly about overt official censorship and provide tentative explanations for textual behaviour found in more advanced stages of the analysis. These data are also extremely useful in selecting corpus materials, because they help distinguish between genuine translations (Toury, 1995) and pseudotranslations.

The censorship records also give access to materials whose publication was not authorized, texts that were never published in Spain (expediente 2790-68;[9] H. Robbins). These ‘non-existent’ texts reveal as much about the motives and criteria underlying the decisions of the Censorship Boards as the systematic comparison of TTs and STs, particularly because they offer the possibility of checking the manuscript to identify topics and/or words that evaluators found unacceptable. Also revealing are the resubmitted manuscripts, cut or modified to comply with the Censorship Board’s requirements by the translator or publisher (expediente 2854-68, K. Luger; expediente 3571-66, V. Doran). The new manuscript, if favourably assessed, was the one that reached the readers. The ‘intermediate texts,’ hidden in the archives, are also significant in that they seem to suggest the lines along which the translators modelled their particular modes of self-censorship.

If we consider the period under study in light of our preliminary findings (Merino, 2000 and Rabadán 2000a), it becomes clear that Franco’s regime must be divided into at least two self-defined periods: the first one lasts roughly until the end of the fifties, the second starts when the new innovative group of politicians led by Minister Fraga arrived in 1962 at the Ministry for Information and Tourism and ends in 1985. The last years of the dictatorship (1970-1975) bore witness to unsuccessful attempts to regress to more conservative political attitudes. Franco’s regime and the structure that sustained it did not die with the dictator in 1975, but underwent drastic changes during the period of transition to democracy. In 1977, freedom of expression legislation was passed, followed in 1978 by legislation enshrining the freedom to perform in theatres. Formally, however, the bureaucratic machine that had so efficiently served censorship purposes survived until 1985 (after three years of Socialist government), giving way to the establishment of new bureaucratic structures in the newly established autonomous regions. During the period 1975-1985, which most researchers ignore, cultural products continued to be subjected to the same formal constraints by virtually the same government offices, although their names changed more than once: from censorship to “ordenación” to “calificación.”

3.i.a TRACE: Theatre

We will draw on theatre translations from the 60s,[10] showing some provisional results derived from the observation of regularities (Toury, 1997, p. 73) that emerged as the database files were being analysed. Among cultural manifestations likely to be subjected to control were all forms of public entertainment, in particular theatre performances and films. We will concentrate on theatre, one manifestation of what Martin Esslin (1987) has called the field of drama,[11] making occasional reference to cinema. From the beginning, the same office[12] filtered cinema and theatre thus confirming that the state subtly, though inadvertently, recognized that both cinema and theatre were essentially dramatic, something that scholars have yet to agree on. Film adaptations of plays do not require the same type of rewriting as do narrative texts. Dialogue can be easily transferred to the screen, frame[13] usually needing more rewriting, but this inherent double articulation of the dramatic text is present in plays and screenplays alike, as censors[14] who dealt with them separately seem to have realized. State censors considered more serious what was to be said on the screen than what was performed on stage.

Let us now distinguish between translation and adaptation. A Spanish version of a play to be performed on the Spanish stage originally written in a different language is a translation. Adaptation applies to an intralinguistic process of accommodation to new audiences (Spanish classical theatre texts were adapted to the modern stage), to the requirements of official censorship, or to the needs of a specific theatre group, producer or director. Official documents reflected this situation, devoting sections to author, translator and adapter, as did the Spanish Society of Authors for whom intellectual property over adaptations was always more important than over translations.

The study of censored plays in translation is the result of a thorough sampling of documents pertaining to theatre produced in the 1960s and filed in the censorship archives. All documents gathered were analysed and compiled in a database of approximately 350 entries of English-Spanish translations.[15] Each entry corresponds to one censorship record, identified by a specific number assigned when permission to perform the play was sought. After that, all documents, including the copies of the text under scrutiny, were filed under the same number. The process ended when a blue licence, or censorship card (guía), was issued subsequent to a positive evaluation. Most texts had to be modified and were subject to further revision on stage, which meant running the risk of a performance being cancelled. However, only a very small percentage of plays was banned.

Some of the behaviour we have documented leads us to note some patterns. It seems clear that self-censorship occurred before any text was submitted to censorship authorities and also that proposals were dealt with mainly by topic. In their zeal to protect Spanish audiences so that they would not become “contaminated,” censors examined potentially dangerous plots that relied too heavily on sex, religion or politics. Among ideas which were absolutely anathema were homosexuality and adultery. But potential or even previous success with foreign audiences would sometimes help a play overcome official objections. A recurrent and systemic counterargument invoked by the petitioner to justify the granting of a licence was a play’s success abroad, gauged, for example, by the number of prizes it had won. Still, changes to the play were usually required by the censors; translators and adapters would, in turn, censor themselves once again. Time and again we observe that, before submitting their texts, authors, translators and adapters manipulated them to accommodate the authorities, afterwards manipulating them again to comply with Censorship Board instructions. Other anti-Franco playwrights wrote in the aim of provoking a strong reaction to attract more supporters to their cause (Cramsie, 1978, p. 66).

Another important recurrent issue is the relationship between theatre and cinema: first, because some staged plays also reached the big screen; second, because this usually meant more success and impact. Some censors sat on both the theatre and the cinema Censorship Boards and information was readily exchanged between these offices. In fact, examples abound of censors arguing that since a specific play (or film) had been granted a licence, its film (or theatre) counterpart should be granted one as well.

Finally, we can affirm that theatrical life in the provinces was a well-established fact in the 60s. Both national and foreign plays, which had been staged in Madrid and Barcelona, toured the country. Theatre life was very active in Barcelona, but also in at least ten smaller cities throughout Spain. Large Madrid-based theatrical companies toured the country regularly, and local amateur groups staged plays that had been previously seen in the capital. Theatre was performed mostly in Spanish, but occasionally in the original language (English, French, Italian, German), and gradually with greater frequency in Catalan, and to a lesser extent in Basque and Galician (Merino, 2000). At the beginning of the 60s, it was not unusual for texts written in peninsular languages to be authorized. In these cases plot and potentially dangerous themes carried more weight than language, and Spanish was the intermediary language for translation from a foreign language into one of these languages.

3.i.b A brief guided tour to censored translations for the stage

The Spanish translation of a play by Graham Greene, The Complaisant Lover, will be the starting point of a short guided tour of the censorship of a drama translation in the 60s. Penned by a Catholic author, this play, which had been subjected to censorship in England,[16] is paradigmatic and had to be handed over to another pro-regime Catholic writer, José María Pemán, before it finally reached the stage in 1968.

The play premiered in London in August 1959; three years later the translator Alberto González-Vergel asked for permission to produce it in Madrid’s Teatro Alcazar. His petition was seen by three censors, members of the newly reorganized more progressive censorship board. After two negative reports and a positive one, the play was seen by the Vice-director; the petition was finally rejected, even after having taken into account the fact that the text depicted British rather than Spanish couples. A fairly unusual document is found in this record (expediente 299-62): a synopsis of the play, which indicates that the story, not the dialogue, was considered objectionable. González-Vergel asked for a revision arguing that the new board was known for its tolerance, adding that the play had been successful in all Catholic countries where it had been performed. After holding a plenary meeting, the board banned the play. Two years later, in 1965, an adaptation of González-Vergel’s text, signed by the Spanish writer José María Pemán, was submitted to the censorship board (expediente 238-65). Again it was banned by the majority of the board (ten votes to three). The General Director wrote to the minister to inform him of the result and to warn him that he might be subjected to external pressure. Three years later, Pemán asked for a review of the decision and rewrote the text to incorporate all of the changes demanded by the censors. The play was finally staged in 1968 and published in 1969. Both the stage performance and the published text, the only apparent artefacts of the play in Spanish culture, appear under the source author and the target author’s names, Greene and Pemán, respectively. For outsiders, Pemán is the adapter, possibly the translator, hired to lend his name, synonymous with power in the Spanish theatrical system, and to exert his influence in order to have the play performed. Although he holds the copyright[17] for the Spanish version of the play, Pemán is not the translator, advising his readers in the introduction to the edition that he would scarcely be able to hold a conversation with Greene in French, let alone in English, and that his role as adapter had been exaggerated.

The plot of the play, a ménage à trois, despite its English setting, was difficult for censors to accept. The official position was that adultery did not and could not exist in Spain, and the fact that the playwright was a Roman Catholic or that the play had been successful did not weigh much in its favour. The intermediate texts found in the censorship archives may help us to identify those changes that were deemed necessary to make the play acceptable. Most had to do with the ending of the play when the two principle male characters agree to share the woman. The ending is not deleted, rather it is toned down in such a way that the role of the husband is enhanced and the agreement less explicit. Cutting of words and expressions is the main technique used, additions of text helping to restructure the play and, together with small modifications, used to rephrase certain expressions, in order to introduce the changes required.

Another play whose plot the censors objected to was Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun, for at that time the official attitude to the glorious days of the Spanish conquest of Peru was the opposite of Shaffer’s exploration of the black legend. The play was banned repeatedly (expediente 3-69). Ironically, a foreign co-production of the film adaptation of this play was being shot at around the same time in Spain. Since the producers were not Spanish, authorities allowed the film to be shot provided it was not shown in Spain. The play was authorized in 1974, but it never did reach the stage, the producers abandoning the project. One year later, in 1975, another play by Shaffer, Equus, was authorized on condition that changes were made. However, the authorisation of male and female nudity on stage became immediately controversial, just one month before the death of Franco.

Another recurrent theme, homosexuality, was more systematically eliminated than adultery. Albee’s The Zoo Story is a case in point (expediente 75-63). When first submitted in 1963, it was banned. After making all of the changes to the text required by the censors, a licence was issued for one performance only in Teatros de Cámara y Ensayo, small experimental theatres registered as non-profit organizations that relied on membership. Each subsequent performance required a similar licence. Not until 1973 did authorities authorize the performance of the play in a commercial theatre.

Thanks to its huge success abroad and to a less “morally damaging” plot, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, also by Edward Albee, reached commercial stages in less than six months, after the adapter had made the modifications, few in number, and had toned down the indecent language as requested by censors (expediente 215-65). Negative reception in the press, in particular a newspaper article entitled “inexplicable spectacle,” helped the production gain even more in popularity. This, however, was symptomatic of the double standard of some censors (Gutiérrez-Lanza and Serrano, 2001). In a letter written by the General Director for Theatre and Cinema in reaction to the article that appeared in the same newspaper the following day, the author wrote that he was stunned to learn that the critic who had signed the article was a member of the censorship board that had authorized the production.

Success abroad helped in this case, for it was a counter-argument invoked on many occasions. In the wake of the successful Broadway production of the musical The Man from La Mancha, a preliminary document was sent to the authorities (expediente 231-66) arguing in favour of the potential of such a production which, they said, could be positive propaganda for Spain, if the musical were staged in Madrid just after its New York premiere. The negotiations were successful, in spite of certain objections to the treatment of the main character, Don Quixote, in the original script. The production was a box-office success. The same arguments did not help much when submitting to censors another musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, whose religious content was obvious. This play had to wait three years before it would reach the stage (expediente 605-72).

3.ii.a TRACE: Fiction

From the early forties to the early eighties, some six years after Franco’s death, the censorship boards reviewed all types of narrative materials that were submitted for publication on Spanish soil. The amount of data we have collected and analyzed show a regular pattern in the evaluation of works.

i) Works and authors ideologically congenial to the authorities were readily authorized for translation and subsequent publication;

ii) A second strategy that censors frequently applied was to divert attention by translating works that were ideologically “clean,” whose plots and settings were both mentally and physically distant, e.g., far-West novels, spy novels, sci-fi stories. This strategy helped create a distorted idea of other cultures, reinforced by the type of films seen on Spanish screens during the 50s, 60s and 70s.

iii) A third strategy was to publish translations conveniently “corrected” to suit the interests of both the regime and the Church. With varying degrees of stringency, the most frequently required corrections were cutting passages considered damaging to the regime or the Church, replaced by the addition of favourable comments, cleaning or toning down linguistic expressions (which obviously modified character presentation and perception), modifying morally ambiguous comments (which again distorted and changed the semantics of the text) and attenuating, if not outright cutting, erotic and sexual references of any type.

High literature was subjected to censorship if it was considered to be ideologically unsafe, something that was frequently decided on the basis of the original author’s reputation. As a result, writers such as Graham Greene had little trouble getting their works translated and published (sometimes with corrections), while authors such as Henry Miller were banned from bookstores for years. The most interesting phenomena, however, are to be found in the area of popular fiction, pulp fiction and bestsellers. This type of fiction yields a great number of texts, either through intercultural transfer or through intersemiotic translations.

3.ii.b Pseudotranslations (English-Spanish)

Popular fiction in translation clearly illustrates the type of ideologically clean texts favoured by censorship boards, although references to extreme violence or dirty language were frequently corrected. Generally, the characteristics of popular fiction in translation made it the ideal candidate to fill in the market slot of “entertainment narrative”: popular fiction in translation gained massive acceptance among the Spanish public because it made available to readers genres that they were already familiar with thanks to the very popular radio serial and the Sunday afternoon cinema; translations of popular fiction were also attractive, because they enjoyed the favour of audiences eager to consume new, foreign products (i.e., American products), that would give them an aura of modernity and would hint at an ideological opening from the authorities, and, most important, censors found them “safe,” which meant no delays in publishing authorizations, and no extra, expensive changes. In the mid-fifties, these sociological considerations, together with the fact that there was a growing market and a demand for this type of product, led publishing houses to chain produce popular novels as cheaply as possible. These stories were always presented as foreign, some of them classics: Zane Grey (expediente 1748-43), Karl May (expediente 6446-59), Washington Irving (expediente 5282-53), W. S. Maugham (expediente 149-67), H. P. Lovecraft (expediente 1951-66), J. Fenimore Cooper (expediente 2826-68), etc. An astonishing number of texts presented as translations, but written originally in Spanish by Spanish authors, were fictitious translations, i.e., pseudotranslations.

Imported texts represent a surprisingly high percentage of published popular fiction in Spain at the time. Suffice it to say that translated texts during the period covering the late 50s through to the early 80s represent 20-40% of all published materials in Castilian Spanish, though in the case of some genres, notably translated children’s literature in the late 70s the volume reached approximately 50% (Fernández López, 2000, p. 227). Why are pseudotranslations important to our analysis? First, pseudotranslations reinforced the presence and distribution of imported textual models among Spanish readers. Second, pseudotranslations attest to the prestige and acceptance of (certain) imported materials, showing the current attitudes towards translation in the recipient context. Third, they reproduce, even clone, textual characteristics of the source genre and they incorporate language features generally associated with translations of that genre into Spanish. Cloning results in target reader recognition of a “restricted code” typical of translated pulp that does not exist in indigenous Spanish literature and that is not used outside this genre, either in print or on the screen. In short, pseudotranslations adopt the prototypical features of non-native, translated texts into Spanish and are intended to pass as imported materials.

These fictitious translations added external characteristics to textual cloning that helped potential readers identify them as foreign: the covers, very often partial reproductions of film posters or film scenes, the name of the author, always a pen name and Anglophone, e.g., Silver Kane, Tex Taylor, Keith Luger, Donald Curtis, Glen Parrish, men and women whose real names were Francisco González Ledesma, Miguel Oliveros Tovar, Teresa Núñez (Rabadán, 2000a, pp. 266-267). Censorship records show that censorship boards and administrators knew who was who in real life, although this information was never released. Our analysis of pseudotranslations reveals that 98.4% of all manuscripts submitted were authorized, and an insignificant 0.7% had to undergo corrections and cuts, generally in the areas of violence, sex and vulgarity. Records and statistics show that those in power enforced external censorship by favouring the publication of these pseudotranslations, and the records also indicate that self-censorship was broadly practised and that writers (pseudotranslators) had instructions incorporated into their creative behaviour as a way to pass through ideological and ‘decency’ controls, which accounts for the high degree of acceptance of the manuscripts submitted.

3.ii.c Translated narrative and intersemiotic chains English-Spanish

The pseudotranslation phenomenon proves that translation was broadly accepted and that it enjoyed prestige and acceptance among Spanish readers at the time. Why this was so and why pseudotranslations became such an important textual mode are linked to the second salient phenomenon revealed by TRACE records: the creation of intersemiotic and intertextual chains through translation. In 1941 Franco passed a law declaring that Castilian was the sole language of translation and that all films had to be dubbed (Gutiérrez-Lanza, 2000, pp. 24-27). Much of the textual production of fiction in Castilian Spanish was part of a kind of “chain process” that started with massive film dubbing during the 60s and 70s, the interlinguistic translation of fiction and the direct or indirect cloning of this narrative model in Spanish through pseudotranslating (Serrano-Fernández, 2001, pp. 14-23).

Pseudotranslation was possible on such a massive scale because readers were already familiar with the textual format, the prototypical characters, the language, the situations and, obviously, the genre. During the period of brutal ideological and cultural repression that followed the Civil War, familiarity with popular fiction was acquired though imported films, nearly always dubbed films.[18] This fact created a kind of shared universe of discourse that did not exist outside these stories, either in print or on the screen, and this was the basis for the dissemination and development of imported narrative. There are chains that move across textual mode boundaries (e.g., film and fiction). From Here to Eternity, the novel by James Jones,[19] was first turned into a film (US, 1953, F. Zinemman), later dubbed into Spanish. According to our records, the novel was first translated into Spanish in 1979. A source-language novel can inspire a source television series, then be dubbed into Spanish and presented in a serial format or as a popular novel in the target language, e.g., the Ironside series or the intersemiotic derivation chain starting with E. R. Burroughs’ Tarzan that inspired both sequels and purely intertextual texts, of the type analysed in Simon (1999). The patterns are multiple and they seem to behave differently depending on the primary text from which they are derived. For popular fiction, the chains tend to be longer and to persist over time by means of the well-calculated reproduction of the model in the target system, a type of “symbiotic text” (Cowart, 1993, pp. 13) for which there is no original.

3.ii.d “Popular” and “high” literature in translation[20]

Interlinguistic and intersemiotic behaviour is different when the primary text is a prestigious work. Although the mechanisms are the same, the way they are applied and the final results are different. For literary texts, the recurrent pattern seems to be from written text to film in the source system, each of these “original texts” taken to be true originals and translated into Spanish accordingly. Data do not reveal cloned texts, pseudotranslations or sequels of any type in the target system. This is also true for children’s and juvenile literature, whose derivative texts tend to take the form of screen adaptations and their translations into Spanish, with no “extra” derivations.

Of interest is that both textual groups, translated popular and prestigious texts, undergo a “perception” change in the Spanish recipient system. Popular original texts were destined for a broad, even mass, readership looking for entertainment. Because of the prestigious, progressive and “open” characteristics frequently attributed to foreign products at the time, popular fiction in translation often became temporarily “prestigious.” And the contrary is true in the case of texts that were considered prestigious in the source language. Transference to the screen and subsequent translation turned a novel originally targeting a specific reader into a text for a general readership that had acquired intertextual knowledge through the screen version. In terms of reception, prestigious source-language texts were transformed into popular translated texts whenever intersemiotic sequencing was in operation.

What do these two phenomena have to do with translation and censorship? Both pseudotranslation and intersemiotic chains were fundamental procedures that catered to the needs of the readership market, introducing new textual materials into the Spanish system, a function traditionally performed by translation. Translated fiction was part of an intertextual and semiotic sequence that used actual translated texts as a kind of intermediary translation between the source text and culture and the cloned derivation that constituted the end of the process or as the initiator of a new textual chain composed exclusively by this type of cloned derived texts (Rabadán, 2001, pp. 38-39). In turn, a pseudotranslation could be the input to or the initial text of a new intertextual chain; in either case, the important thing was the genre and the models previously introduced to the recipient society through some type of interlinguistic translation.

The answer to the question of whether these phenomena are exclusive to a censored context is both affirmative and negative. Abundant pseudotranslation seems to have been peculiar to that period and to the entertainment and publishing industry in Spain. The motivation was, however, not strictly ideological or political, rather economic. It made sense for publishing houses to pay a native Spanish writer to produce these popular stories for two basic reasons: first, they could easily censor their own writing thus ensuring that what was submitted to the censorship board would be authorized; second, it was cheaper and the room to manoeuvre was greater. The relative tolerance of Franco’s censorship boards is explained by the fact that a fair number of these pseudotranslators had been officers in the Republican Army, and they, alongside obscure bureaucrats, shared this professional sideline (Antón, 1999). Intersemiotic chains persist, however, in the non-censored, democratic context that emerged in Spain after Franco’s death. The types of derivation materials are, however, different: there are no interlinguistic sequels, so the scale of the chain is smaller, and new chains are the same as everywhere else in the West. What remains different is the way we can relate these new texts to our previous textual tradition, a difference that becomes weaker and more and more blurred as time goes by.

Translation phenomena in narrative translation are far from anecdotal during the period under study, and translators successfully dealt for nearly forty years with censorship boards, as the percentage of reports granting an “accepted for publication” decision shows. Both pseudotranslations and intersemiotic chains make use of translation or are the consequence of the massive successful translation of certain text genres by an ideologically-controlled society. TRACE data show, however, that neither is exclusive to a censored context. What seems to be typical of this period is the prevalence of pseudotranslating as an accepted form of (inter)textual production, a form that is no longer a significant part of present-day practices in Spain.

4. Conclusion

In our approach it is essential to avoid a priori selection criteria when choosing texts and submitting them to close analysis. To work within the context of translation in Franco’s Spain means proceeding from catalogues to corpus[21] and then on to textual comparison in search of censorship-induced changes and their consequences on meaning. The most outstanding characteristic of Franco’s overt official censorship was its vagueness. There was no explicit formulation of what to ban and what to tolerate, so decisions would often depend on the composition of the boards of censors and their degree of ideological conviction. As for the type of textual material most frequently censored in Spain,[22] it seems not to have been very different from the type of material occasionally censored in democratic countries. Consider for example, Lord Chamberlain’s forced authorization in the United Kingdom and the Hays Code for Pictures in the United States. Political censorship under a fascist regime seems to follow a pattern particular to its ideological underpinnings. Another type of external censorship whose influence on translation and text production is independent of the political system governing the recipient culture is economic (or market) censorship, that may take the form of government subsidies—a type of censorship particularly active in Spain from the 1960s through the 1980s and effective in promoting translation from certain languages and literatures and into the official languages of Spain (not only Castilian).

The situation is no different for self-censorship. What to do and what not to do is information internalized by the translator and transformed into professional norms dictating behaviour. During Franco’s time, what was specific to self-censorship was the type of restrictions or instruction-like behaviour developed by translators in order to accommodate their texts to recipient context ideological conditions to ensure the publication or the performance of their translations. And the fact that authors, translators, pseudotranslators and adapters were basically rewriters working under weighty political and bureaucratic constraints proves that they were to some extent free to change the course of culture at more than one level. This became clear as Spain slowly withdrew from Franco’s dictatorship, transforming itself into a democracy; rewriters were felt to be less necessary and became redundant,[23] the culture that hosted them becoming less rich and variegated.