Translation and censorship, with special reference to Jordan
Al-Hamad, Mohammad Qasem
Although studies of censorship in the literary and legal fields can be found, those dealing with censorship and translation in the West are very few. In the Arab world, the situation is no different from that of the West. Studies of censorship are rarely found and probably those dealing with censorship and translation are non-existent. This very fact itself shows the subtle ways in which censorship works. The thesis presents a range of issues that illustrate censorship. These include, a general history of censorship which aims at understanding how censorship works; defining it; knowing what is censored and why; tracing the changes in the forms of censorship, its impact on people, and its influence on the translated media and literature. Four translations are taken as case studies for this thesis. Only one is translated into English; the rest are translated into Arabic. They consist of two political works (a book and a political document), one novel, and one play. These were chosen as examples of the three main areas of censorship: politics (the state), religion and morals. An attempt is made to analyse these four case studies at macro and micro levels with the support of illustrations. The thesis benefits from interviews carried out during field research in Jordan between June and September 1999. Among the interviewees were politicians, journalists, a Judge, the Christian member of the Board of Censors in the Department of Press and Publication (DPP), and artists. The thesis also benefits from an unpublished confidential document of books in Arabic banned between 1955 and 1987.