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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow The Age of Translation: Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates
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The main bibliographical sources

Possibly the most valuable source used by the author in compiling information on theatre translations produced in Estado Novo has been the archival series on theatre censorship files stored at the National Archives of the Torre do Tombo and the Archives of the National Theatre Museum, both based in Lisbon. Since all theatre performances were subject to censorship by law from 1927 onwards, on the basis of the censorship reports in existence, it is possible to reconstruct an almost all-embracing corpus of theatre translations produced in the era.

The site of the National Archives is available via internet access, and although only a very limited number of censorship reports on theatrical plays have been digitalized so far, the online content page of the files includes basic information on the submitted theatrical proposal such as the title of the play; year of submission; author’s name; genre of the performance; information on whether it is a translation or not; if a translation, the mode of translation (translation, free translation, adaptation, imitation or version); translator’s name; the censors’ decision (whether the play was banned, approved or approved with modifications); and finally the name of the theatre and of the theatre company.[1]

The archival series Processos de censura a pegas de teatro [theatre censorship processes] contains 9,225 censorship files issued between 1929 and 1974. A great number of these files are still missing, which hinders research to a great extent. Fortunately, several censorship reports missing from the Archives are stored at the National Theatre Museum, or can be located elsewhere.[2] Further research difficulties may arise from the fact that a large number of the reports disclose information neither on the author nor on the translator or, in the majority of cases, indicate the Portuguese translator as author, which occasionally makes it impossible to determine whether the dramatic work in question is a translated or original work without additional and time-consuming research.

The online database of the research project TETRA Theatre and Translation Towards a History of Theatre Translation in Portugal, 1800-2009 proved to be the most helpful secondary source consulted in this study. The TETRAbase currently holds 5,950 records on theatre translations produced in Portugal[3] - both for stage and page, which makes it the largest collection on the subject. The research project is coordinated by Manuela Carvalho[4] and housed at the Centre for Comparative Studies, University of Lisbon. The database also draws on theatre censorship reports, but relies on other relevant sources such as public and private libraries, theatre company and venue archives, radio and television network archives, and publishers’ catalogues.[5]

The information provided by the TETRA records is structured on three levels: (1) information on the target text: translator, year of publication, performance, and broadcast, in(directness), language of mediation (if applicable) and the mode of translation; (2) information on the source text: author, original title, genre, and the source language; (3) information on reception: medium (stage, TV, radio, or publication), format and the physical location of the translation consulted (M. Carvalho 49).

CETbase is also an online research database on the Portuguese theatre history. The project is the result of extensive research conducted by the members of the Centre for Theatre Studies at the University of Lisbon, and coordinated by Maria Helena Serodio.[6] The database contains detailed information on (1) performances staged in Portugal (title, premier or performance date and location), (2) theatre persons (playwright, translator, director, actor, designers, dancer, musician, and technician), (3) theatre institutions (company and other agencies) (4) theatre venue, (5) event, and (6) the original drama text. Researchers can also search by source country and language as well as by the original title of the playtext.

  • [1] http://digitarq.dgarq.gov.pt/details?id=4314364 (accessed 15/03/2016).
  • [2] The Portuguese politician, Jose Pacheco Pereira’s internet blog also contains a handfulof records, which are believed to have belonged to the collection of the National Archives previously. See: http://ephemerajpp.com/category/arquivo/arquivo-da-censura/(accessed 15/03/2016).
  • [3] As of 15 March, 2016.
  • [4] Manuela Carvalho is a researcher at the Centre for Comparative Studies, Faculty ofArts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon. She is currently the coordinator ofCEC’s research group THELEME (interarts and intermedia studies) and the principalinvestigator of two research projects, both in the area of theatre, translation and performance studies.
  • [5] For more information on the project, see: http://tetra.letras.ulisboa.pt/tetra/en/apresentacao (accessed 15/03/2016).
  • [6] Helena Serodio is Professor Emerita at the Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon andalso former director of the Centre for Theatre Studies of the University of Lisbon. Shehas published widely on Portuguese, English and American drama as well as on comparative studies and theatre studies. She is also a founding member of the PortugueseAssociation of Theatre Critics.
 
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