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  • A Russian lesson for the twenty-first century

    A clash of the author’s and the translator’s worlds in the Russian translation of Yuval Harari’s

  • Author(s): Sergiy Sydorenko1
  • View Affiliations Hide Affiliations
  • Source: Babel
    Available online: 19 July 2022
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.00271.syd
    • Received: 02 Aug 2020
    • Accepted: 19 Jan 2022
    • Version of Record published : 19 Jul 2022

Abstract

Abstract

In 2019, Yuval Harari, an Israeli historian and bestselling author, appeared in the center of a media debate provoked by the discovery of considerable differences between the English text of his and its Russian translation. A comparative study of the English and Russian texts of the book featured in this paper revealed five major issues which turned out to be sensitive for the Russian censorship, namely, homosexuality, liberalism, U.S.S.R.–U.S. “tug-of-war,” Putin and Putin’s Russia, and Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and Georgia. It is in the presentation of these topics that Yuval Harari’s English text suffered essential transformation and reduction in the Russian edition. The conducted analysis contributes to the long-lived debate about the author’s and the translator’s responsibility before their readers, and the boundaries, beyond which mutilation of the source text no longer allows regarding the resulting text as a translation. The author argues that the escalating information wars targeted at people’s minds in the twenty-first century impose ever-increasing requirements to authors and translators of such books as Yuval Harari’s in terms of intellectual integrity and professional ethics.

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/content/journals/10.1075/babel.00271.syd
2022-07-19
2022-08-12
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