Intersemiotic Translation and Censorship in Catalan Poetry: Minority Language Marginalization in Francoist Spain


  • Liza Siamer SFU


Intersemiotic translation, Catalan poetry, Jacint Verdaguer, Salvador Espriu, Censorship, Minority languages


Translation has undeniably enhanced cross-cultural exchanges in times of political repression. This essay aims to demonstrate the politicization of translation in Francoist Spain and the degree to which intersemiotic translation influenced the linguistic practice of translation in Catalonia. First, I will be looking at intersemiotic translation as a tool that allows a text to escape the repressive language policies imposed by the Francoist regime while preserving its underlying meaning. My essay will focus on Jacint Verdaguer’s intersemiotic translation of the poem “L’emigrant” and Salvador Espriu’s poem “inici de cantic en el temple” and analyze the ways in which the poets erase themselves from the literary landscape in order for the poem to survive censorship. I will be looking at the biblical allusions used and the recontextualization of the poems in different time periods. The next section presents the success of intersemiotic translation in bringing engaging a transnational dialogue and epitomizing the politicization of translation. In the case of Catalan, the use of intersemiotic translation sets the tone for the language-power relationship reinforced by the Francoist repression. Finally, my paper rethinks translation in its practice to compensate for the minority status of Catalan and the potential aesthetic concerns arising from this need to translate to preserve a language from disappearing.