Translating gender-based violence documentaries: Listening ethically to the voices of survivors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Awareness of Gender Based Violence (thereafter GBV) is growing worldwide with increased coverage in the media (news, cinema, social media, television etc.). Accounts of GBV therefore reach us in different ways, for instance the story of a survivor comes to us in a film, novel, autobiography or a documentary. The primary aim of this chapter is to encourage research on the translation of GBV documentaries. It is a call for research that actively listens to the way voices of women who have suffered abuse are translated into other languages, in subtitled and voice-over versions. My wider research project eventually aims to ascertain what role translation and translators should play in this particular context and which translation modes might be seen as most ethical. This chapter provides background information on GBV and explains the reasons why it is important to research this area. In the first part, GBV is defined and the reasons behind choosing documentaries for research are presented. The second part offers a reflection on the translation of trauma with a focus on the ethical role of translation and translators. Then, the general translation situation of the documentary genre is introduced and the reasons why it is essential to investigate how the voices of survivors are translated in this context are presented further. It is ultimately claimed that translation of GBV material should be encouraged more since sharing the stories, or voices, of women who have survived abuse can be seen as an attempt to transmit their messages further and break the circle of isolation victims of GBV experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Translation and Social Practices
EditorsMeng Ji, Sara Laviosa
Place of PublicationOxford; New York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190067205
ISBN (Print)9780190067205
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2020

Publication series

NameOxford Handbook Series


  • documentary
  • voice
  • gender-based violence
  • subtitling
  • voice-over
  • ethics


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