(Para)translated ideologies in Simone de Beauvoir's 'Le deuxième sexe': the (para)translator's role

Olga Castro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


At the beginning of the 80s new approaches to translation were emerging in such a way that, in the global context of postmodernism and poststructuralism, they provoked a reassessment of Translation Studies (TS), acknowledging ideologies as a relevant concept to TS and considering the political and visible role of the translator. This introduction aims to establish a basic theoretical framework in which we can develop an analysis of the ‘alterations’ that, consciously or unconsciously, translators have imposed on Le deuxième sexe (1949, Gallimard) by Simone de Beauvoir for the last fifty years. Furthermore, it is essential to examine the divergences of the censoring attitude adopted by the first male translators (Parshley, Palant and Milliet) who considered this text to be a sex manual, and the one adopted by more recent female translators (Martorell and Simons) who considered it to be a philosophical book on feminism. Nevertheless, despite this tendency to consider that translators are the only professionals responsible for the translation process, it is necessary to bear in mind the work carried out by the paratranslator, who is the real censor and ‘decider’ of the way a work is presented to the translation community. Paratranslators work with paratexts (also known as ‘analysis-spaces’), and this makes it possible to study the ideological adaptation that a cultural object undergoes when it is incorporated into a new culture and society (covers, volumes, tables of contents, titles, iconic or visual elements and so forth). In short, the analysis of the texts and paratexts of Le deuxième sexe, along with its subsequent translations and rewritings into Spanish, Portuguese and English, will help reveal the function of the censoring apparatus and demonstrate the essential role that –without exception– ideologies play in the professional work of translation and paratranslation, since they have a decisive influence on the reception of the cultural (and ideological) object, in both the society in which it is created and that in which it is received.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslation and Censorship in Different Times and Landscapes
EditorsTeresa Seruya, Maria Lin Moniz
Place of PublicationNewcastle
PublisherCambridge Scholars
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781847184740
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008


  • translation and paratranslation
  • ideology in (para)translation
  • sexism in translation
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Le deuxième sexe
  • gender approaches to translation


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