[Translation in Society 1:1] 2022
► pp. 65–82
The ideological incommensurability of the worldviews or master narratives represented by the two opposing superpowers during the Cold War and embodied in the image of an impenetrable iron curtain gave particular salience to translation theory while also questioning the very possibility of translation. At the same time, the neoimperialist projects of the two superpowers produced startlingly similar approaches to the instrumentalization of translation as a vehicle for propaganda and diplomacy. Presenting polarization as a distinct state of semiosis, the effects of which are highly unpredictable, this article explores the various ways in which the radical polarization of the Cold War shaped the theory and practice of translation both within and across the ideological divide. Plotting the entanglements of the light and dark sides of translation during this time challenges traditional histories of the field that construe the period as one of progress and liberation.