Home Language & Literature The Age of Translation: Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates
The Manchester Guardian staff
During the interwar period most of the Manchester Guardians staff was permanently placed in the European capitals despite the newspaper’s fragile financial situation. From 1920 until 1933, Frederick Voigt provided the news from Berlin (Ayerst 501). Voigt, politically left of centre, was a keen journalist and rather outspoken in his dislike of the National Socialist People’s Party (NSDAP) who had started to conquer the German political stage at the end of the 1920s (Gannon 80). It is not confirmed, though likely, that this outspokenness made it necessary for him to leave Berlin for Paris in 1933. His substitute was Alexander Werth. Of Jewish descent, he was treated less favourably in a climate of rising anti-Semitism. As a result, it soon became difficult for him to obtain the relevant information to write informative reports about events in Germany (Ayerst 511). Concerned for Werth’s security, Crozier advised his correspondent to take up office in Paris (ibid.). In order to provide information from the German capital, Voigt returned to Berlin for a brief period of time and under strict orders to minimise risk (ibid.). Back in Paris, he recommenced writing critical articles about Germany, only to be forced to leave the city in 1934 when French authorities informed him that the German Gestapo had been given orders to assassinate him (Gannon 81). He went on to become the paper’s first diplomatic correspondent in London. Unknown to the German authorities, and owing to the vast network of contacts he had established during his Berlin years, Voigt continued to run an underground network that gathered first-hand information about the political developments in the totalitarian state (Ayerst 514). Nevertheless, Voigt’s and Werth’s situations make it clear that the National Socialist (NS) government rigidly restricted access to information. If the translation flows between Germany and other countries were not interrupted, they were at the very least disturbed.
Croizer had not delayed in sending a new correspondent to Berlin. Lambert replaced Voigt in 1933 and would stay there up until the outbreak of the Second World War. In contrast to the keen, self-driven Voigt, Lambert appears to have been “naturally phlegmatic” and Crozier had to constantly remind him of his duties (Gannon 78). One example occurred in September 1937 when Lambert scheduled a holiday despite the pending Nuremberg Rally, with Crozier complaining in a telegram: “If I had known the dates of the congress sooner, I would have certainly asked you to change because it is very much the week during which we need your personal services” (Crozier to Lambert 01/09/1937). While Lambert eventually made it to the congress, he was struck by a sudden illness that made it impossible for him to attend. It seems that rather mundane things such as a foreign correspondent’s lack of enthusiasm or health problems may considerably impede the translation flow in the fast-paced realm of the mass media.
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