“La Belgique vivra-t-elle?”: Language and Translation Ideological Debates in Belgium (1919-1940)
Abstract. Although there are numerous studies on language ideologies, the role of translation in the historical production and reproduction of language ideologies remains relatively undocumented at present. Translation studies, by contrast, does address issues of ideology and power but only seldom in relation to language policy in multilingual societies. Translation, however, is an inherent part of linguistic ideological battles, and the historiography of translation policy and strategy (both at the macro-and micro-levels) significantly contributes to our understanding of language policy, as well as language ideology, and their link with nation, race, class, etc. In this study, the Belgian case is used to illustrate the role of translation in the production and reproduction of language ideologies in a multilingual context. The paper provides a short historical overview of the role of translation in shaping institutional and discursive power mechanisms in Belgium and deals more extensively with the functions of translation strategies in the production and reproduction of language ideologies in politically sensitive documents in interwar Belgium (1919-1940).