Presentation at the Conference for “Werkgroep voor de Zeventiende Eeuw” in Nijmegen, 29 August 2015.

On the 29th of August, Kim Jautze gave a talk about an article she has written with two co-authors (Leonor Álvarez Francés and Frans Blom) for the journal De Zeventiende Eeuw [https://zeventiendeeeuw.wordpress.com/]. In this article, which will be published in the edition of December 2015, the authors examine the translation process of Spanish plays for the Amsterdamse Schouwburg in the Golden Age. In order to gain more insight in the production process, the authors combined qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Illustration of the Amsterdamse Schouwburg in the Golden Age

Information about the plays that were performed on the Amsterdamse Schouwburg has been preserved very carefully by the Amsterdam City Archives [https://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl/english/home.en.html]. For every play day since the opening of the Schouwburg in 1638 information is preserved about the play dates, the total amount of times a certain play was performed, the writer (and/or translator) of the play, the actors who performed it, the revenue, etc . All this data has been digitized on the website of ONSTAGE [http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/onstage/index.php]: the Online Datasystem of Theatre in Amsterdam in the Golden Age. (Please note that the website might still be under construction, but it will be launched very soon). The database can be enquired for many different kinds of research questions and is a gold mine for historians, literary scholars or anyone who is has an interest in seventeenth century cultural life in Amsterdam.

Illustration: The list of actors who performed Gedwongen vrient (1646), the translation of Lope de Vega’s El amigo por fuerza , on 29th of August 1658. This page is coming from “Parsonaajeboek Anno 1658” and is preserved in het Stadsarchief Amsterdam: Archief van het Burgerweeshuis 367A, Exploitatie van de Schouwburg, no. 429, fol . 15. This kind of information is being digitized in ONSTAGE.

In the case-study about the translation process Jautze, Álvarez and Blom have combined data-analysis in ONSTAGE with network analysis and the analysis of the paratexts (such as dedications) in the published plays. The combination of a qualitative and quantitative approach made it possible to visualize and interpret the collaborations of all parties involved in the production process.


Jautze et al. identified the initiators and four different translator profiles. For instance, actors (abbreviated by AD in the network visualization) were involved in the translation process, which employed certain adaptation- and dedication techniques that differ from those of the Schouwburg Regents (SD) who also translated some plays, or from those of the so-called “peripheral” poets (PD). This last group is designated as “peripheral” because these poets don’t have primary relationships with the Theatre, only with people involved in the Theatre. Dedication techniques, as well as initiators and certain very important central figures in the translation process (such as a translator who until recently has received only little attention) can be identified by reading the paratexts, such as the one showed below.


The study of Jautze, Álvarez and Blom shows how certain patterns of the cultural transfer in the Spanish translation process, or in any other area of interest, can be exposed when one zooms out, and combines a qualitative analysis with quantitative measures.