by Monireh Mohammadi The task of translation is usually a task of mediation between two languages and two cultures. In other words, unless the task is the literal translation of words alone, it is almost always a task of cultural translation. Cultural translation arises from the fact that a translator is first an active reader. This means that active reading, grasping the meaning of the text, entering into the spirit of the work, interpretation, and finally the desire to let others know of the richness of the text at hand are prior to the task of translation itself. These activities transform the work into an act of strong cultural mediation that often takes place within a social and ideological framework.
While I was reading Jack Holland's History of Misogyny - and I read it several times before committing myself to its translation - I was inadvertently engaged in comparing the social status of Iranian women with the status of women in Western society and history that Holland accounted for in his book. My engagement in this cultural mediation and comparison led me to the conclusion that the one common thread that runs through all cultures is misogyny, regardless of the geographical borders in focus. This, I think, is an important fact that needs to be realized by all. Holland's Misogyny informs us about the common history of women, regardless of class, culture, or geographical location. My objective for this translation, then, is to make Holland's critical and well-researched book available to the Persian reader who, I think, would benefit from it by learning about the experiences of women in other societies - experiences that are all too similar to those of the Iranian women.
Monireh Mohammadi is the Persian translator of Jack Holland's History of Misogyny. She is currently undertaking graduate studies in cultural studies and critical theory at York University in Toronto.