In Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction novel, Gomorrah, the ceaseless saga of Naples’ organised crime is unveiled to a considerable number of readers through its translation into more than thirty languages. The English edition, translated by Virginia Jewiss, was published in 2007, partly censored due to British libel laws. Literary critics and reviewers in the UK have widely acclaimed Saviano’s talent in depicting the corruption plaguing Naples’ gloomy and degraded hinterland, though the English version of his book has been described by some as stilted and “over-literal” (The Economist, 2008), at times inadequate to render Saviano’s fragmented and dramatic style. The socio-cultural context portrayed in Gomorrah is naturally distant from the one shared by the experiences of the English-speaking readership: the text is widely populated by culture-bound concepts and evoked meanings, which further complicates the whole translation process. Through a contrastive analysis of the Italian and English version of the exposé, this preliminary study aims at exploring the strategies employed in translating the voices and deeds of Naples’ mobsters, as well as the socio-economic setting underlying the lawless tales of Camorra (from which the book’s title originates its bitter play on words). With reference to types of non-equivalence between the two language versions under examination, particular attention is devoted to strategies of cultural substitution, reduction, deletion or generalization (Malone 1988; Baker 1992; Fawcett 1997) used to overcome lack of specificity in the target language. For the purpose of the language analysis, particular relevance is given to instances in which, in relation to the reader’s ‘implied’ background information, the target text does not provide an appropriate elaboration of the intertextual references presented in the source text. The paper thus aims at investigating the “framing function of translation” (Baker 2006) and the way it affects the representation and the perception of the cultural scenario in which ‘otherness’ is embedded.

“Italy’s Other Mafia”: a Journey into Cross-Cultural Translation

CALIENDO, GIUDITTA
2010

Abstract

In Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction novel, Gomorrah, the ceaseless saga of Naples’ organised crime is unveiled to a considerable number of readers through its translation into more than thirty languages. The English edition, translated by Virginia Jewiss, was published in 2007, partly censored due to British libel laws. Literary critics and reviewers in the UK have widely acclaimed Saviano’s talent in depicting the corruption plaguing Naples’ gloomy and degraded hinterland, though the English version of his book has been described by some as stilted and “over-literal” (The Economist, 2008), at times inadequate to render Saviano’s fragmented and dramatic style. The socio-cultural context portrayed in Gomorrah is naturally distant from the one shared by the experiences of the English-speaking readership: the text is widely populated by culture-bound concepts and evoked meanings, which further complicates the whole translation process. Through a contrastive analysis of the Italian and English version of the exposé, this preliminary study aims at exploring the strategies employed in translating the voices and deeds of Naples’ mobsters, as well as the socio-economic setting underlying the lawless tales of Camorra (from which the book’s title originates its bitter play on words). With reference to types of non-equivalence between the two language versions under examination, particular attention is devoted to strategies of cultural substitution, reduction, deletion or generalization (Malone 1988; Baker 1992; Fawcett 1997) used to overcome lack of specificity in the target language. For the purpose of the language analysis, particular relevance is given to instances in which, in relation to the reader’s ‘implied’ background information, the target text does not provide an appropriate elaboration of the intertextual references presented in the source text. The paper thus aims at investigating the “framing function of translation” (Baker 2006) and the way it affects the representation and the perception of the cultural scenario in which ‘otherness’ is embedded.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/366597
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