07/09/2012 - Translation slam

Louis Sachar con Flora Bonetti e Laura Cangemi


Le regole non sono cambiate. Come lo scorso anno, uno scrittore straniero offre la materia del contendere, ovvero una pagina o un brano di una sua opera ancora non tradotta in italiano. Due dei suoi traduttori accettano la sfida, e si impegnano a produrne una versione da sottoporre all'autore in occasione dell'incontro. Saranno l'autore stesso - e il pubblico - a decretare il vincitore, se un vincitore ci sarà. Ma più di tutto appassionerà la sfida, che permetterà di affrontare "dal vivo" i problemi legati al passaggio da una lingua all'altra e di riconoscere il lavoro di ogni autore (e traduttore) sulla parola.

English version not available


Translating a text, regardless of its genre, is always an extremely hard task, particularly so when one deals with literary texts where the possibilities of interpretations are many and where the target language does not have terms matching the source language. On such occasions, translators become themselves writers and are responsible for the emotions that readers derive from a text, because seemingly trivial things such as the choice of a tense can dramatically change the way a text will be perceived. In today's translation slam Flora Bonetti and Laura Cangemi experimented with the translation of an unpublished story by an American author Louis Sachar, the author of various children's books. "She would not let go of the ball" is the story of a game amongst a few boys, poised between enjoyment and bullism, written as part of a collection of short stories "Sideways Stories for Wayside School", although it was then rejected by the publisher. Already in the translation of the title, which became "Non c'è verso che mollasse la palla" (no way he would let go of the ball) by Flora Bonetti and of "Non voleva mollare la palla" (she did not want to let go of the ball) by Laura Cangemi, two main problematic aspects of translation emerge. The need to keep the original rhythm and the useless struggle between faithfulness and unfaithfulness. So, while Flora endorses the rhythmical approach, Laura tries to convey the double significance of the English: not only did she not want to let go of the ball, he could not. The translators' choices raised a heated debate amongst members of the audience who asked for explanations and expressed their opinions. The word "ciumbia!" (blimey!) was a big bone of contention. Each member of the audience had a different opinion, which testifies to the fact that translating is never an easy task and a one-to-one correspondence hardly ever exists.

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