Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Poems about translation 16: Traduzioni da Torquato Tasso

For our next Poem About Translation, here is a piece of gamery by the writer and critic Guido Almansi (who turns out to have been a lecturer, among other places, in the city of my birth at University College Dublin, and at my formerformer place of work in Norwich - who knew??).

It's called 'Traduzioni da Torquato Tasso' and is from Imimitazioni (Cooperativa scrittori, Roma, 1974). You can read the full text here.

'Gerusalemme liberata' works so well, for me, because it draws on very everyday translation practices and shifts to achieve its purpose - it plays with cognates, with word-for-word translation, with collocation, with rhyme, with ambiguity and misunderstanding. And it only cheats sometimes.

For more of this sort of thing, see the 'Mistraduzioni' in Almansi's marvellous book Maramao (Longanesi, 1989) (but be warned, those of a prudish disposition may wish to steer clear). My favourite part is the dedication:
A David O’C., studente di primo anno a University College, Dublino, che gloriosamente mistradusse le prime due parole degli Indifferenti di Alberto Moravia, “Entrò Carla”, con “He entered Carla”.
[For David O'C., first-year student at University of College, Dublin, who gloriously mistranslated the first two words of Alberto Moravia's Gli Indifferenti, “Entrò Carla” [Carla came in] as "He entered Carla".
Photo from with thanks.

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