Lingua inglese II - appunti prof Wardle
Cultural differences – Do you fancy a coffee? Ti va un caffè?
Coffee shop > order at the counter (bancone) > large cup/mug of coffee > sit
down > chat for half an hour
Bar > pay at till (cassa) > order at counter > small cup/glass of coffee > drink
standing up (5 minutes all)
Cicero, one of the first people to write about translation, distinguished between
word-to-word translation (literal translation) and free translation. He is interested
in style, enriching Latin literature. Every translation has a different purpose.
To drink like a fish: bere come una spugna.
Eugene Nida talks about formal equivalence or dynamic equivalence, that is,
you have to create the same effect created by the original language text
with your translation.
Rhythm (poetry, song, slogan), laughter (e.g. introduce a new joke to create a
comical effect) and length (layout, that is the physical space you have, subtitle)
can influence the translation.
The lamb of God the seal of God
would probably be for Inuits, it is a cultural
dog and lead:
Metaphor – the dog can be close or not to its owner, it depends on
what we decide to privilege (original text or translation)
Giochi di parole – difficili da tradurre
The rabbit sends in a little Bill (Alice in Wonderland). Bill is the name of the lizard
but also « conto », in Italian is not a name.
Il coniglio presenta un conticino
Aldo Busi is one of the most famous Alice in Wonderland’s Italian translators. His
dog is a long way far from the original text. He is quite innovative in his solutions.
Senza Billyetto non si può entrare → faithful to the humour, not to literal
Mine is a long and sad tale, Tale tail
the mouse says that. is homophone of
When he says that, Alice thinks it is talking about his tail
It is a long tail, but why do you call it sad ?
On the page, the mouse’s tale has the shape of a tail
Upside down/back to front/inside out
La mia storia è lunga e triste
La mia storia è triste con una lunga coda it’s not particularly funny but it links the
joke and explains the shape of the tail
La mia storia è una lunga e triste coda 2
Il mio è un lungo codazzo di miserie we’ve been faithful to the homophone
elements to English that make sense in the original language but not in Italian
Schleiermacher (1813) – German theorist who writes about translation, his essay is
« On the different methods of translation » st
Basically, there are two different ways of translating, the 1 one is to move the
reader towards the author (e.g. reader towards Carroll)
Sir Williams and Lady Lucas, Pride and
1813 Schleiermacher doesn’t talk about
Prejudice but it was written in the same year of his essay. We can understand that
Sir Williams and Lady Lucas are probably rich people, he is William Lucas, his wife
has become Lady Lucas
Sir William e Lady Lucas,
Possible translation → avvicinare il lettore al mondo di
Jane Austen, leaving as much as possible as it was in the original text.
Other alternative suggested by Schleiermacher : move the author towards the
Don Guglielmo e Donna Lucas
Sir and Lady Don and Donna.
give us a different imagine from the one given by
This translation was made during Fascism, when there was censorship in
translation. Sir Lady
It depends on the couple of languages we are using : and are words that
have probably been heard various times by an Italian native speaker; but if they
were Japanese words, they would probably be unheard words. So, there is not a
standard rule, we have to consider the couple of languages.
Lawrence Venuti updates Schleiermacher’s theory
Reader >>> Author
Sir Williams e Lady Lucas
Venuti calls that → we’re preserving the different source text.
Author >>> Reader
Don Guglielmo e Donna Lucas
Venuti calls that domestication → you bring it towards the translator/reader’s
Mrs Fox La signora Fox/Volpe would be a domesticating choice, leaving Mrs Fox
would be a foreignizing choice
Usually, we don’t translate people’s names. It was done in certain circumstances
Principe Carlo Principe William
- are translated differently because there were two
different translation trends: 70 years ago everything was translated into Italian,
nowadays we tend to use the original forms.
Elements you can be faithful to (or no, it’s a choice):
- Period of ST (source text). E.g. translating Shakespeare or Dante : do we have to
use an old English/Italian form or the current one ?
- Update language ? If there are already a lot of translations, do we need another
one ? In translation, the language need to be updated.
- Retranslation – why the same book gets translated over and over again.
- Unusual collocation (way that words go together) e.g. bianco e nero – black and
white. If I say “it is white and black”, everybody understands but it doesn’t sound
The grey nurse is unusual, there could be a white nurse, or a black one (skin
colour). Woolf put these words together in order to force the reader to create a 3
mental picture. We could directly say « l’infermiera sciatta » but Woolf could have
said « the graffy nurse » ; she didn’t. We have to be faithful.
- Use of repetition. It could be an effect we might want to maintain in our
translation Les testaments trahits
Milan Kundera (1993) - he comments some translations
from German to other languages and then he talks about other people’s
translations about his works.
Bisogno di sinonimizzare del traduttore usando parole che apparentemente non
tradiscono l’autore ma che in realtà sono frutto di una elaborazione personale.
Questa pratica, se applicata in modo sistematico, finisce per attenuare il pensiero
Rhythm and rhyme (poetry, lyrics)
I am sixteen going on seventeen – The Sound of Music (Tutti insieme
Unusual syntax and vocabulary
Quindici anni, quasi sedici Maggiorenne tra due anni
– come traduzioni per
mantenere il ritmo
Language – there are various elements that make it complex to translate
- Register : formal, informal language
- Jargon : words to use with a specific community/meaning (e.g. verbalizzazione at
- Technical language: tends to be extremely specific, we don’t often have
synonyms for this kind of words. You need to recognize these elements/words
- Dialect : one of the huge problems in translations, a regional variety of language.
It is often used to chracterise the people, we have cultural associations with parts
of the country we are talking about
- Non-standard forms : baby talk (conjugate all verbs in a regular way, e.g. I taked
the book); in a book a Spanish character who speaks English might make some
Suspension of disbelief
« mistakes ». → quando leggo un romanzo in traduzione o
guardo un film, se tutti gli attori sono in Spagna non devo chiedermi perché parlino
l’italiano, lo prendo come fatto e basta.
Examples of dialects, non-standard forms
Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh (1993) set in Scotland, (Edimburgo). The way they
express themselves is different from standard English and from the language we
expect to find in a book. Jargon of drug dealing.
comprare la droga; roba
A translation into standard Italian would make it lose every dialect connotation.
Cockney (Rhyming Slang) – East End of London, where you can hear the sound of
Bow Bells (St. Mary-Le-Bow). It’s a poor part of London. It is a language that was
born to communicate within cockney in order to avoid policemen to understand
rabbit and pork dog
them. This jargon works thanks to rhymes e.g. instead of talk,
and bone Adam and Eve butcher’s hook Come and
for phone, for believe, for look.
have a butcher’s « vieni a dare un’occhiata ». Today, in colloquial English, to rabbit
on means to talk about something. 4
Tank balance – bank balance (saldo)
George Bernard Shaw (1913) tried to replicate this
Pygmalion (opera teatrale)
The Flower Girl is a typical cockney who tries to sell some flowers in Covent
Garden (once it was like our « mercati generali »)
There is an evolution throughout the play : from cockney to standard English.
Fewd : if you had
Scelta controversa: introdurre traducendo, invece del dialetto presente
nell’originale, errori grammaticali
it may be difficult to translate it, it depens on the type of humour.
Laurel and Hardy
Situational humour (Stanlio e Ollio). It also called slapstick
“schiaffeggiare”, strumento che si usava per dare finti schiaffi. It’s more or less
universal and doesn’t present big problems
Verbal humour – what did the zero say to the eight ? Nice belt. It’s translatable,
so, just because there’s language it doesn’t mean we can’t translate that.
The problem arrives with linguistic humour : puns, worldplay
How do you make a cat drink ? Put one in a liquidizer
We can’t translate these jokes into Italian in the same way. We could
choose another joke concerning similar points.
How do you encourage a bear to eat cheese ? Camembert ! (Come on, Bear !)
Charles Dickens (in a bar) : « A martini, please. » Bartender: “olive or twist?”
The use of language that underlies the jokes is quite sophisticated. You are not
going to be able to translate it literally (almost always), so you’ll probably need to
produce your own jokes to fit the context.
Compensation : you don’t translate the joke where it was originally but you can put
that where it wasn’t in the original text
Visual + Linguistic Humour
Even more difficult
Computer Graphic Image
CGI nowadays changes various « images » that are in
film, TV series, etc. while the old movies, TV series were not changed.
Ads, cards, shop names, etc. we use puns everywhere, especially in English
because the languages allows it thanks to its homophones.
Cultural references :
These things change from a culture to another, therefore there are no direct
e.g. legal or educational system (I got a two one degree), food and drink
noodles rock style)
it’s not just a question of learning vocabulary but of understanding what
Teoria dello scopo → bisogna pensare all’uso finale della traduzione e farsi
guidare da questo per tradurre. Se so che il menù serve al cliente che non
parla italiano e quindi probabilmente non può comunicare, la funzione principale è
capire cosa c’è in un piatto e quanto costi.
Moreover, English is not only for English people but for everybody who does not
speak the local language, so it must be as clear as possible.
Traditions Romantic Valentine’s Day, treat, 2 bottles Beers, cigarettes 12, calories
9st (stones, unità di peso)
(12h vs 24h) 8 a.m.
- cambio di peso nella traduzione (per l’equivalenza)
- perdita di unità alcoliche th
Martedì 14 febbraio → Tuesday, February 14
It takes for granted we all know Valentine’s Day tradition
GPO : General Post Office
Dead good : informal way for very good
I ain’t never: childish, double negative, American accent. The use of American
gives impression of something false.
Ye: Shakespearian Englishi Ya: American English
1) We have lost the reference with the American English
2) we have lost – dead good – but there’s – sacco – which reproduces the register
of dead good. This is an example of compensation.
3) the flower from purple → red because in Italy purple is linked with death
Bisogna tenere a mente che ogni alfabeto ha un numero di lettere diverso.
Quello italiano ne ha 21, quello inglese 26 (21 + j, k, w, x, y).
Weights and measure
1) metric. In the UK, motorways indicated with M-number
2) imperial (post 1834). Km becomes (1,5 km)
3) US customary units
Hard shoulder: corsia di emergenza.
Yard: 90 cm
Distance: inch/es; foot/foot; yards; miles (spesso il singolare utilizzato anche in
Six feet under = dead
Weight: once (oz) oncia, pound (lb) libbra, stone In the UK, most of the people
think with the imperial system
Liquids: fluid once, pint, gallon NPG = miles per gallon
Temperature : degrees Fahrenheit : 32°F (0°C) – 212°F (100°C) (UK and USA)
Phrases and sayings (they come from culture)
to go the extra mile:
- to do more than expected
if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile:
- dai la mano e prendono il braccio
in for a penny, in for a pound:
- fatto trenta, facciamo trentuno
act your age, not your shoe size:
- don’t be childish !
B. Franklin : « An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure ». Prevention is
better than cure.
The Great Gatsby « ..fifty feet away.. »
1 foot = 30 cm → 50 feet = 15 m. leaving the imperial system is a foregnization.
Thanks to the context, we can leave it because the context helps us.
USE LETTERS, NO NUMBERS
- a pochi metri da me/alcuni metri più aventi 6
- a quindici metri di distanza/a una quindicina di metri
- a meno di venti metri/a una ventina di metri
- What does it say at the top of an Irish ladder ? « STOP ». To British, Irish are
A fish called Wanda → Italian has a beautiful sound, Russian doesn’t.
In the Italian version, the contrast is between Spanish and French
Gosford Park – second world war in an aristocratic environment. There is a lot of
social contrast between « upstairs » and « downstairs »
The woman is upset and her husband says : “Do stop snivelling. Anyone would
think you were Italian → exaggerated sentimentality.
Stiff upper lip: labbro superiore rigido (flemma britannica). In italiano “smettila!
Penseranno che sei tu la vedova”.
The Great Gastby - 1925 Fourth of July,
« It was a few days before the and a gray, scrawny (malnutrito)
Italian child was setting.. »
In French, the Fourth of July becomes « La Fête Nationale », this is called
explicitation, in the original the meaning was implicit, while here it’s explicit.
Italian remains Italian.
Censorship in translation during Fascism, even if the meaning is just slightly
negative, it must be changed.
Cesare Giardini translation 1936 was made from French, so he probably didn’t see
Fourth of july but just Fête Nationale that becomes and italien
The film is set in France, there are various French words
Backyard: in American English, il giardino che sta sul retro. Yard in British English
può essere il cortile
To roam: vagabondare
Stray/Alley cat: gatto randagio
From English to Italian we lose the sophisticate characterization. It becomes a
Roman cat who is in France.
Theatre translation can be divided into two main areas: printed versions and
versions to be produced on stage. The one that has to be translated for the
theatre is commissioned by the director of the play. A translator prepares an
almost literal version of the play, the director adapts it. Often the director doesn’t
speak the source language but he appears as the main translator « translation
of.. » even if he just adapts it.
Performability : you have to avoid tonguetwists. 7
Speakability : sounds that are distincts so that people can understand them
Opera (lirica)/musical (on stage) translation:
Part of the narrative is in the songs
Singability more than speakability.
When performance is not translated :
Surtitles « sopratitoli » with the translation in the local language. E.g. Italian
musical in England
In some new cinemas, behind the seats there are some small screen with subtitles.
Other forms of contraint:
Excescise de style
Raymond Queneau (1947). In the story there are a lot of
The same action in different languages has different onomatopoeias
Neil Gaiman, (Twitter + Novel), 2009. He started writing a story on Twitter
and his followers had to continue that in order to create a story.
Geoff Ryman 1996. A novel set on the train of London undergound : 251
passengers, a pidgeon and the driver. For each person, the text was 253 words.
Constraints based on the length of the text
In general they are produced for deaf and hard-of-hearing (intralingual translation).
It’s not just a case of copying the spoken text. We can’t read as fast as we can
listen, especially if we have to look at the images as well. There are some statistics
that say that people who are deaf from birth read 1/3 slower than others.
The main constraint is the amount of text you can show on screen.
e.g. « there’s nothing more naked than your handwriting ». traduzione letterale
“non vi è nulla di più chiaro della tua scrittura”; shorter “la tua scrittura è molto
Another constraint is the space occupied, it has to go with the image.
e.g. « But he was there with someone ». literally “ma era lì con qualcuno”, shorter
“non era solo”.
There are different ways to represent more than one person speaking. E.g. a little
dash (-) at the beginning, different colours per non andare a capo.
Noises (intralingual) accents
- Voice : SHOUTING, (italics), sarcasm!, #sing.
- Music, songs, lyrics. Do they need to be translated? Not always, often the solution
is to leave the music in the original language and to subtitle the meaning of the
- Break in line (interruzione sulle righe di testo): normally no more than 36
characters on each line, including spaces.
“mio padre dovrebbe assumerti come
“mio padre dovrebbe assumerti
come capo contabile” → divisione per unità di senso.
“mio padre dovrebbe assumerti
come capo contabile” → your eye doesn’t have to travel so far if your text is
centered rather than justified on the left.
dubbing countries, Italy is one of them with a huge tradition, mostly because of
Fascism when there was a political desire not to import Hollywood films. 8
Scandinavian countries have small populations, so small audience who pays, they
often just subtitle films because it’s cheaper
Cartoons for very young children have to be dubbed because they can’t read.
In the UK films are mainly subtitled, not dubbed.
AVT audio visual translation
Constraint: you have to deal with the visual elements
Accents or dialects on screen
Cultural references from the past
Wordplay in song: recreate the humour, the rhyme, gestures
Language in film → you: tu, lei or voi? You choose according to the hierarchical
relationship among the characters. Among children tu, professional people lei, to a
group voi, etc. It’s up to the translator to decide when lei becomes tu. Moreover, in
English there are more polite forms than in Italian: would you mind, please,
etc. in Italian we could use the conditional. It’s a constant decision the translator
has to make in order to make it sound as natural as possible.
Functional subtitles: there are functional subt. Quite often in musicals, etc. There is
no effort to replicate the rhyme, they make it easier to understand what the song
Young Frankenstein Frankenstein Junior
(1974) – in Italian (1974) 9
Retelling of Frankenstein’s story
Howling: ululare; werewolf: lupo mannaro
Inga: werewolf – lupu ululà
Freddy: werewolf? – lupo ululà?
Igor: there! (he indicates with his arm, again overlapping of gestures and words) –
Freddy: What? – cosa?
Igor: There wolf, there castle. – lupu ululà e castello ululì.
Freddy: Why are you talking that way? – ma come diavolo parli?
Igor: I thought you wanted to. – è lei che ha cominciato.
Freddy: No, I don’t want to. – no, non è vero.
Igor: Suit yourself, I’m easy. – non insisto, è lei padrone.
Igor usa il lei e Frankenstein il tu.
Monica: how about Mockolate mousse? (she has to invent some recipes. First
difficult: translate Mockolate. Mock exam means “simulazione”, non the real one.
Not real chocolate, a kind of synthetic product like chocolate) – mousse di
Phoebe: it’s not very Thanksgiving-y – non è da festa del Ringraziamento.
M: how about Pilgrim Mockolate mousse? – e allora mousse di carnevale.
P: what makes it pilgrim? – perché carnevale?
M: we’ll put buckles on. (buckles are one of the typical features one would
associate to the Pilgrim Fathers) – per i coriandoli.
Programmes for people who can’t see. Description on top of the dialogue
(intralinguistic translation - explanation): it’s night, there is no light, etc.
Video games: within the area of IT (Information Technology). Lots of different
elements: character who speak, etc.
Software translation: open close, tables, insert, etc. but also you have to translate
some of the features of the programme e.g. if I write “i” in lover case it is
automatically switched into a capital I (it depends on the language I’m writing, in
this case English).
Localization: in IT we don’t talk about translation but about localization. It is paid
more than, for example, literature. L10N (localization, L iniziale, N finale e 10
lettere al centro)
GILT (dorato) Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, Translation. They
often go together
You have a company like Mc Donald’s. the product must be internationalized, it
cannot be produced the same way everywhere for cultural and linguistic reasons.
When they localize, they present themselves in a different way. If you go to an
Italian Mc and to a British one, you won’t probably notice any difference. But, if
you go to an Indian one, you’ll notice that they do not sell cow meat because cow
is sacred in India. You don’t sell the same product everywhere and, if you do, you
don’t do it the same way; you localize.
Word-processing programmes 10
5 mesi fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher daniela2603 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua inglese II e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università La Sapienza - Uniroma1 o del prof Wardle Mary Louise.
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