Translating idiolects: Natalia Ginzburg's Lessico famigliare
journal contributionposted on 02.06.2017 by Formica, Denise, Cicioni, Mirna
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We look at the two English translations of Natalia Ginzburg's autobiographical narrative Lessico famigliare (1963) with a focus on the literary function of idiolects, and the challenges of translating them, particularly code-mixing between standard Italian, dialects and other languages. We draw on Bassnett-McGuire (who notes a tendency for translators to "fail to consider the way in which individual sentences form part of the total structure") (1980:115), Berman (who argues that source text markers, such as idiolects, form part of an "underlying network of signification within the text as a whole") (2000:292-3) and Gutt (who maintains that a successful translation will recognise and address the relevancy of the role played by idiolects in the text) (2000). We agree with Eco (2003) when he argues that losses and gains are inevitable in any translation process and problems must be negotiated individually. We would suggest that an effective strategy for translators may be to negotiate solutions from their specific places within what Pym (1998) calls 'intercultures', points of cultural overlap between source and target texts.