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Translating Australia : the case of Australian contemporary fiction in Italian translation

posted on 16.01.2017, 23:15 by Formica, Denise Maree
This thesis sets out to investigate a number of issues related to the translation of Australian fiction in Italy. The main focus is how Australianness is perceived in the target culture and this has involved both an analysis of translated Australian fiction titles and the role of the agents of translation in the intercultural transfer of texts. My study of the external forces regulating the translation process initially discusses the notion of polysystems which positions translated literature as part of a wider literary system. Subsequently, I consider a descriptive translation studies/normative approach which describes the translation product in terms of a specific culture’s expectations of how a translated text should function within that culture. I develop my argument by examining the relationship between national communities and national literary production prior to discussing theoretical approaches regarding the movement of national literatures into the international literary market, the criteria that enable such access and the contemporary translation practices that facilitate these transfers. Drawing on research by Pierre Bourdieu, I then argue that Australian literary production is a bearer of notions of Australianness enabled by a complex system of institutions, individuals, practices and values and that similar agencies within the Italian literary field mediate the processes of selection, translation and reception. In the final chapters of this thesis, I shift the focus of my argument from the extra-textual to the textual level. I present three case studies in which I attempt to foreground how the prioritisation of translation strategies by individual translators provides an indication of the inter-relatedness of textual structures and the external social framework in which the translated text emerges. I argue furthermore that the translator as agent represents the material space in which the tensions arising from external expectations and the internal dispositions which are unique to every individual habitus converge and are resolved. My objectives are to offer empirical support for a field theory approach to future translation studies research into the tensions characterising the relationship between the external social world and the internal structure of the text.


Principal supervisor

Rita Wilson

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Languages, Cultures and Linguistics


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts