Tag Archives: cultural references

Translating crime fiction with Carlo Lucarelli

Brigid Maher   La Trobe University

Carlo Lucarelli chats with some of the Winter School participants

Carlo Lucarelli chats with some of the Winter School participants

At the end of June a group of group of translators, scholars, and students of translation had the opportunity to meet and work with renowned giallista Carlo Lucarelli as part of Murder and Mayhem in Translation, a literary translation winter school hosted by Monash University. The theme of the Winter School was crime fiction, and who better to walk (and talk) us through the many challenges and delights of this genre, and its translation, than Lucarelli, creator of Commissario De Luca, Ispettore Coliandro, and Ispettore Grazia De Negro, and host of the television series Blu notte, in which he investigates and narrates the real-life crimes, plots and conspiracies of contemporary Italy.

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Translating the imagery of confetti and bomboniere

Brigid Maher   La Trobe University

Weddings are, by all accounts, something of an extravaganza in most cultures, but the trappings are certainly not universal. What to do, then, when common features of the Italian celebratory tradition, confetti and bomboniere, appear out of context or in extended, metaphorical uses in a novel that needs to be translated into English? This is the topic of the latest instalment in my occasional series on my experience translating Nicola Lagioia’s 2010 novel Riportando tutto a casa.

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Translating globalized popular culture

Brigid Maher   La Trobe University

Translating cultural references can be very tricky, but some cultural references have an international reach, and the internet is making the translator’s – and perhaps also the reader’s – work easier, though also a little fragmented at times. I wrote recently about some difficulties that came up when translating snippets from Drive In, an Italian commercial television show of the mid-1980s that, according to Nicola Lagioia in Riportando tutto a casa, marked a decisive (and lamentable) change in the country’s television culture. As I work my way through the translation of this novel, set in Bari in the eighties, more and more references to popular culture are appearing. Many are far less culture-specific than Drive In though, belonging instead to a kind of shared youth culture of the West.

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