Australia translated: a source-oriented translation of Elizabeth Jolley's Mr Scobie's Riddle

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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A tendency to sacrifice culture-specific elements and stylistic peculiarities "on the altar of fine writing", to borrow Milan Kundera’s words, can be found within Australian literature translated into Italian. Norms and rules existing in the target language and culture (Italian) are in fact often prioritised over an author’s own writing technique and elements specific to the source culture. Accordingly, unmarked structures are also often preferred to marked structures, with the result that Australian literature is often homogenised, its Australianness blurred.

On the other hand, a small number of Italian translations of Australian literature excel in their attempt to be source-oriented, oriented towards the original, its cultural and stylistic peculiarities, rather than target-oriented. Translations done following this approach inspired my translation into Italian of Elizabeth Jolley’s Mr Scobie’s Riddle.

In this thesis I translated Elizabeth Jolley’s Mr Scobie’s Riddle in its entirety, aiming for the preservation of culture-specific elements and Jolley’s stylistic peculiarities and using compensation strategies wherever the cultural gap between Australia and Italy or the structural differences between English and Italian could potentially cause a loss in translation. In order for the specificity of Jolley’s novel to be maintained in translation, three types of analysis were undergone: the first, a narratological analysis of the novel; the second, a translational analysis of the novel to translate, a type of analysis carried out before the beginning the translation process; finally, an analysis of the translated text and the main issues stemming from the contrast between the two languages and cultures involved.

In order to be successful in my attempt to preserve culture-specific elements and stylistic peculiarities across the translational process I adopted a method oriented towards the source, which prioritises the source text’s peculiarities and culture-specific elements while being transported into another language.
Original languageMultiple languages
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Dalziell, Tanya, Supervisor
  • Kinder, John, Supervisor
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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