Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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This study investigates how poetry translators tackle source regional voice within their wider approach to poetic text. It analyses eleven translators’ ‘outputs’ of Scots and English translations from Giuseppe Belli’s 19th-century regional-language sonnets, which are set in working-class Rome. Each output was coded for voice (space, community, tenor marking), text-world space, and poetic form (rhyme, rhythm), then analysed quantitatively and qualitatively; translator interviews and translators’ written commentaries provided extra data. Translators ranged along a spectrum (apparently genre-specific) between two extremes: (1) ‘relocalising’ voice into target regional language/dialect with similar working-class and informal features to Belli’s originals, whilst relocalising place and person names to target-country analogies, and recreating rhyme and rhythm; (2) translating into standard (supra-regional, literary/educated, neutral-to-formal) English, whilst preserving Belli’s Roman setting, but replacing rhyme and rhythm by free verse. This reflects a spectrum between two priorities: (1) creatively conveying poetic texture; (2) replicating surface semantics.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): English; Italian; poetry; regional dialect; rhyme; rhythm; Scots; voice
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