Sunday 02nd of October 2022


Gianni Rodari’s grammar of food: translating Italian food language into English in children’s literature in the UK and the US

Claudia Alborghetti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milano) pdf_icon_30x30

Abstract: Among Gianni Rodari’s (1928-1980) most salient narrative features there is the playful language in describing Italian food traditions. The present study aims to identify foreignising or domesticating strategies adopted by translators for food language in four books by Rodari translated for the UK and the US between 1965 and 2011. The framework is a descriptive comparison of the original Italian with its English translation. The findings in Favole al telefono (1962, tr. 1965) and La torta in cielo (1966, tr. by Patrick Creagh, 1971) show a domesticating strategy reflected in the creative ability of Creagh to convey to the British public Rodari’s food language. Examples from Novelle fatte a macchina (1973, tr. by Sue Newson-Smith, 1976), and C’era due volte il Barone Lamberto (1978, tr. by Antony Shugaar, 2011), show how Newson-Smith adopted varying degrees of domestication for the British public, whereas Shugaar retained Rodari’s rich food vocabulary using Italian and French influences into American English. In conclusion, in the three British translations the domestication of food language was preferred to make the text more acceptable to young target culture readers; in the American translation, Rodari’s Italian food language was preserved through foreignisation, suggesting a primarily adult target public.


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