Lesson 1 Thursday 27th February

We were slightly hampered for our first lesson as I had not been able to find the slides for the lesson on my computer and so we had to do without - very frustrating!

I went over various administration points, especially with respect to the rooms for the lessons, since from Thursday April 16th we shall be in Aula 13, CV and particularly about the fact that next week, Thursday 5th March, there will be no lesson as the room is booked for an event and there is not another room anywhere (in the world!) that we can use instead! I then talked about this course, being especially firm about doing homework and making sure it is all your own work with no assistance from electronic sources. I told you that the Dispense is ready from Copisteria X and that you should obtain a copy and bring it to the lesson every week. I told you that most of the texts which we shall be working on will be taken from Children's Literature. We went over certain aspects of Children's Literature which differ from adult literature and stressed that although some people feel that Children's Literature is simple, this is far from the case. We discussed the types of texts which form children's literature from picture books for very young children through books with text and occasional picture, poems, up to novels for adolescent readers. We discussed also the need, for books fro very young children, for the content (text and pictures) to relate to the reality which the child is experiencing and learning about, not to be different from or contradict this and that translators of children's literature need to be very aware of this and ready to mediate or intervene appropriately. We also talked about the concept of the child in different cultures and the role of the other reader for children's literature, who is the adult who chooses and transmits the book to the child.

I gave out photocopies of a short text ('Babes in the Wood') which is to translate for homework for the next lesson. It is not actually a text for children, but I wanted you to have a first hands on experience of translating immediately. 

Homework for the next lesson (12.03.20)

(i) Translate the text 'Babes in the Wood'  and bring your version of it, in written form to the next lesson (remember, Thursday 12th March). This will serve as the basis foo our group comparison of solutions for the translation and will enable us to discuss points of interest for Translation which it throws up. We shall only go over the points you ask about, so be ready to ask and listen!

(ii) Read pages 3 and 4 of the Dispense

Lesson 2  Thursday 12th March

This was the first of the lessons not held in aula because of the suspension due to the corona virus. It was recorded on files with slides and audio commentary which are available in our section of the page.

I had asked you to send me some of the points of interest from the point of view of translation which you had found in the 'Babes in the Wood' text and I went  over these on the slides with commentary.

Many of the points you asked about lead us to think carefully about what we are actually doing when we translate and about relationships (between text and reader, between translator and reader, between original writer and original reader). When we translate we need to create a text which will achieve the same effect on a TL reader which the SL text had on the SL reader. As translators we need to transmit the intentions of the SL writer for their text and its effect on the SL reader. However, TL reader ≠ SL reader since each brings to the text different knowledge, expectations as well as language – because of importance of culture. Since the translator knows both the SL and SL culture and the TL and TL culture intimately s/he is able to(and must!) therefore ease the transmission of the SL text to the new TL reader (mediator). This transmission will involve additions, omissions, ‘changes’ at both the linguistic and cultural level.

We dealt with culture bound elements in the text such as Street names, Sainsbury’s, Job Centre, Hotel name, Units of measurement. We also covered elements relating to Style such as repetitions, verbs and nouns, metaphor. We also discussed the title and I pointed out its intertextuality with a British fairy story and why the author had wanted to create an interplay between this and her actual story in the novel.

Homework for next lesson (18.03.20)

(I) Edit your translation of ‘Babes in the Wood’ in the light of what has been discussed today and then upload your final version on the Homework link in our section of the Moodle page.

(ii) Read pages 3-4 of the Dispense.

Lesson 3 Thursday 18th March

Because the recording of sound and slides is extremely  time consuming and also in order to provide at least a minimum possibility of interaction and contributions from students this lesson was a video lesson via the Google Meet facility, held 'live' during the usual lesson time. All lessons from now on will be in this form until further notice.

First of all we went over some of the points from the texts on pages 3 and 4 which I had asked you to read for Homework. We then looked at Picture Books and the various ways in which text and pictures can interact: illustrating the text, contradicting the text, telling a story separate from the text, reinforcing or parallelling the text even in the choice of colour of the print. We looked also at a book which illustrated the difference in the image of the child between the SL text and its TL version (Jazzy in the Jungle vs Gin-Gian nella Giungla). We then looked a several Maisy-Pina books wherein we saw that the translations had not taken into consideration all the points and interaction of text and illustration of the SL text and had produced texts which did not reflect the world of the TL child. 

We then looked at Pokemon, which do not have translated names in Italian but simply their English names which are not only difficult to pronounce for Italian children, and therefore alienate them rather than atrating them, but which do not convey anything about the shape or behaviour of the creatures as they do in English, thus depriving Italian children of an important layer in their perception and reception of Pokemon.

Homework for next lesson (26.03.20)

(i) Invent names for tsix of the Pokemon we looked at today,  one triplet and three individual Pokemon. If you can't remember or don't know what their special characteristics are, the web is full of material to help you. We shall discuss our names next week, but I would like you to have a version of them which you can hand in.

The Pokemon were:


















Lesson 4 Thursday 26th March

This was our second video lesson. We went over some of the translation of names for the Pokemon we looked at last week. It is important to remember that the name needs to reflect both the form (appearance) and the function (type, attack) of the Pokemon in question. Squirtle looks like a turtle and uses water for attacks (and indeed is a water type of Pokemon).

Moving on to your final version of Babes in the Wood, we went through possible solutions and inappropriate solutions for words and phrases at some length. This is a very important part of the course which is designed to help you learn how to translate and the discussion of points and the comparison of other versions increases everyone's experience and equips them better for future translations. In the classroom this is much more possible than in a video lesson, but at least at the end there was some possibility for the students to make points or ask questions We spent some time talking about the title which very few students had provided a suitable version of. The English title plays on intertextuality with the fairy story which readers are expected to know and to compare and contrast with this text. Since this particular fairy story (unlike so many others) does not also form part of the Italian knowledge of fairy stories, a text outside of fairy tales needs to be found to achieve the intertextuality. Texts such as poems (Chiare, fresche e dolci acque, Una selva oscura), films (Pioggia infernale) and songs (Scende la pioggia, Indagando sotto la pioggia) may be used. The important thing is for the TL reader to recognise the reference and then to have their expectations denied through the development of this text (Babes in the Wood).

We also covered points arising form the Tyrrany of the SL text whereby the influence of the SL (original) text is so strong that the translator produces words or phrases or structures which they would never have produced spontaneously in an Italian text . Examples were tedioso, eccitante, the overuse of subject pronouns or the inappropriate use of possessives and the use of adverbs, so common in English texts, but much less used in Italian texts. The Tyrrany of the SL text can be overcome by leaving your translation to rest for a couple of hours after you make your first translation, then going back to it when many thinks will leap out at your as being inappropriate and you can adjust them. Then leave your final version for a couple of days once you think it is ready , then go back to it and edit again and (if possible in the present circumstances) have it checked by another person who knows nothing about the English text and can therefore give you an unbiased objective evaluation of your translation,

We only had time to deal with very little of Bunny Money, covering the food in Picture 12, but at least this introduced the concept of culture specific or culture bound items which is so important in translation and particularly in translation of children’s literature where the texts must reflect and reinforce the world of the child, not contradict or confuse it.

Remember to ask about as many points as possible in the next (and successive) texts once you have your draft version, so that the final translation you hand in can be as complete as possible. The emphasis should be on discovering the points of interest and/or problems for translation rather than individual translation, correction by me.

My plan is to have a lesson next week (Thursday 2nd April and then miss two week and continue on Thursday 23rd April, but I shall confirm this at next week’s lesson.

Homework for the next lesson (02.04.20)

(i) Read the two critics' texts on page 9 of the Dispense.

(ii) Edit, if necessary in the light of our discussion of examples today, your Pokemon names and hand them in via the Homework Pokemon names link in our sectoin of the page.

(iii) Continue working on your first version of Bunny Money, paying particular attention to culture bound elements.

Lesson 5  Thursday 2nd April

An online lesson at the usual lesson time.

I told you that the marks and comments for 'Babes in the Wood' can be seen on the Homework link under "Comments" as that is the only way possible to do it with this system which is conceived for a single course and an overall mark-gathering function.for all the students registered on the page.If anyone would like more extensive feed back on their translation, they should book an appointment with me via the Meet facility during office hours (Tuesday 11.30-1.30) by sending a request via email in advance and they waiting for their "invitation" to click on at the time I tell them. I shall give individual time slots so that it will be a personal communication without others present and I shall not record it.

I gave you some feed back on the Pokemon names you had invented and also showed you the French names for the Pokemon we had been looking at - someof which were not as effective as yours!

We then continued looking at Bunny Money, starting off from the 'money' itself. The 'pounds' referred to in the SL text are in fact a 'translation' from the original 'dollars' of the American text (we are using the British edition of the book). For the Italian translation then we should uses the Italian unit of currency, Euros within the text. When referring to the title, however, the situation becomes much ore complex as here the 'Money' is important not only for the meaning, but also for its physical presence in the book (it is almost another character, it appears on every page and on the end papers!) and last but not least for the rhyme it forms with 'Bunny' and these two elements (Bunnies' and 'Money' are the key elements of the plot! Some kind of attractive and captivating title is essential or else young readers will not be interested enough to actually read (or have read aloud to them) the book. Banal titles are not appropriate. We didn't actualy find a wholly satisfactory title, so I am looking forward to seeing what your creativity comes up with for your final versions of the text! We dealt also with other culture specific elements such as the song the blue bird earrings play and indeed the blue birds themselves. We talked also about the names of the shops and theri owners: Rosalinda and Candi. We decided that 'Candi' should keep an alliteration for the name of her shop, which meant that perhaps her name should change to make possible an alliteration with 'D' , or could stay as Candi in combination with 'caramelle' or variations - or she could becomes '-Carmela'.

We still don't know whether the End-of-Semester Test will be a written exam or an oral exam .- so we just have to wait to see about this.

The next lesson will be on Thursday April 23rd in order to give us (especially me!) time to catch our breath and relax so as to be ready for the last lessons of the course. 


Upload your final  version of Bunny Money to the link in our section of the page by 15th April so that I have time to mark them ready to discuss in detail at the next lesson.

Lesson 6 Thursday 23rd April

An online lesson at the usual time.

I went over the points which had come out of your translations of Bunny Money. The title had be tricky to translate and perhaps the most satisfying you had found was Fino all'ultimo soldino. I suggested Le zampine bucate to link to one of the standard metaphors Ruby (the voice of adult wisdom in contrast to Max the archetypal child) produces when reprimanding Max: "Money is running through our fingers". These metaphors had not been recognised and reproduced with Italian equivalent s by almost all of you! (The other was "Money down the drain"). It was important to reproduce Max's extremely simple, basic speech: he says only two words in the whole text: "Thirsty" and "Hungry". these express basic physical needs and are not comopete sentences.

Be careful when you hand in your texts that you have edited them very carefully because I found a lot of careless typing mistakes and inconsistencies where you had used one version for one appearance of a word or phrase and a different one for a subsequent appearance of it. The translations you hand in should be (supposedly) ready to publish and shouldn't have notes or explanations either.

Some of your translations seemed to have been written for adults rather than children and the simple language of the SL text (intended for approx. 4 year-old- children) was transformed into complex syntax and lexis. In some texts the dynamic between the words and the pictures had also been altered because you had added explanations and interpretations, 'patronising' the child rather than leaving them to work out the relationship them selves or with the cooperation of the adult reader reading aloud to them. 


Prepare a 1st version of the extract from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (p.23) to bring to next week's lesson when we shall go over the points which you think require attention for translating.

Lesson 7 Thursday 30 April
An online lesson at the usual time.
We began by looking at the cover picture form the Dispense of Pina in the "cava di sabbia" a very alarming (and inappropriate) translation! The SL version had been "in the sand pit" and a sand pit is a very common feature of playgrounds and private gardens where children can play with sand collected in a small area. Since this culture specific element is not present in Italy, there is no word for it, but' cava' was a very strange choice - perhaps it was mad by looking up 'pit' in a bi-lingual dictionary - proof if ever it was needed of how unhelpful this is and why it should be avoided! Better solutions were simply "sabbia" or possibly "recinto di sabbia".

We then turned to 'Harry Potter'  and began to deal with the names of people, places and shops in the text. We discussed the names of  Flourish and Blotts, Quality Quidditch Supplies, Gambol and Jape's. The Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley, Prefects who gained Power, Gilderoy Lockhart.  The basic process to apply is to create names which seem at first sight (to an Italian non-expert reader of English) to be English names (according to the form of the words) but which immediately suggest a meaning in Italian which relates to the person or place being named. This is the technique which J.K. Rowling used to create the original names in English. At first sight they seem to be real names, but on closer inspection, and particularly by reading them aloud, they reveal aspects of the person or place. Gilderoy Lockhart is 'gilded', that is he has a thin layer of gold covering a less valuable metal and he is much appreciated by the female  members of the  magic world: he locks their hearts. Rubquor or Robquor seems to suggest the romantic qualities as a surname and the first name could be Dorian, or Doroteo or even Teodor. For his books, alliteration is essential for the series of books- incorporating a word for a way of spending leisure time with the name of a negative magical creature: the banshee should be avoided since it is not wellknown in Italian. 

Edit your final version of Harry Potter and upload it to the Harry Potter Homework link in our Section of the page. Please upload both a document and a pdf because there have been developments in the Compito facility and I may (fingers crossed) now be able to physically mark pdf texts so that you can have a more precise idea of what I considered appropriate or inappropriate in your translations.

Lesson 8 Thursday 7th May
An online lesson at the usual time.
Unfortunately the recording on the lesson failed and I did not become aware of this until the last 10 minutes of the lesson.
We went over the inappropriate translations I had found in your final versions of the Harry Potter text. 

‘-ing’ forms



“strawberry and peanut butter icecreams”

time on banner

“wonky brass scales”


“the reason for this ...”


“A harrassed-looking wizard stood at the door, saying ‘Calmly, please, ladies … don’t push, there … mind the books, now ... .’.”

- compound adjective

- stood

- saying

- phatic words

The direct speech needs to sound natural, the kind of thing an Italian bookshop keeper would have said in similar circumstances:

Con calma …..  Vi prego …

This text is full of ‘-ing’ forms: continuous tenses, adjectives, gerunds

Typical of language structure and style of English   - not so typical of Italian!

Reproducing all of them (or even most) creates a very unnatural sounding TL text.

Solutions: imperfects

“were going” (l.4) X stavano andando X,

but dovevano andare

“was insisting” (ll.4-5) X stava insistendo X, but insisteva

“were stocking up on” (l.20) X stavano facendo scorta X, but facevano scorta (rifornirsi)

“saying” (l.38)  X dicendo X, but diceva

“rubbing his foot” (l.59) X massaggiando il piede X, but mentre massaggiava il piede

adverbs: English uses lots of adverbs, Italian doesn't! There were nine adverbs in this text, and a natural-souding Italian text could have two or three, but not nine!

“vaguely” (l.2) omission: borbottò ?

“happily” (l.15)  X allegramente X, felici

“longingly” (l.16) con x,  in modo x

“deeply” (l.24)

“mostly” (l.37) per la maggior parte

“calmly” (l.38) Con calma

“slowly” (l.48) 

“dazzlingly” (l.50)

“exactly” (l.51) 

“strawberry and peanut butter icecreams”

don’t change to something ‘normal’ - it’s exotic in the SL text!

time on banner

12,30 – 16,30

use TL conventions for writing the time, including the commas, not full stops

“winding” X ventosa X

To wind /waɪnd/   not ‘wind’ !

 “back” (l.1)   di nuovo  , X dietro X

“purple” (l.55) viola X porpora X  (word frequency + register)

“the reason for this ...”  X la ragione di tutto ciò X  Ciò is relatively rare in Italian: il motivo ...

Homework for next lesson (14.05.20)

Make a first translation of the second Text from Matilda on pages 26-8 of the Dispense. Go only as far as “’But Dad ...’” (p.27). We’ll go over the points you think are interesting from the point of view of translation at next week’s lesson.

Translate the 3 Knock knock jokes on p.22. You will need to be very creative and remember to achieve the same effect in the TL, rather than keeping to the SL words.

Lesson 9 Thursday 14th May

This was an online lesson via Meet.

The last formal lesson for the course. Next week, during the lesson time, we shall have the End.of-Semester Test, which will be a short text to translate. It will be held online using the Meet system and the procedure is quite complicated. You will have 1 hour to complete your translations and there will be no use of any aids, material, assistance of any kind. You will write your translation IN BLACK PEN on a special "Answer sheet" which you will download from our Section of the Moodle page and print up a copy of it ready to use for the Test. If you don't have a printer, you must make a hand-drawn coy of this Answer sheet on a piece of A4 paper and then hand this in. Any rough copies must also be handed in. The Test will be done with your cameras on and your microphones off. It will be recorded on film. Your phones will be on your desk in front of you, in sight of your camera, but turned off and placed face down until the end of the Test.

This is when it gets complicated! You will then take you camera, when instructed to do so, and scan your Answer sheet. You will then send a copy of this scan in pdf form to me at my unifi email address OR and I'll let you know which when I am sure, upload it to a Compito facility in our Section of the Moodle page. NB These are not alternatives, but I shall choose one or the other when I am certain of the possibility for the Moodle option (which seems simpler for everyone!). 

You will have to send a scanned copy of your unif student card to me well in advance of the Test (do it now!) and then you will need to have your card ready to show me before we begin the Test.

There will also be a short oral component to the Test which will be held via indivdiual interviews with after I have marked all the Test translations and will consist of a couple of questions on elements of Translation of Children's literature and the texts we have been dealing with during the course.

Instructions available on the page Translation Test Instructions

In the lesson, after going through the long and complicated procedure for the Test, we lightened the mood by going over the translations of the Knock knock jokes you had done for part of your Homework last week and I showed you some examples. Please upload your jokes to the Lesson 9 Homework Knock knock jokes file.

We also went over the points of interest form the point of view of translation in the Matilda text you had prepared fro Homework: colloquial register especially of dialogues, informal register of narration; currency to use (pounds and euros both have points in their favour, make your own individual, considered choice), repetitions, of structural patterns and repetition of saying verbs: respect the former, but there is some possibility of varying the latter to make a more natural sounding SL text.

Homework for next week

(i) Edit your translations of the Matilda texts, give them an appropriate title for the section we are translating and upload them (document and pdf) to the Homework file: Final version Matilda

(ii) Edit (if necessary) your Knock knock jokes and upload them to the Homework file: Knock Knock Jokes



Ultime modifiche: venerdì, 15 maggio 2020, 12:23