Filumena Marturano: Language and Culture in Standard Arabic and Egyptian Vernacular Translations

  • Lucia Avallone University of Bergamo


The translation of theatrical works in which dialects are present is a delicate process of mediation requiring a careful valuation of formal and communicative textual aspects. For mediating between two different universes the translator must firstly choose whether to transmit the original text language variation – through the strategies available in the target language – or whether to ignore it, transferring the script into the standard target language. Accordingly, both the source oriented and the target-oriented translations are possible and produce results worthy of being examined, from the perspective of a wide interdisciplinary area including linguistic and cultural studies. Arabic versions of Italian theatrical and narrative works, originally characterized by the use of dialects, show a variety of solutions to the problems arising while translating, which are interesting for reflecting on the general decision-making process of translation and on the language choices adopted in a given target culture. My contribution aims to present the outcomes of a comparison between the original text of Filumena Marturano (1946), one of the comedies written by the Italian dramatist Eduardo De Filippo, and both the standard Arabic translation (2006) and the Egyptian vernacular script of its stage representation (1998). In the source text there are many Neapolitan vernacular expressions, as dialect is a major feature in typifying characters and environment, but the translations resort to a general neutralization of the foreign culture, through standardization or homogenization with the Egyptian culture.


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Author Biography

Lucia Avallone, University of Bergamo

Lucia Avallone, PhD University of Naples “L’Orientale”, is Researcher in Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Bergamo where she teaches Arabic language to undergraduate and graduate students. Her main research interests are language variation in Arabic literature and political discourse analysis.

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