Daniele Petruccioli and the translation of Amilcar Bettega Barbosa into Italian

Published on wednesday, april 26th, 2017.
literatura, translation, literatura brasileira, Programa de Residência de Tradutores Estrangeiros no Brasil
Daniele Petruccioli is an Italian living in Rome. He is a translator, scout and freelance editor, working with Italian, French, English and Portuguese novels, with emphasis on linguistic experimentation and postcolonial literature.


O tradutor italiano Daniele Petruccioli.
O tradutor italiano Daniele Petruccioli.

The translator offers workshops and lectures on translation and teaches Portuguese translation at Tor Vergata and Unint universities. He translated, among others, Cristovão Tezza, Heloneida Studart, Luandino Vieira, Mia Couto and Dulce Maria Cardoso. In 2010, he won the Luciano Bianciardi Award for the translation of Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea (Lettere, Voland 2008). In 2014, he published the book Falsi d'autore. Guida pratica per orientarsi nel mondo dei libri tradotti [in free translation, Author's Mistakes. Practical Guide to the World of Translated Books], by Quodlibet, Macerata. He is a founding member of STradE (Sindacato Traduttori Editoriali).

Daniele was recently in Brazil as a scholarship holder of the Foreign Translators Residency Notice issued by Biblioteca Nacional. He tells us about his current project, the translation of the volume of short stories Leave the room as it is, by Amílcar Bettega Barbosa.

Could you tell us a little bit about your relation with the Portuguese language?

My first encounter with the Portuguese language happened in São Paulo at the end of the eighties, thanks to Professor Andrea Lombardi, who introduced me to Portuguese for the first time. Later on I graduated in Translation with a thesis which establishes a comparison between the Italian translations of Macunaíma and Grande Sertão: Veredas. My translation career - which by the way is not limited to Portuguese-speaking authors - began with Portuguese-speaking authors from Angola and Brazil, and today my work has a lot to do with the presentation of new Brazilian authors to the Italian publishing houses with which I collaborate.

What is the importance of your trip to Brazil for the translation of Leave the room as it is, by Amilcar Bettega Barbosa?

The major importance of this trip has to do with the topography – both real and metaphorical – of the places where the tales of the book were born. Bettega's writing has an immense force in evoking places and situations. I expect to better capture and understand its magic by visiting not only the places where some of the tales unfold, but also those that were important for the author's training.

What aspect of the book has revealed to be the most enticing in translation?

Perhaps the best thing is the diversity of languages that Bettega uses to paint the most diverse situations. Some tales have a syntactic and lexical violence, while others stand as if suspended in a cloud of delicate language, but not less frightening, as if the author used the excess, not less than subtraction, to develop his atmospheres.

Could you name an Italian author that the Brazilian public needs to know?

Two very interesting writers are Nadia Terranova, a Sicilian author whose last novel on Italian history of the Seventies, Gli anni al contrario, was much appreciated and will be translated into French; And Igiaba Scego, an Italian author of Somali origin who is very sensitive to postcolonial and identity issues. Her last novel, Adua, to be published in England, deals with a woman in search of her own identity between Africa and Italy.

O tradutor italiano Daniele Petruccioli.
O tradutor italiano Daniele Petruccioli.