Tradurre Naǧīb Maḥfūẓ: il caso di Ḥikāyāt ḥāratinā

  • Naglaa Waly University of Turin
Keywords: Naǧīb Maḥfūẓ, Ḥikāyāt ḥāratinā, traduzione


The article analyzes the Italian translation of Ḥikāyāt ḥāratinā (published in Italian as “Il nostro quartiere” by Feltrinelli, in Milan in 1989) by Naguib Mahfouz (: Naǧīb Maḥfūẓ), and focuses on the strategies used by the translator, Dr.Valentina Colombo, to overcome the problems posed by this challenging text, full as it is of references to the Egyptian culture. Thanks to his extraordinary ability, Mahfouz manages to make the reader really enter within his novels. In fact, his poetic choice of narration does not follow a well-defined plot but swings, mostly in the dialogues, between the classic Arabic and the peculiar idiomatic expressions and syntactic methods of Cairo vernacular, translated in classic Arabic, which allows the reader to transport the narration in his own dialect. The articles details the translator’s strategies in coping with linguistic and extra-linguistic features of the text, various metaphors, proverbs, idiomatic expressions, and points out some imperfections in the translation, as well as some meanings that have been lost due to an imperfect knowledge of a culture alien to the translator. The Italian translation is then compared to English and French translations, previously published of the same work; in many passages the Italian version seems closer to the French text than to the English one.


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Author Biography

Naglaa Waly, University of Turin
Naglaa Waly, born in Cairo, received a BA degree in Italian Language and Literature in 1992 at Ain Shams University (Cairo). She later specialized in Translation Techniques (Master degree, Ain Shams University, 1996), and in 2012 she received a PhD in Linguistic Studies and Translation at Ain Shams University. In 2016 she further received a Master’s degree in Afroasiatic Languages and Literatures at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”. She presently works as a literary translator with several publishing houses and literary journals. She is “Cultrice della Materia” for Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” and Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Turin. Naglaa Waly has published many translations of literary Italian works into Arabic and viceversa. She won the Special Prize for Translation from the Italian Ministry of Culture in 2016 and the 6th Edition of the Cultural Prize from the Foundation for the Mediterranean Prize, Catania, in 2016.


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