Tradurre l’inglese

Un piovoso giovedì di molti anni fa, per così dire, decisi di dare a un gruppo di studenti uno stesso passo letterario in italiano e in inglese. Dovevano decidere quale lingua fosse l’originale e quale la traduzione. Era un pezzo singolare e gli studenti non ebbero difficoltà a individuare i quattro o cinque punti in cui i testi erano differenti. Optarono per l’italiano, che sembrava più lineare e corretto. L’inglese era a dir poco bizzarro. Conteneva, tra l’altro, l’espressione “he shut himself together”. Era D.H. Lawrence.
Rimasi affascinato. Individuando i punti in cui la traduzione si allontanava dall’originale gli studenti – il cui inglese era tutt’altro che perfetto – riuscivano immancabilmente a identificare i punti in cui l’autore divergeva dall’uso canonico della lingua. Il motivo è abbastanza evidente. Se tradurre il contenuto e i comuni manierismi risulta relativamente semplice, quando il significato di un testo è determinato dalla sua distanza rispetto alle aspettative del lettore, allora il traduttore si trova in difficoltà. Quando si analizzano i vari aspetti per i quali una traduzione si differenzia dall’originale ci si inizia a rendere conto della tecnica impiegata dallo scrittore e anche della sua particolare visione del linguaggio e della vita stessa, poiché ogni autore – se ha qualcosa di interessante da dire – presenta problemi sempre diversi. Di questo si occupa Tradurre l’inglese.
Ci sono capitoli su Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Beckett e alcuni altri autori. Si tratta di saggi sulla traduzione e anche sugli autori stessi. Ogni capitolo si richiama agli altri e spero che, una volta giunto alla fine del libro, il lettore sia in grado di percepire l’enorme distanza fra l’originale e la traduzione, per quanto esperto il traduttore possa essere. Ma questo non è affatto un buon motivo per non tradurre.

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