Linguistic inventiveness and unwarranted changes in direction

by Paola Quadrelli

The essay examines the translation of the third volume of Jahrestage (Anniversaries) by Uwe Johnson, a novel that is outstanding for its extraordinarily rich linguistic and stylistic content. The translation by Nicola Pasqualetti and Delia Angiolini is characterised by their choice of transposing passages of the text originally in Low German into Tuscan dialect and for the strong expressionistic twist applied to the text. However, comparison with the original text shows how the translators have often stretched the interpretation with arbitrary changes of direction, sometimes towards a slang, street language register, and sometimes towards an antiquated form no longer in use.