Translating Portuguese language literature: New potential arises from old contradictions

by Daniele Petruccioli

The various branches of literature in Portuguese developed in contact with one another despite the very different geographical and political contexts, great distances and conflict between countries for various reasons. Moreover, the question of the Portuguese language spelling reform that dates back to 1911 has not yet been resolved. As well as the normal diatopic variations that are reflected in the literature they express, this situation has created a series of contradictions reflected by the attitude of the writers towards the language in which they create their work. But as often happens in artistic fields, these contradictions can become sources of creative potential which, during the translation process, can easily spill over into the language of the translator to generate even greater enrichment. It all depends on what one chooses to lose and what to keep.