Francesca Benocci


Women Poets from Aotearoa: A Case-Study in Cross-Cultural Translation from New Zealand English into Italian

Language variety in post-colonial literatures has serious implications for any form of translation, especially interlingual. This presentation examines the impact of multilingualism on the translation into Italian of women poets of different cultural backgrounds and traditions from Aotearoa/New Zealand. Their English includes numerous influences from the most prominent among cohabiting languages: Te Reo Māori―the language of the country’s indigenous people, and one of the three official languages of New Zealand―and South Pacific Polynesian languages (both Tongic and Nuclear).

In this presentation I will illustrate how multilingualism is a defining feature of poetry authored by poets of indigenous as well as settler background. I will also explain how this trait can be―either deliberately or unintentionally―used by the author as an instrument of integration or of exclusion. Furthermore, I will demonstrate why foreignising translation strategies enable the literary translator to best preserve this intention, and are thus more suitable to maintain the cultural and linguistic ‘otherness’ of post-colonial literature.

More specifically, presenting some translations I produced during the first year of my doctoral research, I will discuss to what extent the Italian language can accommodate Aotearoa/New Zealand multifaceted English in a way for the translated texts to be both accessed and appreciated by Italian readership , while maintaining their cultural and linguistic uniqueness.


Francesca Benocci is a PhD candidate in Literary Translation Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, and holds an MA in Literary Translation and Text Editing and a BA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures both from the University of Siena. She is also a poet, short-story writer, editor and blogger. Her poetry translations appear regularly in Journal of Italian Translation (US) and Atelier (Italy). She has recently coedited Translation, Transnationalism, World Literature (Novi Ligure: Edizioni Joker, 2015, 426pp, in print), a volume of essays by established and emerging scholars from around the world on current issues in Translation Studies.