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Translaborating With Leonardo Guzzo: A Case Study In Translation As Creative Writing

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Version 2 2022-02-15, 02:43
Version 1 2022-02-14, 20:53
posted on 2022-02-15, 02:43 authored by Alessandra Giorgioni

This thesis is divided into two elements, a creative component (75%) and a theoretical/reflective component (25%).

The creative component is an exercise in literary translation as a creative writing process, which consists of my complete English translation of Leonardo Guzzo’s collection of short stories Le radici del mare (2015).

The theoretical/reflective component includes a commentary and analysis of the translation process in the form of a translator’s diary, where the pros and cons of an extensive collaboration with the author are explored. Through this analysis I wanted to shed further light on the translation process, what it actually entails and how one can deal with and overcome the various problems that arise.

There is a tendency to focus heavily on the theories of literary and applied translation in academic literature and with this thesis I wish to highlight 1) how important the balance between theory and practice ought to be; and 2) ways in which practice can refine theory (as well as vice versa).

A relentlessly intense practice of literary translation over the course of this thesis has enabled and empowered me to develop my style and voice as a literary translator but also to garner a deeper knowledge of theoretical frameworks both directly and indirectly relevant to my case study.

My approach to and choices of translation, in general we well as specific terms, have been sharpened by 1) viewing the process of translation as a creative and collaborative experience; 2) developing a heightened awareness of different types of equivalence; 3) the ad hoc combination of foreignizing and domesticating strategies; and 4) the reflections of fellow literary translators, established and emerging, as well as authors who have translated or have been translated by other authors.

These intertwined experiences have been enhanced by an equally intense dialogue with the author at the centre of my research. There are various advantages with working closely with the writer, notably the assurance the translator can gain knowing that he/she is translating what best reflects the intentions and ideas reflected in the source text and, most importantly, the benefits of building a profound working relationship with the author.

What has proven to be a fruitful and rewarding exchange does not mean that collaboration removes limits and drawbacks — quite the opposite, as it can be a lengthy and tiring process, particularly when trying to find a compromise that best suits the needs and expectations surrounding the target language while also accommodating what the author wants.

When translating Guzzo’s Le radici del mare, not only did I want to achieve an ‘end product’ that would work as a convincing case study for the purpose of this thesis, I also wanted these short stories to be able to be read and enjoyed as a literary work in English by an English speaking audience.

In order to be successful in this endeavour, I have selected, reviewed, embraced and tested theoretical frameworks and practical techniques that would enable me to achieve an inclusive and effective balance: a balance that first and foremost would let the words on the page —Giorgioni’s as much as Guzzo’s — shine.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Literary Translation Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Languages and Cultures


Sonzogni, Marco; Hill, Sally