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Montclair State Students of Italian Translate for US-Italy Book Prize Ceremony

Posted in: CHSS News, Inserra, Italian News and Events, Modern Languages

Oscar, Domenica, and Ann

The Bridge Award is an annual prize that recognizes fiction and non-fiction books published in Italy and the U.S. The titles selected by two juries on either side of the ocean are translated into English and Italian respectively. Unlike traditional prizes, the Bridge places emphasis on the enrichment that books can bring to another culture and, as such, it values the role of translation.

This year the award opened up to a collaboration with Montclair State University by inviting two students to translate excerpts from the winning Italian books into English. Oscar Guevara-Perez, who graduated in Italian and Spanish in 2018, translated Luciano Funetta’s excerpts from his novel Il grido.
Domenica Russo, who is a second-year student majoring in Italian, translated a passage from Sandra Petrignani’s biography La corsara: Ritratto di Natalia Ginzburg). They attended the 2018 ceremony held in the beautiful art gallery of CIMA (Center for Italian Modern Art) in Soho, and read the excerpts. Both students have taken classes in audio-visual and literary translation at Montclair State (with Dr. Trubiano), and Guevara-Perez has also been a student intern for opera surtitling at the Sferisterio Arena in Macerata in 2018.

The evening at CIMA (see full video) gave the students the chance to meet and talk to the winning authors, who openly appreciated the translation work in their public remarks to the audience. One of them even wrote “Thank you for making my words better” in the autographed dedication. For the students, it was also an opportunity to meet one of the presenters, Ann Goldstein (see featured image above), renowned translator of Elena Ferrante, Primo Levi, Jhumpa Lahiri, among others (Goldstein visited Montclair State University in 2015 on the occasion of an evening devoted to literature and translation called “Migrating Words”).

This collaboration represented a unique opportunity to further expand the Italian Translation Project, which started in 2011, and includes several translations completed by students, under the guidance of professors, for outside partners in the fields of opera, film, journalism. This was the first time in the field of literature. As remarked by Teresa Fiore, the Montclair State University professor who supervised the two students, “From the teacher’s perspective, the most fascinating aspect of the project was to see how deep and intricate of a reading emerged from the translation exercise. The excerpts from both books, when read as closely as required by a translation, not only became a rich terrain for lexicon expansion, but they also created hyper-texts replete with references to theater, painting and literature, which confirms how organically translation can be included in culture classes at all levels. Translation in this sense is not just a tool for a linguistic transition, but a cultural experience that can be structurally integrated into any Italian Studies Program.”

From the left: Domenica Russo, Teresa Fiore, Maria Gliozzi (Co-Founder and Director of the American Initiative For Italian Culture - a sponsor of the Bridge Award), and Oscar Guevara-Perez.
From the left: Domenica Russo, Teresa Fiore, Maria Gliozzi (Co-Founder and Director of the American Initiative For Italian Culture – a sponsor of the Bridge Award), and Oscar Guevara-Perez.