A seminar on the translation of artificial languages ​​will be held at the University of Parma, held by Prof. Michela Canepari, which will focus on the languages ​​created for the works of Tolkien, Orwell and Star Wars.

Tolkien's conquest of Italian universities continues!

After writing course su The Hobbit by Wu Ming 4 and the conference Tolkien and fourth age literature (which we mentioned Thu) held at the University of Trento, now it's up toUniversity of Parma.

Indeed, Wednesday 13 March the Prof.ssa Michelle Canepari, teacher of English Language and Translation, will hold the seminar From JRR Tolkien and Anthony Burgess to Star Wars: Translating Artificial Languages, which will focus precisely on the translation of artificial languages ​​in literature and cinema. THU you can find the announcement of Unipr.

Let's take a closer look at the question!

Artificial languages ​​and representation of the different: the topics of the seminar

As reported in this Valérie Morisi's article on the AIST website, the seminar held by Michela Canepari will not only focus on Tolkien and her conlang (another term for artificial languages), but precisely on the general use of these non-natural languages ​​and on their translation.

In fact, from a linguistic point of view, artificial languages ​​are not excessively interesting, since they tend not to show new linguistic phenomena, but instead are the expression of the creator's knowledge and linguistic sensitivity. So, if by now everything has been said about the morphosyntax and the lexicon of the various Tolkien Elves, the way they are used it could still reveal some surprises.

In fact, it must be said that i conlang are extremely important for the characterization of narrative universes and the different cultures or policies present. Consequently, a translator will have to exercise particular caution when translating an artificial language into Italian, since he must make sure of having grasped all the cultural implications of these conlang.

In the Parma seminar, therefore, Canepari should focus mainly on the Italian translation of artificial literary languages, starting with the Newspeak in 1984 by George Orwell, passing through Nadsat in Arancia meccanica by Anthony Burgess, up to the many languages ​​created by Tolkien, also briefly dwelling on the alien languages ​​of Star Wars.

The Aurebesh alphabet from Star Wars
The Aurebesh alphabet of Star Wars

Alien artificial languages: the precedent of Star Wars

In this sense, Michela Canepari will resume the themes that she had already exposed to XXVIII AIA Conference, i.e. the conference of the Italian Anglistics Association (AIA) of 2017. This interventioninstead, it was called Translating Artificial Languages ​​on Science Fiction Films and Television Shows in which, while quoting Tolkien, Canepari concentrated mainly on the role that artificial languages ​​had in science fiction, especially if used in connection with alien races to characterize its cultural and physical diversity.

The teacher, therefore, had introduced the topic by speaking of Klingon of Star Trek and the Martian of Mars Attacks!, but later focused on the various alien languages ​​found in Star Wars, then from the Standard Galactic Basic (written in the Aurebesh alphabet) to Droidspeak, up to Gungan and Ewok.

According to Canepari, in the films of Star Wars translated and dubbed into Italian the audio-visual translation of these artificial languages ​​is not particularly satisfactory. In fact, it seems that the Italian surrender tends to obscure the characteristics and implications that these conlang they would have at a linguistic, cultural and philosophical level.

On March 13, however, we will see what Canepari will say about the translation of Tolkien's languages ​​into Italian: Will they be adequate or have they left many important meanings and implications on the street?

Logistics and general information

The seminar From JRR Tolkien and Anthony Burgess to Star Wars: Translating Artificial Languages will be held on Wednesday 13 March, from 15.30 17.00At the 'classroom Miazzi / Magna of the Language and Literature Area of ​​the Department of Humanities, Social and Cultural Enterprises (DUSIC), in Viale San Michele 9.

Admission is obviously free and free, as is typical of the university, but will be held in English language.

The AIST website is keen to remind you that if a high school teacher if you would like to bring your class to hear the seminar, it is important to notify the secretary of the Department in time, by calling 0521 034711 or 0521 905110, or by writing to the address [email protected]

If any of you readers manage to follow this beautiful initiative, let us know!

Department in San Michele area (source)
Department in San Michele area (source)