Because a lot of people criticize the translation of Ottavio Fatica de The Fellowship of the Ring without having read it? And why isn't that a good idea?

Now, let's say it again: anything that revolves around JRR Tolkien is an arena of controversy. We have seen it very often.

Tolkien's opinion of the Nazis generates controversy. The animated film about The Lord of the Rings generates controversy. The criticisms of the old Italian translation de The Lord of the Rings generate complaints. Even just the announcement of the new translation of The Lord of the Rings generates controversy.

It is normal for the new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring, Edited by Ottavio Fatica and finally published by Bompiani, genres of controversy. Many names have been retranslated, some getting better and some getting worse (of course it is). The poems have been retranslated and adapted, some remaining as soft as in language, others less so.

It is absolutely normal and lawful that the new translation of Fatigue does not please everyone or in any case does not like it in its entirety. It's fine to discuss the translator's choices, point out errors or inaccuracies, or propose your own alternatives.

However, I also note that in many, many are commenting on the translation of Fatigue by hearsay, for information out of context. Has Samwise been translated into Samplicio? Horror! Does the Poem of the Ring translate "lie" to "conceal themselves"? Very mistaken, bring the noose! In the new translation, is Bilbo's birthday eleven hundred and not eleventh? Are we kidding ?! Sam's father says Bilbo to his son "learned the letters"? Surely it is an error of Fatigue because it is ignorant!

In general, the discussion is permeated by constant general indignation, often not even supported by a direct reading of the translation of Fatica. Or the original text. O of Appendix F of the old editions of The Lord of the Rings.

Let's take a closer look at these controversies, explain why they make little sense and why they should be avoided.

Ottavio Fatica will populate your nightmares, judging you?
Ottavio Fatica will populate your nightmares, judging you?

We still know too little about the translation of Fatigue

Among other things, it must also be taken into account that we do not know why Fatica translated The Fellowship of the Ring in this way. We do not know exactly what the logic behind its linguistic choices is. This because Fatigue, de facto, hasn't opened his mouth yet and hasn't released a single interview.

We partially know the logic behind its translation de The Lord of the Rings, or the greater adherence to Tolkien's style. In fact, the previous Alliata-Principe translation, as they also claimed other local scholars, he took many freedoms.

For convenience, we will list just a few here. For example, Vittoria Alliata often translated a single English word with a pair of Italian terms, making the original text much more verbose. Sometimes, he merged Tolkien's short sentences into very long Ciceronian periods, even passing entire phrases from one sentence to another in a completely arbitrary way. Also, Alliata used only the literary standard Italian (if you don't know what that means, take a look at Sociolinguistics of contemporary Italian by G. Berruto, 2012!), thus ignoring all the linguistic peculiarities of hobbit speech, and especially that of the less educated half-men.

In short, the old translation had significant problems and, though it flowed well, some of his choices were at least questionable. So certainly the new translation wanted to distance it as much as possible, ignoring what was written by Alliata and Principe and starting from scratch, based only on Tolkien's text.

However, perhaps we will have the opportunity to better comment on the choices made by Fatica after he explains his reasons. I keep waiting.

The new cover of The Fellowship of the Ring, with the translation of Fatica
The new cover of The Fellowship of the Ring, with the translation of Fatigue

From the first conspiracies to the Poetry of the Ring: the translation of Fatigue under attack regardless

In the magical world of the web there has been terrorism on this new translation for months. We kindly draw a merciful veil on the accusations, made by Vittoria Alliata, of Fatica of wanting to distort the meaning of Tolkien's work, according to the dictates of a mysterious LGBT lobby.

We will not even link to the numerous sites that were unleashed at the revelation of the Poetry of the Ring translated by Fatica. As important as these verses may be, in fact, it makes absolutely no sense to judge the translation of a prose book on the basis of the rendering of a poem. Moreover, without even benefiting from a comment from the translator, on whose statements it would then have been possible to build a criticism with knowledge of the facts.

The commentary on the translation of the Poem of the Ring

If someone had the decency and common sense to wait, they could have read at least the commentary on the translation of the Poem of the Ring written by Wu Ming 4 (who has been a reader and consultant for Fatigue in recent months) a this link.

There, in fact, it is emphasized that the translation of the lineIn the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie"In"In the Land of Mordor where Shadows are hidden“, Which has caused so much confusion and outrage, is not a casual whim. Of course, lie could have been translated with to laybut nevertheless conceal it is not wrong, since it takes up another meaning (certainly known to Tolkien!) of lie, that is "to remain in a state of inactivity or concealment"(See Oxford English Dictionary). Therefore, saw that the servants of Sauron are de facto hidden in Mordor for a long time before being revealed, this meaning of lie it makes sense in the context in which it is placed, and therefore also they are hidden it's correct.

Yet, before this examination, the comments of those who condemned the translation of Fatica, comparing it to the obscene work done by Cannarsi with Evangelion, floated! Today we read (perhaps) less just because the public's attention has shifted to other issues, which we will discuss shortly. However, I am not sure how much previous commentators (and commentators) have read this discussion, perhaps to get a clearer idea on the matter.

Rest assured that Sam is fine
Rest assured that Sam is fine

Samwise translated with Samplicio: the new bogeyman of the web

As I said, the Poetry of the Ring has recently taken a back seat, above all because new issues have been found to be indignant about, often without knowledge of the facts.

Today the main theme is Samwise "Sam" Gamgee translated as "Samplicio". “Oh my God, Samplicio is awful! Are we kidding ?! Tell me that's not true! CANNARSI! "

Now, I have read about people, whom you also know but whose name I will not mention, who accuse Fatigue of having distorted the nature of Sam's name. In fact, according to these people, the name Samwise should give the idea of ​​a wise person, taking up the final "wise". So Samplicio, who reminds us of so much "simpleton", says the exact opposite!

However, things are different. Giampaolo Canzonieri, who was Fatica's main consultant for this translation, explained "Samplicio" on November 30, in this article. Canzonieri traces the history of the name Samwise, motivating the choice of Fatigue:

Anyone who is surprised by the replacement of Samvise with Samplicio should make a leap to "Appendix F" and rediscover that Sam's original hobbit name, Banazîr, means "Half-wise, simple ”, rendered by Tolkien with Samwise referring to the Anglo-Saxon samwís which has a very similar meaning.

Then, de facto Fatigue has correctly translated Sam's name, also keeping the initial syllable in order to create the nickname. Anyway inside The Fellowship of the Ring, Samwise / Samplicio is basically always called Sam, so I don't see how Samplicio can attempt to read the book.

The comments to Samplicio

Still, my bulletin board is jammed with similar comments today:

At this point it is mejo "Semghei" as in Lo Svarione degli Anelli!

How long The Svarione degli Anelli is a spectacular work, we do not think this is the case.

I propose to go to the bookstores to censor these re-editions to Cannarsi, let's get indelible black and go!

Surely censorship and scribbling on books are excellent reactions, not reactionary at all.

In English Samwise, Sam the Wise. Just Samplicio ... quite the opposite: So better Sagacio.

[...] Well then Simplicio, at least he exists

Fortunately, some heroes of our times have expertly replied to this:

Yes, and then you are with Sim Gamgee, the new telephone operator

The danger of the nostalgia effect: let's do a conscience analysis

The comments on the web these days, unfortunately, underline that we Italians have a problem with the critical analysis of the issues.

I understand that The Lord of the Rings is a work dear to all and all of us. Really, I understand. Tolkien has accompanied me all my life and for years I have endured the indignation of every Italian and English teacher to whom I have told that yes, my favorite author is Tolkien. Then in college I just stopped talking about Tolkien, because I had learned my lesson by now.

Anyway, back on the subject, I understand that one can be fond of the translation of the Alliata-Principe, because certain names still worked and the poems remade by Principe were beautiful. And most importantly, it was the first version we read.

The works change

But let's face it clearly: we nerds are very conservative. The first version we read of our favorite works is often the only one that we recognize as valid. If you found out Harry Potter when Hufflepuff was still there, you will never accept the more correct Hufflepuff. If you had read Harry Potter in English, all Italian names will probably make sense to you. If, like me, you read The philosopher's Stone when Black Pecor was still there, you must have felt weird to hear of Ravenclaw.

Yet, we must accept that the works change. The works change hands, are read, reread, interpreted, re-interpreted, translated and retranslated. The vision of the work will change over time, and you too will begin to love your favorite books for ever new reasons. People will write fanfiction on your favorite works, changing the plot, and it will have right to do so. Things change, there is nothing to be done. The only way not to change a work is to not let anyone read it anymore.

Now, it's up to The Lord of the Rings, which will be retranslated. This will not take the Alliata-Principe edition out of business. This will not spoil your childhood, like me hearing R2-D2 did not traumatize me after a childhood with C1-P8. I watched The Clone Wars and I got used to "Artoo".

Nostalgia effect: why don't we like the translation of Fatigue?

The translation of Fatigue will not spoil either The Lord of the Rings same, because the original will always exist. We and the rest of us, on the other hand, should try to don't let the nostalgia effect influence us too much, with a little voice that cries out against anything new that undermines our perfect childhood.

Let's understand, though: I'm not saying that if we suffer from the nostalgia effect we are insane. It is normal and human. For me the Veglio will always remain "the Gaffiere", I will not be able to think of him as "the Veglio", he is stronger than me. But this new Veglio is not killing the Gaffer, and above all he is not killing Tolkien's Gaffer. We can hold onto the memories of our past without being afraid of the new.

The important thing, in my opinion, is to ask ourselves: do we have a rejection for “il Veglio” because we don't like it, technically speaking, as a translation (maybe we would prefer “il Vecio”?), Or because he is not “our” Gaffiere? Don't take my words as an offense, but as an invitation to reflection.

Ottavio Fatica and Roberto Arduini at the Turin Book Fair, two years ago now
Ottavio Fatica and Roberto Arduini at the Turin Book Fair, two years ago now

Everyone knows how to do everyone's job: the problem of pre-reading judgments on the translation of Fatica

So let's talk about the sudden wave of translation experts who overwhelmed Facebook. The Cannarsi scandal probably gave everyone and all a few more tools to judge an adaptation, which is why anyone feels safer to talk about this topic. However, Cannarsi's is not a translation, as it was said, but an adaptation. Therefore, Cannarsi has little to do with the translation of Fatica.

Similarly, the opinions and skills of most of the people who comment, for better or for worse, the translation of Fatigue have little to do with it. We may all have some smattering of translation technique (or at least we believe we have it), yet very few of us have actually studied Translation (not Languages, which is different).

Are we sure we really know enough?

When I hear people, as in the comment below, appealing to musicality, I seriously wonder who said that the translation (of prose or poetry?) Must necessarily be musical. What if the author didn't want to be musical? Or did he not want to be musical in the same way that a verse in Italian is musical? After hearing so much about musicality from the most disparate individuals, I now wonder if this is no longer a concept that web critics repeat by imitation.

If we retranslate a poem or a book that has privileged Italian musicality over the original sense, do we want to do exactly the same exercise in style, or do we want to approach it with a different intention? If Fatica had to leave the names and poems of the Alliata-Principe unaltered, because they are now rooted in the Italian imagination and too dear to the fans, what's the point of making a new translation? Does a translator (and an author) really have to work with the feelings of the fans as a point of reference? Or perhaps it is more correct to focus on the legibility and correctness of the work?

I am a person who always thinks he knows nothing, even when I actually know something. That's why, the few times I know I know I care so much! And I realize that I am a bit in contrast with many Italians, who have the usual attitude according to which everyone knows how to do everyone's job. The problem is that it is not so. This does not mean that opinions cannot be obtained even on matters outside our field of competence.

Opinions are not insults

However, an opinion is not a bray which says that “Fatigue is a dog, because we do know how Tolkien translates! We sure would have done a better job! We are the fans! We read Tolkien at 10! "

The translation of Fatigue can be liked or not liked, can be criticized, can raise doubts. But from the doubts to "a monkey can do the same job as Fatigue" there is a certain difference:

Ok the closest translation to the original, but it's high school reasoning. A translation must be musical first of all. These have done the homework to get it from great translators, but even a monkey with a dictionary in hand does it. The goal is to give the translation the same poem as the original, not to get as close as possible to the language in which it is written. 

The importance of making sure you have an overview

But the most important thing is that we cannot guillotine the new translation in its entirety because we did not like the rendering of the Poetry of the Ring. We can't insult Fatica because we don't like Samplicio.

Apart from the fact that no, you could not and should not insult Fatigue regardless, but even if it were, it would not make sense to trash a book of 300 and pass pages for the first two lines. Especially if you don't know why in the second line of The Fellowship of the Ring it says eleventh and not one hundred eleventh, yet you still decide to close the book at that point and go to insult Fatica on Facebook.

You are not forced to read The Fellowship of the Ring translated by Fatigue, you are not obliged to appreciate or buy it. You can also decide not to read it based on the Poetry of the Ring: life is yours and you can spend your time as you see fit.

However, when you state your judgments on the translation of Fatigue as a whole, make sure you really read it. Make sure you have that minimum of intellectual honesty.

And if you want to argue your position by showing off your superior knowledge of Tolkien, make sure you really know Tolkien. Being a fan doesn't mean being an expert on Tolkien.

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