La Trobe
Maher 2014 Mysterious Case of Theory and Practice (JosTrans).pdf (272.48 kB)
Download file

The mysterious case of theory and practice: crime fiction and collaborative translation

Download (272.48 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-05, 04:13 authored by Brigid MaherBrigid Maher © 2014 University of Roehampton. All rights reserved. This article focuses on the process of collectively translating a short text by Carlo Lucarelli, a prominent Italian crime writer. Lucarelli’s novels explore a range of problems affecting contemporary Italian society, including corruption, state violence and organised crime. Consequently they are deeply rooted in their culture of origin, while also fitting into a recognisable globalised genre. This makes Lucarelli’s writing a challenge to translate while also, potentially, making it quite marketable in translation, since it can hold considerable appeal for overseas audiences. I reflect on the translation challenges from both theoretical and practical perspectives. The practical angle is based on my experience leading a group of translators, together with Lucarelli himself, at the 2013 Translation Winter School, dedicated to crime fiction, in Melbourne. Over a number of days, workshop participants prepared a consensus translation of an excerpt of Lucarelli’s work, exploring practical solutions to questions of intertextuality, genre, audience expectations and culture-specific references. By analysing the process of experimentation and debate that group translation sets off, I investigate the crucial but sometimes neglected interaction that can take place between theory and practice as a piece of Italian crime fiction is reworked for an Anglophone (even Australian) audience. I also explore the many benefits of collaborative translation.


Publication Date



The Journal of Specialised Translation




15p. (p. 132-146)


Roehampton University



Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.