Foto del docente

Christopher Rundle

Professore ordinario

Dipartimento di Interpretazione e Traduzione

Settore scientifico disciplinare: L-LIN/12 LINGUA E TRADUZIONE - LINGUA INGLESE

Direttore Dipartimento di Interpretazione e Traduzione

Temi di ricerca

Parole chiave: storia della traduzione metodologia della ricerca storica sulla traduzione traduzione sotto il fascismo traduzione nel Italia fascista traduzione sotto il communismo storia del fascismo storia dell'editoria formazione dei sottoitolatori formazione dei traduttori sottotitolaggio in Italia musica e traduzione

[in inglese]

(i) The history of translation under totalitarian regimes

Any totalitarian system will need to decide how it intends to engage with the ‘outside’, be this within the nationalist perspective of a fascist regime, or within an internationalist perspective of a communist regime. Engaging with other nations/cultures inevitably also involves translation: so examining these regimes from a translation perspective can provide valuable insight into how they define themselves with respect to the ‘other’ and offer new insight into their history.

Fascist Italy
I have published extensively on translation in Fascist Italy, in particular the monograph Publishing Translations in Fascist Italy (Peter Lang, 2010), which has been translated into Italian with the title, Il vizio dell’esterofilia. Editoria e traduzioni nell’Italia fascista (Carocci, 2019). In my research I have shown that translation was not only important in Fascist Italy because it provided the cultural elite with a means of relief from the rather stifling cultural climate of 1930s Italy, but also – and perhaps principally – because a boom in (mostly Anglo-American) translated popular fiction transformed the publishing industry and provoked a violent reaction on the part of those in the literary establishment who felt threatened by these changes. I have also shown that, contrary to what one might have expected, the regime did not intervene against translations until just two years before its collapse.

What characterizes my approach in much of this research is that I actively engage with, and try to contribute to, the historiography of Fascist Italy. As I argue in my methodological writing (see below), it is my belief that translation studies can contribute much to other disciplines if, as I try to do in the case of history, we are prepared to engage with their discourse.

European fascism
Along with my research on Fascist Italy I have also taken a more comparative interest in translation in other fascist regimes. Together with Kate Sturge, I co-edited the volume Translation Under Fascism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) which brings together research on Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Francoist Spain and Salazarist Portugal. The aim of this volume was to adopt an approach that made historical research on translation accessible to non-TS scholars, especially historians. More recently, I have published an article which explores this comparative perspective in greater depth: “Translation and fascism” (2018). What emerges from this comparison is a correlation between fully-realized fascism, official racism and policies which actively targeted translations.

European communism
Intended as a sister volume to Translation Under Fascism, I have recently co-edited Translation Under Communism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) with Anne Lange and Daniele Monticelli (University of Tallinn). The idea in this volume is to adopt the same approach as the volume on fascism and to try to contribute new insights into the history of European communism through the perspective of translation. One key difference of the history of translation under communism, with respect to translation under fascism, is a much closer and more ideological focus in communist regimes on the aesthetics of translation, which were expected to align themselves with the official aesthetics of social realism.

(ii) Theory and methodology of translation history; establishing translation history as a sub-discipline

Theoretical discussion on translation history
On the basis of my experience doing historical research into translation in totalitarian regimes, I have tried to contribute to the theoretical discussion on the history of translation and interpreting. My aim has also been to increase the visibility of translation history and to contribute to the development of a recognizable research area within TS with its own research methods and theoretical discourse. This has led to a series of articles; a special issue of The Translator which I guest-edited on “Theories and methodologies of translation history” (2014); and most recently the Routledge Handbook of Translation History (Routledge, 2021) which I edited.

Book series
As part of my effort to promote translation and interpreting history, I have recently launched a dedicated book series which I edit together with Pekka Kujamäki (University of Graz): Routledge Research on Translation and Interpreting History:

History and Translation Network
Also in collaboration with Pekka Kujamäki and a Steering Group of international scholars, I have recently launched an international network of translation and interpreting historians: the History and Translation Network ( Here too, the aim is to consolidate translation history as a clearly identifiable sub-discipline within TS; to promote all forms of collaboration between translation historians; and to enhance interdisciplinary dialogue with the ‘traditional’ disciplines and encourage non-TS historians to take note of the research being done within TS.

Further editing projects
As an extension of my work on the metadiscourse of translation history, I have recently completed The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Methodology, which I co-edited with Federico Zanettin (Routledge, 2022); and I am currently working on The Routledge Handbook of the History of Translation Studies, co-edited with Anne Lange and Daniele Monticelli (forthcoming in 2023).

(iii) Audiovisual translation and subtitling; translator training

Subtitle Project: Subtitler training
When I regularly taught courses on subtitling and was coordinator of the subtitling module of the DIT’s Masters in Audiovisual Translation, I took an active research interest in subtitling, with a particular focus on subtitler training, subtitling standards, and the Italian subtitling industry. I coordinated a research project (assegno di ricerca) which looked into subtitling practices in Italy, with a view to informing our training practices at the university (see details below). My article “The Subtitle Project” (2008) describes the contribution made to this project by a group of students writing their final dissertation and reflects on the educational benefits of involving students in this way.

SDH Project: Television subtitles for the deaf and HoH
Following on from the Subtitle Project, I was also coordinator of a research project (assegno di ricerca) on television subtitling for the deaf and HoH in Italy, entitled SDH Project (see details below). The purpose of the project was to draw up a series of quality guidelines that were tailored to the Italian market and that took into consideration both the realistic possibilities of the suppliers of these services and the legitimate expectations of their beneficiaries.

Translator training
I also took an interest in the contribution that working on subtitles can make to translator training courses, which have been one of my main teaching responsibilities throughout my career, and I published an article on a didactic software that I developed and my experience using it in the classroom with translation students.

(iv) Translation, dialect and music

 My interest in audiovisual translation has also extended to an interest in the translation of dialect, or so-called ‘minority’ languages. I have co-edited two special issues for inTRAlinea on this subject with Giovanni Nadiani and Michela Giorgio Marrano in 2009 and 2012. I have also co-written an article with Giovanni Nadiani (2016) which reflects on the artistic collaboration we developed around our mutual multimedia translation of each other’s ‘dialects’: a process we defined as “trans-staging” in which Giovanni Nadiani translated the American songs I sang into Romagnolo dialect, while I composed original songs inspired by his poems in Romagnolo using the musical language of the blues.

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