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Reframing Realities through Translation

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Edited By Ali Almanna and Juan José Martínez Sierra

This volume affords an opportunity to reconsider international connections and conflicts from the specific standpoint of translation as a dynamic, sociocultural activity, carried out and influenced by numerous stakeholders. The various chapters contained in this volume survey a wide range of languages and cultures, and they all pivot around the relationships that can be established between translation and ideology, re-narration, identity, cultural representation and knowledge reproduction. The ultimate aim is to shed light on the actual act of translating in which the self is well-presented and beautified and the other is deformed and made ugly. In this volume, due consideration is given to the main frames (be they characterization, interpretive or identity frames) as well as to the nonverbal factors that play a fundamental role in forming the final shape of the translated product.
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3 Negotiating Identity in Self-Translation: Stereotyping and National Character in the Speeches in English of Italy’s Ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (Valeria Reggi)

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Valeria Reggi

3 Negotiating Identity in Self-Translation: Stereotyping and National Character in the Speeches in English of Italy’s Ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

Introduction

When Matteo Renzi was appointed Prime Minister in February 2014, he had already served as the mayor of his native Florence for five years and had authored several books in which he advocated a radical change in Italian politics and administration. The youngest Prime Minister in the history of the Italian Republic, selected not from among the members of Parliament but from the party ranks, he focused his political campaign on iconoclastic innovation; so much so that he used to define himself as demolition man (Renzi 2011). To carry out his political project, Renzi largely relied on his skills as communicator and adopted an informal style that appealed to feelings and emotions and revealed his familiarity with marketing techniques (Bordignon 2014).

As he was used to improvising, he was often not supported by interpreters. Consequently, his communication frequently took a more conversational turn, especially during interaction with the audience, during which he made extensive use of hand gestures, facial expressions, jokes, interferences of the Italian language (calques), mistranslations and allusions. Thus, both verbal and nonverbal resources contributed to reproducing and playing with a commonplace view of Italy that dramatically contradicted his statements of intention. This underlying narration is particularly noticeable in his speeches in English addressed to a general audience.

Following the accepted conceptualization that discourse is...

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