From truth to honesty: migration, writing and self-translation

09 Nov 2015, by cp14603 in News

20th October 2015, 18.00

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Faculdade de Ciências Humanas


Loredana Polezzi, Cardiff University

From truth to honesty: migration, writing and self-translation

Traditional models of translation are deeply associated with the language of faithfulness and betrayal, while travel accounts, like all factual writing, are often judged on their authenticity. Yet migrant authors often opt for forms which eschew factuality and, while built on experiences of mobility and self-translation, rejects superficial notions of accuracy and truth. Focusing on examples taken from the Italian context, the paper will examine the way in which the writing of migration, in its variable shapes, performs a minoritizing gesture which moves the contract between author and reader away from truth (as a moral criterion) and realism (as an aesthetic form). Instead, I will argue, the migrant as minority writer is anchored to an ethics of honesty which finds its references in gestures such as the gift and speech acts such as the promise.


Loredana Polezzi was invited to give a plenary talk on translation ethics at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa on 20th October. The title of her talk was ‘From Truth to Honesty: Migration, Writing and Self-Translation’. She also took part in the programme of events for the ‘Settimana della lingua italiana’, co-organized by the Católica and the Italian Cultural Institute in Lisbon, with a seminar devoted to ‘I percorsi transnazionali della canzone italiana’. Both events were open to staff, students and the general public.



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