Ruggero Bianchin

The Tretis of the tua Mariit Wemen in Italian and French: A comparison of translated terms of abuse and low language

Older Scots poetry has been rarely translated in Romance languages, making its most representative works less available to native speakers of e.g. Italian, French or Spanish; moreover, most translations are either out of print or difficult to obtain. William Dunbar’s The Tretis of the Tua Mariit Wemen and the Wedo is, to date, the only text from that literary canon for which full translations in different Romance languages have been published (in Italian and French), making it possible to compare the different outcomes. This study is part of a wider PhD project which analyses systematically, for the first time, the register and vocabulary adopted in the few translations available from Older Scots to Latinate languages, by focusing on the etymology and use of both the original poems’ and the translated texts’ lexicon. In this paper, which is based upon preliminary results from my MPhil thesis, I aim to focus on The Tretis’s ‘terms of abuse’, arguably one of the poem’s most important semantic domains: the rhetorical and phonaesthetic functions they hold in the original alliterative structure will be contrasted with their translated counterparts’, which are employed in prose-like target texts that conversely feature little or no alliteration. By analysing these specific aspects, I aim to highlight the translators’ influence in shaping the ‘voice’ of Older Scots in foreign languages and the way readers of the translated texts may perceive its works.

Ruggero Bianchin, University of Glasgow, Scotland