Edited by Claudia V. Angelelli
[Benjamins Current Topics 66] 2014
► pp. 73–92
Italy’s other Mafia
A journey into cross-cultural translation
Following its translation into more than thirty languages, Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction novel Gomorrah [Gomorra], has unveiled to a vast number of readers across the globe the endless saga of Naples’ crime syndicate, the Camorra (from which the book’s title derives its bitter play on words). Literary critics and reviewers in the UK and in the U.S. have widely acclaimed Saviano’s talent in depicting the corruption plaguing Naples’ gloomy and degraded hinterland, although the sociocultural context portrayed in Gomorrah is naturally distant from the repertoire of the target culture: the text is widely populated by culture-bound concepts and implicit meanings, which further complicates the translation process. Through a contrastive analysis of the Italian and English versions of the exposé, this study explores the strategies employed in translating the voices and deeds of Naples’ mobsters, as well as the socioeconomic setting of the Camorra. With reference to types of non-equivalence between the two language versions, this article investigates to what extent the English translation contributes to the identity-building process of the Camorra as a separate and far more deadly criminal organization vis-à-vis the Sicilian Mafia.