Some time ago, I’ve been asked to translate in italian a french brochure of information and prevention about sexual assault and consent, that would be available on the website.
I never really did a real translation of a text that would be public after, but the idea was very interesting. The thing that is difficult when you translate a text about a social topic, is understanding the culture of the country. And for me, Italy is a country I know very well, but I’m not really informed about modern issues like sexual assault.
So after some reflection, I decided to accept this project, because it could help me to open my knowledge about the culture of a country that I really like, and also to concentrate me on a topic that affects me.
But you can’t start a translation without being informed first on the topic. Like when you have to write a paper for homework, you always start with some research. Well this is what I’ve started doing, but about sexual assault, especially in Italy. Because a social issue is always seen in a different way in every country.
And I’m sure you are in the same position as I was. I invite you do to some research about a random country, or one that you like, and see how the situation is about sexual assault. And I’m sure you will notice that it’s a very different mentality, a different way to handle this issue than you home country.
So my first work was to understand this new mentality, to search how women, sexism and violence are seen. Looking if it’s a common subject or instead something taboo. In fact I had to become italian, to understand not only what was currently going on but also what lead to this, years and years of history. And the point is that form the first research, I quickly realized that my work will be harder than I thought.
I simply done some basic research like : sexual assault in Italy, consent definition, statistics about everything related to this topic. And what surprised me is the lack of information, compared to France. So you see, just with those simple research on the internet you can understand the difference in the way of treating this argument.
So after this consideration, you need to understand how you can translate the text based on the way the subject is handled in this particular country. I couldn’t do a literary translation of the original french text, because it was written for french people, that have a different mentality. So I tried to find sentences more subtle, changing some words that are more appropriate for an italian, always keeping in mind that I’m talking to someone from another culture.
Now that I’ve done it I can say that I’m really happy of my work, it really helped me to open my mind to another vision, it forced me to get out of my comfort zone. I’m also proud of it because for me information and prevention are the key of fighting sexual assault, and we did it in our way.
And it can take many forms, not only a brochure. You can do a video clip, a poster, a song, a text, a drawing, etc… So I invite you to share your point of view, with your own culture. And I’m sure together we can do something bigger. Of course I know it’s not our little project that will change everything, but we are starting something, and maybe it will help people, even if it’s just one it’s already something accomplished.