Translations| The Stimulating Challenges of Translating Contemporary Swiss German Poetry

Lucia Salvato


This article addresses the linguistic and cultural challenges that contemporary Swiss German poetry presented to an Italian translator. It is an outcome of a two-year experience of translating more than 100 short poems by Werner Lutz from German into Italian. The poems were translated based on a complementary twofold, seemingly contradictory approach comprising both a source-oriented viewpoint emphasizing nostalgia for the original and the unavoidable target-oriented perspective that stresses “an ultimate untranslatability” of many expressions. To highlight both aspects, the poetic language of Lutz is examined in terms of linguistic and cultural differences between German and Italian, and by presenting a comparative treatment of the translation problems.


translation studies, translating contemporary poetry, Swiss German poetry, Werner Lutz, negotiation, source-oriented approach, target-oriented approach

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