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Canada 150


      Un Momento with Giulia De Gasperi

      Jun. 15, 2016

      Giulia De GasperiGiulia De Gasperi is a dynamic and passionate author advocate. She is hardworking and very active in both the Canadian and Italian literary scene. She is currently the Vice-President of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers where she works tirelessly to support writers and provide them with opportunities to share their work to a larger audience. Giulia is also the owner of Radici Translation and Wordcraft, a company that builds bridges between Canadian writers and the Italian publishing world. We should pay attention to Giulia De Gasperi because her new exciting projects will, without a doubt, be some of the best additions to our growing body of literature.

      What is Radici Translation and Wordcraft?

      Radici Translation and Wordcraft was born about six months ago, in November 2015. It offers a variety of writing services to Canadian and Italian authors.

      I see Radici T&W as a bridge between Canada and Italy (for now, because I believe there is always room for expansion). This bridge helps authors and their works to be translated and published in Canada, if they are Italians, and in Italy, if they are Canadians. Radici T&W specializes in translation proposals of literary works and aims at increasing the numbers of Canadian books translated into Italian and vice versa. But Radici T&W offers other writing services in English and Italian: evaluation of manuscripts, editing, proofreading, discussion and development of book ideas. I do not like the words “representation” and “agent”. I think both words are now saturated with negative connotations. They intimidate emerging authors and they annoy publishers. I like to call myself a “literary matchmaker” because that is exactly what I do: I find the best match for an author and his or her work, be it in Canada or in Italy or in both countries. You could say I am an advocate for the writers, authors and artists in whom I believe. We all know the current state of the publishing world; it is undergoing tremendous pressure to adapt to an ever-changing market and to rapidly respond to demands and requests. They are telling us no one reads any longer, there is no interest in the written word, in books, hence in publishers and bookstores, but I do not believe in any of this. What I see is a resurgence of interest, of love, and passion for and belief in the dynamic spark of humanity’s creativity. I am happy to be part of this new wave of thinking outside the box, of trying new innovative ways to put authors, writers, and books back where they belong. At the centre of our lives and our hearts.

      Are Italians really interested in Canadian literature?

      Italians have a deep passion and interest for everything foreign, especially when it comes to literary works. They admire English, American and French literatures and have opened up to literary productions from other countries as well. Radici T&W wants to help raise awareness and interest of the beautifully vast, diverse and unique literature produced in Canada that goes well beyond the already well-known and established authors.

      There are also very strong ties between Canada and Italy, fostered by the active Italian-Canadian communities spread all over the country. Let’s not forget that, based on the 2011 Census, Italians are the sixth largest ethnic group in Canada and that Italian is still a widely spoken language within our country’s borders.

      Translations of Italian works into English and/or French and of Canadian works in Italian can only enhance our nation’s mandate for multiculturalism and strengthen mutual understanding, support both literary output and offer possibilities for collaboration and co-operation.

      What are you asked most often by Italians about Canadian literature?

      In the Italian collective imagination, Canada is still very much a land of endless green spaces with lakes and wild nature. When it comes to people they see them amassed in the big metropolis: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal… When they speak of these cities, they more often than not, mentioned a relative or a friend that emigrated there. Canadian literature is still much of a mystery, overshadowed by English and American authors. I was exposed to Canadian Literature during my undergraduate and graduate studies and it was my choice because I had been an exchange student to Canada during high school. Still my choice. I think Canada and its literature have so much to offer but people even within Canadian borders do not seem to know their own country’s tremendous literary output. There is so much potential and talent to unleash and that is why I decided to start Radici Translation and Wordcraft.

      What do you look for in a great writer?

      Words that make me fall in love with the story. Words that make me cry, laugh, jump, sigh, long to turn the page, to reach the end, even though it is always difficult to close a book. Of course, I look for excellent writing skills, a great plot, originality, creativity and first and foremost a plot that Italians or Canadians will find interesting. Not everything I read is going to be proposed for translation. Perhaps not today, but tomorrow is always a new day because I like to push the limits, proposing at times works that might not fall into a specific category or the current trend because my job is also that of helping shaping interests and looking outside the box.

      A great writer to me is also a person I can easily approach. If I end up translating his or her entire work, I need to be able to ask questions and clarifications in order to do the best work possible.

      What is the most difficult part about translating from English to Italian?

      I find English to be a direct, straightforward language. Italian can be wordy. What you can say in a couple of words, we can say in a couple of lines. I think the most difficult thing about translation in general is on one hand respecting the style of the author and on the other translating as if you weren’t. The translation shouldn’t look or sound like a translation.

      You also manage an online magazine, What is its main focus? is actually managed by Fabio Brotto who graciously gave me access to Bibliosofia/Canada. I ran this online literary journal for a few years and before me there was Licia Canton, for example. It was founded by Egidio Marchese and its focus was translating literary works of Canadian minority groups into Italian in order to raise awareness of their presence and production in the Canadian literary world at large. I managed Bibliosofia/Canada with co-editor Elettra Bedon who helped read, choose and translate works. It was through Bibliosofia/Canada that the first seed was planted for Radici Translation and Wordcraft. What could I do to increase the numbers of literary works translated and published in both Canada and Italy?

      What topic in the Italian Canadian narrative do you think needs more exploring?

      I have been involved with the Association of Italian Canadian Writers for a number of years now. We have about 100 members, most of them writers and artists who greatly contribute to the literary communities of both Canada and Italy. I am quite familiar with what Italian Canadian authors are writing about and I can tell you they are exploring every aspect and facet of life. And they are doing so through every single literary genre. I think Italian Canadian authors are leaving a mark in the fabric of Canadian literature, a mark that can no longer be ignored.

      What advice do you have for writers who want to see their work translated in Italian?

      To be very, very patient. Italian publishers are known to be extremely difficult to approach; it is almost impossible to receive an answer from them. It takes a lot of time to build relationships and have direct access to the editors who evaluate proposals. That is why I have a partner in Italy, Carla Casazza, who has run a literary agency for many many years and has connections. I have to say that I have been lucky because the publishers I have approached so far have all responded and I am already building my own personal contact list.

      I tend to work with small and medium sized publishers because they are more present and approachable and they seem more interested in working with and for the authors and their books.

      Writers should also not get upset if I do not accept his or her book. Even though I might love the story and the style, I need to evaluate it from an Italian perspective. If I don’t think Italians will be interested or will be able to relate to the story, then I might not accept the book. But as I stated earlier, times and trends change very quickly and what doesn’t work today, might be a huge hit tomorrow.

      Trust is another important component. I know what I need to do and I always do the best I can, but what I cannot do is guarantee success because it doesn’t all depend on me. The proposal could end up on the desk of an intern having a bad day or of an editor who doesn’t like the theme, the style, the title. It is all so subjective and luck is another big component of the process. In the same way, the first publisher who reads the proposal could love it right away and the search would be over.

      So to sum up. A writer needs to be patient, trusting and realistic.

      I do the rest: I am persistent and resilient, despite the lack of responses and the ups and downs of a business like Radici T&W. I only accept books that I think have a chance and for those books and their authors I do my utmost.

      What advice do you have for students pursuing a career in translation?

      I am not going to discourage them if that is their calling, but I need to let them know it is a challenging profession. I feel strongly about the new translation options available that make a translator do the work for free now and get paid, maybe, later. I feel it is detrimental to the profession and it also does not provide good quality work or foster the establishment of a relationship between author and translator. Translating is a work of art that should not be contaminated by the constant need of today’s society to have everything done yesterday and for free.

      Someone walking into this profession needs to be aware of the current situation. It has never been easy but lately, I think, the market has gotten more complicated, and not for the better.

      As an individual who believes in sustaining the power of literature through the integrity of translation, I would like to work towards correcting this because I think a translator is a profession just like any other and should be treated with respect just like any other.

      What project are you working on now that excites you the most?

      I am excited about all the projects I am working on. I have been lucky because requests are pouring in and I am very touched by the trust I have been invested with.

      However, when I think about this project in particular I picture two individuals engaging in a metaphorical dance between one another. I have been watching this writer with interest for quite a long time but we have only previously discussed possibilities without ever finalizing anything. I find that in order to gain each other’s trust you need to show you are a hard worker, whose professionalism is based on delivering results. So, as soon as I began sharing my first accomplishments, I felt it was the right time to approach this author again. Everything seemed to fall into place after that. We signed the agreement, I prepared the proposal, the sample translation, I made a few enquiries in Italy and the other day I sent the proposal to a publisher I believe is the perfect fit. Now we have to wait. But I have a good feeling the match will happen. I can’t disclose names as you know but keep an eye on Radici Translation and Wordcraft Facebook page where I share all my good news and updates on projects:

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