Giocare sull’errore traducendo in italiano la saga del Prince de Motordu di Pef


  • Catia Nannoni Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna



Pef, Motordu, wordplays, paronomasia, language errors, visual constraints, Italian translation


This article analyses a case study that examines issues of error and creativity in both the original and the translation of Pef’s series of illustrated children’s books Prince de Motordu (first published in 1980). These have not yet been published in Italian, but have been the subject of translation workshops and master’s dissertations under my supervision at the University of Bologna for a number of years. The originals use wordplay to depict a bizarre defect in the protagonist’s language, which deforms and contorts words (hence the anthroponym “Motordu,” or “mot tordu,” from “tordre les mots”), producing errors designed to amuse the reader and which show a regularity of construction (almost always based on paronomasia) and intent (to represent language disorders frequent in children and to propose a playful method of dealing with them). The translation projects based on these works seek to recreate wordplays on errors, activating strategies that in turn risk appearing as translation errors and not as divergent choices which are motivated and necessary, as well as conditioned by the further constraint of the images present in the originals. These experiences make it possible to affirm that the Italian version has a globally satisfactory rendering and effect with respect to the use of wordplay, whether phonetic or semantic, whose rules it tries to share with a certain degree of freedom, yet sometimes weakening, out of necessity, the connections between the verbal and iconic components and often resorting to verbal invention. From a didactic perspective, the translation is not always as effective as the original (in particular in relation to phonetic discrimination), even though it offers adequate material for working on more general aspects of the language, in order to learn or reinforce reading-writing skills.



How to Cite

Nannoni, C. (2023). Giocare sull’errore traducendo in italiano la saga del Prince de Motordu di Pef. MediAzioni, 38(1), A148-A168.