METM22 presentation

Fathoming Friulian and the unexpected gains in my work as a translator

Hayley Smith, Pordenone, Italy

The first part of this talk will introduce attendees to Friulian, a minority language spoken in Friuli Venezia Giulia (north-east Italy), little-known beyond its regional borders. I will share my personal experience of living and working in the region and learning the language formally (at evening classes) and informally (from football stands to the dinner table).

The aim is to spark attendees’ curiosity by delving into the language, exploring how it functions, how it is influenced by Italian and how it feels to a native English speaker. With the help of etymological titbits and toponyms, I will provide some brief cultural and historical context and look at how the local authorities are working to preserve and promote it, from schooling to social media, plus some of the threats it faces.

The second will focus on how knowledge of Friulian has unexpectedly benefitted my professional work when translating from Italian into English for clients based in the region and how it has helped build relations with those clients. I will also explore how my experience of learning Friulian has led me to a new translation specialism in local tourism. Attendees will be invited to consider how knowledge of a minority language can be turned into a unique selling point.

I will use slides, images, audio/video content and links for further reading, as well as physical props to add a personal touch. 

This talk reflects three of MET’s key objectives: communicating knowledge to improve quality, exchanging information and exploring the role of local expertise. It may be of particular interest to Italianists or other professionals living and working somewhere a minority language is spoken. All METM attendees with an interest in language and culture are welcome.
[Read a member’s review of the presentation.]

About the presenter

Hayley Smith is an Italian and French into English translator, editor and proofreader working in-house in Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy). Celebrating 10 years in the profession this year and almost as many living in Italy, she hopes to share her love for one particular minority language at METM22.