Translating Tourist Texts from Italian to English as a Foreign Language

Dominic Stewart (2012)

Publisher: Liguori. Place of publication: Napoli. ISBN 9788820756666. Pp. 142. Price: €14.99.

Reviewed by: Sara Laviosa

This textbook on Italian-English translation is a useful addition to existing manuals devoted to this particular language combination and translational direction, most notably Thinking Italian Translation (Hervey et al 2000).

What is the novelty of Stewart’s book? It is text-type specific, since it includes only tourist texts that “are intended for an international readership requiring information on places to visit in Italy (Stewart 2012: 2), and it is aimed at native and near-native speakers of Italian who are learning English at upper-intermediate or advanced level. I find this course book ideally suited for students attending B.A. Honours Degrees in Languages and Culture for Tourism at Italian universities because they generally undertake L2 English translations of tourist texts as a staple part of their language classes. Stewart’s student-centred textbook fills an important gap in this specialized area of course content and offers an invaluable teaching and learning tool that can be used effectively in the language and translation classroom as well as in the lab.

After a rich introduction, which enlists the main online resources that are needed to translate the proposed texts and details the pedagogic methodology adopted, the book is organized into 15 self-standing teaching units. Each unit presents first an abridged Italian source text, with each of its sentences numbered. The time recommended for the completion of the translation task is also indicated. Then, for each source text sentence the author provides a suggested translation that meets the criteria of accuracy and fluency. This is followed by an insightful discussion of the main problems actually encountered by students when rendering that particular sentence. For each of these authentic problems, the author provides an assessment of possible solutions based on an attentive and well documented use of a variety of resources. Stewart’s methodology fully recognizes the collective and individual contribution made by the students to the translation assignment. In unearthing the main sources of translation difficulty and the process underlying the search for appropriate renderings, the author enables the teacher and learner to become aware of common pitfalls and how to overcome them.

The book also provides the research-minded language and translation educator with interesting data concerning the linguistic and cultural challenges posed by the specialized register of the language of tourism. An example is the text-type-specific collocation suggestive escursioni which is rendered accurately and fluently in English with the equivalent expression wonderful excursions since the English adjective suggestive is a false friend of the Italian cognate suggestivo.

To conclude, the book is appealing for its clear format, highly readable  style and rich content. Also, the methodology adopted is sound because it is based on the author’s extensive teaching experience that he has acquired in a broad range of undergraduate educational contexts in Italy. I think it would have been useful to add a bibliographical reference to each text. Also, since students and teachers alike may be tempted to look at the suggested translation before attempting to tackle the text themselves, I would have expected to find the suggested translation after the discussion, but this is just a matter of personal preference born out of my own experience of teaching undergraduate students both in Italy and abroad.


Hervey, S., Higgins, I., Cragie, S. and Gambarotta, P. (2000) Thinking Italian Translation: A course in translation method: Italian to English. London and New York: Routledge.

©inTRAlinea & Sara Laviosa (2012).
[Review] "Translating Tourist Texts from Italian to English as a Foreign Language", inTRAlinea Vol. 14
This review can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL:

Go to top of page