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Sometimes translating a text can be really challenging, not from a linguistic point of view but from an emotional one. You may appeal to your professional aplomb to stay focused on the translation process but the images arising from the original text and consequently from your mother tongue play havoc with your sense of balance and force you to face ancient myths and archetypes.

This certainly happened earlier this year when I translated ‘Orestes’, an intense script for a Cadenza Films project.

I must admit that I was not so familiar with Orestes’ myth and I spent some time perusing the web in search of the right information to enter the realm of that legendary reality.

The first hints came from Wikipedia. I am aware of the fact that Wikipedia is not the most reliable of sources but one has to start somewhere :D, don’t you think?

This is what I read at first:

‘In Greek mythology, Orestes (Greek: Ὀρέστης) was the son of Clytemnestra and Agamennon. He is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays and of various myths connected with his madness and purification, which retain obscure threads of much older ones.)

Orestes has a root in ὄρος (óros), “mountain“.

In the Homeric story, Orestes was a member of the doomed house of Atreus which is descended from Tantalus and Niobe. Orestes was absent from Mycenae when his father, Agamennon, returned from the Trojan War with the Trojan princess Cassandra as his concubine, and thus not present for Agamemnon’s murder by his wife, Clytemnestra, in retribution for his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia to obtain favorable winds during the Greek voyage to Troy. Seven years later, Orestes returned from Athens and with his sister Electra avenged his father’s death by slaying his mother and her lover Aegistus.

In the Odyssey, Orestes is held up as a favorable example to Telemachus, whose mother Penelope is plagued by suitors.’

Well, I can assure you that all the information gathered during the days spent working on Orestes script did little to lessen the emotions aroused by the most intense scenes described in the script.

Cinema is one of my many passions and I have had the opportunity to translate various movies and scripts in my career.

It is a real treat to be allowed to be part of the creative process that lead to the production of a movie.


Simonetta Ronconi


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