Translating punctuation (English-Italian/Italian-English)
It would take a monumental task of statistical analysis to try and establish a series of norms for translators in their treatment of punctuation in all possible cases and the results would probably not reward the effort. This study has made some observations of what causes translators to modify punctuations. In the general sense, we can look to questions of syntax and style as being the most important dictators of punctuation change. Syntactically, the kind of choices that translators make between commas and conjunctions, or combinations of the two, the use or relative pronouns or participles and the positioning of main and subordinate clauses seem to be very important. The need to produce equivalent effect or onomatopoeic effects through, for example, alliteration will also influence a translator. Idiosyncratic use of language or genuine mistakes on the part of the source writer or, on the other hand, downright the mistranslation on the part of the translator, will again result in modified punctuation. In the final analysis, the translator should need the words of Harry Shaw, writing for the NcGraw Hill "Handbook of English": 'Every mark of punctuation is effective if it helps the reader understand. The presence or absence of every mark is harmful if it impedes the flow of thought from your mind to the reader'. If the translator bears this in mind, then no matter how much he feels it necessary to rearrange the original text, he will fulfil his obligation to the reader.
SSLM - Annuario - Nuova Serie
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Christopher Taylor, 'Translating punctuation (English-Italian/Italian-English)', in: SSLM - Annuario 1987, EUT - Edizioni Università Trieste, pp. 218-248.