Episode 48 with Passionate Reader, Editor for Edizioni Sur and Italian Translator for Many American/British Writers, Including David Foster Wallace


Show Notes and Links to Martina Testa’s Work and Allusions/Texts from Episode

On Episode 48, Pete welcomes Martina Testa, who has translated many American authors into Italian, including David Foster Wallace, Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Lethem, Jennifer Egan, and Kurt Vonnegut. She translates for Edizioni Sur.

The two talk about Martina’s love of literature, translation as an art, David Foster Wallace-his greatness and the specific difficulties of translating his work into Italian-and much more.


Martina Testa’s Website

Interview with Martina (in Italian)

Martina Testa on The Great Concavity Podcast, discussing David Foster Wallace

Edizioni Sur, where Martina works


At about 1:40, Martina talks about her reading life during her childhood, including reading from an incredibly early age-she was, she says “in love with reading”


At about 3:30, Martina talks about her mostly self-guided learning of English


At about 4:15, Martina talks about Little Women, 1984, and other favorite books from her childhood


At about 8:20, Martina talks about contemporary work that she has enjoyed in the last ten years or so, including Colson Whitehead, George Saunders, and Jennifer Egan


At about 9:50, Martina talks about the specific literary culture of Italy, and its emphasis on intellectual, and not commercial, fiction


At about 13:40, Pete and Martina talk about Christ Stopped at Eboli, Martin Eden, the Italian film, and other recommendations


At about 15:10, Martina and Pete talk about the idea of translators as conduits and interpretes,  


At about 17:55, Martina talks about her process for, and philosophy of, translation


At about 21:00, Martina talks about translating great authors who she knows were so careful in every way with their diction, versus those who write sloppily and she has to translate; she also talks about 


At about 24:00, Pete and Martina talk about Episode 42 guest, Edoardo Ballerini’s, definition of interprete, and Martina talks about how she sees the term similarly


At about 25:15, Martina talks about her introduction to David Foster Wallace, and how he became the first writer she ever translated


At about 29:30, Martina talks about how working on translation for David Foster Wallace led to her career as a translator and editor


At about 30:30, Martina talks about meeting David Foster Wallace on a few occasions 


At about 34:25, Martina talks about what has drawn her to Wallace’s writing, especially his incredible mental acuity and curiosity and his original style of writing


At about 36:55, Pete and Martina talk about the title essay of A Supposedly Fun Thing that I’ll Never Do Again, a towering achievement-funny, sad, etc.


At about 39:05, Martina talks about Infinite Jest and its history in translation in Italy


At about 42:10, Pete and Martina read and discuss excerpts of Martina’s translation of “John Billy” from Wallace’s collection called The Girl with Curious Hair, and Martina talks about her process in searching for ways to translate and put Wallace’s work into Italian in the early days of the Internet


At about 51:10, Pete and Martina read and discuss excerpts of Wallace “E Unibus Pluram,” from the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing that I’ll Never Do Again and Martina’s translation of the piece


At about 58:40, Martina talks about translating from an Anglo-Saxon/Germanic-based language like English into a Romance language like Italian


At about 1:00:25, Martina talks about upcoming projects, including translation of Bernadine Evaristo

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