Matilda Colarossi


I’m a literary translator based in Florence, Italy. I translate from the Italian. Translation is my way of giving back all the pleasure I got from reading. Through translation I believe I can share that pleasure with others.

I created Parallel Texts: words reflected in October 2014, and have been blogging translations since.

I was born in Italy and grew up in Canada. What I often thought took from me — the idea (sometimes insinuated by others) that I was neither truly Canadian nor Italian — actually gave me so much; because you can be both. And I am both. I believe in a borderless world where people should be able to come and go, settle, make a better life for themselves, discover, create, mingle, learn, teach… like all our ancestors did. And I am convinced that the diffusion of literature from different parts of the world between people that speak different languages can make the imaginary walls we put up to create an “us and them” even more imaginary. I question the idea of untranslatable: every human emotion, every thought, every human condition is common to all people; it might take one word to express it, or it might take more, but it is common to us all; we have created enough “differences” in the history of the world: let’s not add to them. 

I studied Italian literature and Drama at the University of Windsor, and Italian literature at the University of Toronto. It was thanks to my wonderful professors that I learned to love Italian language and literature. In 2000, I won a competitive exam in Florence, which gave me access to the translation course: Protr@d . I have since been translating in numerous different fields: translation has taught me about art history and architecture, geology and music; and while I carried those words across linguistic borders, I learned both Italian and English, because that’s what translators do. For 6 years now, I have been translating mostly literature. 

I have also been teaching ESL since I arrived in Italy at the age of 24. It has opened doors to incredible places – from kindergartens to prison classrooms, from libraries to high schools — and it has introduced me to marvellous people of all ages. I spent numerous years as a volunteer in a local library reading to children: of all the things I have done, this was one of my favourites and when asked, I gladly continue to do it (here).

Books (in translation):

Short stories, poems, and excerpts (in
translation):
  • Poems from Mie insondabili tutte by Marta Lo Brano, AzonaL, Poetry in translation, 2020
  • Excerpt from Consigli per essere un bravo immigrato/On how to be a good immigrant by Elvira Mujčić, Asymptote 2020
  • Excerpt from L’Inverno di GionaGiona’s winter by Filippo Tapparelli, excerpt on New Books in Italy (Ministero degli Affari Esteri)
  • Short story by Grazia Deledda, On the mountain, Asymptote, 2020.
  • Short story by Grazia Deledda,  Ancient Musical legend, Finalist Gabo Prize, Lunch Ticket Org., 2019
  • Poems from solo andata by Erri De LucaAsymptote Journal, 2019
  • Excerpt from La madre di Eva/Eva’s mother by Silvia Ferreri, Asymptote, October 2018
  • Short story by Paolo Zardi, Future perfectAsymptote,   January, 2018
  • Excerpt from XXI Secolo/21st century by Paolo ZardiLunch Ticket, Winter/Spring edition, 2018
  • Excerpt from Conforme alla gloria/In conformance with glory by Demetrio PaolinIlanot Review, July, 2017
  • Poems from the collection solo andata by Erri De LucaSakura Review, July, 2017
  • Poems by Roberto Amato48th Poetry International, May, 2017
  • Poems by Roberto AmatoInternational Festival Rotterdam, May, 2017
  • Excerpt from Sul tradurre/On translation by Susanna BassoAsymptote,  April, 2017
  • Excerpt from Cacciatori di frodo/Poachers by Alessandro CinquegraniAsymptote, July, 2016
  • Poems by Roberto Amato: Poetry International, May, 2016.
  • Excerpt from Il giorno che diventammo umani/The day we became human, by Paolo ZardiLunch Ticket Org., March, 2016
  • Excerpt from Antropometria by Paolo ZardiLunch Ticket Org., January, 2016

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Short stories (original Italian and English):

Interviews, articles, and papers:

Photo: school trip in Venice with students; me lost…