A pensare male si fa peccato ma spesso ci si azzecca

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Carlaccio, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. Carlaccio Junior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Ciao a tutti!

    Dovrei tradurre il celebre proverbio andreottiano "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca".

    La traduzione non deve essere tanto letterale, quanto invece conservare lo spirito ironico, salace e un po' malinconico che la frase ha nel contesto italiano. Non so proprio da che parte cominciare. Qualche suggerimento?
     
  2. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    Hmm...sono un po' perplesso. Non avere familiarità con la parola "azzeccarsi". Che ne pensi di..

    To think badly would be to sin, but very often one blahs...

    Allora...qualcuno aiuta me?
     
  3. valy822

    valy822 Senior Member

    Naples / Milan
    Italy- Italian
    Does that make sense in English?
     
  4. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    Le parole che hai messo là ha qualche senso, ma non capisco tutta la frase.

    "Non aiuta me"...Stavo essendo enfatico perché sarei dovuto essere un aiuto me stesso...ha senso adesso??
     
  5. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    For reasons too manifold to mention (!), I'd go for something like this:

    "It's not a good thing to be too suspicious, but very often it's the right thing to be."

    By the way, I'm curious: perchè dici "dovrei tradurre"? Do you mean you have to do it as part of a specific, longer piece of translation, or what? Who is it who happens to be interested enough to want to convey Andreotti's quasi-Wildean witticism...?
     
  6. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    Pensar male vuol dire "to be suspicious"??? Davvero?
     
  7. arirossa

    arirossa Senior Member

    Latina
    Italy italian
    Sì, più o meno, nel senso che è anche peggio, più che sospettare è essere convinti di un cattivo comportamento/cattive intenzioni della/delle persone di cui si pensa male. Mentre "azzeccare" è "indovinare/avere ragione".
     
  8. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    Ahh, grazie arirossa! In quel caso, GavinW ha proprio ragione!
     
  9. rocamadour

    rocamadour Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    Sull'Hazon ho trovato "pensar male di qualcuno/qualcosa" = to think ill of sthg./s.o....
     
  10. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Yes! I knew I should have looked it up...!

    "It's an ill thing to think ill of people, but if you do you're very often right".

    (Alternative endings: "...but one very often turns out to be right in doing so/but very often it turns out that one is right to do so".)

    I quite like that! But "of people" isn't quite right, because one can "think ill" of things (situations), too (cf rocamadour's Hazon). And it sounds funny to leave out "of people" altogether. Hmm...
     
  11. rocamadour

    rocamadour Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    What about:
    Thinking ill/being suspicious is a sin, but often it's a good guess?
     
  12. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    I personally like the suspicious version that GavinW first proposed. It maintains the flow, and usually when someone thinks ill of someone else, they do so in a suspicious manner.
     
  13. Carlaccio Junior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Innanzi tutto grazie a tutti per le risposte! :)

    Devo tradurre per l'università un articolo che si apre proprio con quella citazione, e volevo porlo nel modo più aderente possibile allo "spirito" andreottiano (oddio, cosa vado a dire...:eek: ). Essendo una citazione virgolettata, non mi andava di cambiarla troppo.

    Che ne dici di:

    "It's an ill thing to think ill of something, but you very often turn out to be right."

    ?
     
  14. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    No, sorry: it's incomplete if you only say "of something". You can't miss out "people". But it's hard to refer to them both!

    One solution is to mention neither, and say:
    "It's an ill thing to think ill all the time, but you very often turn out to be right".

    You could argue that "all the time" changes the meaning, but it fills a gap! ;-)

    Who was it who said "Le traduzioni esasperate logorano solo chi non ce la fa"? ;-)
     
  15. rocamadour

    rocamadour Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    :D Grande Gavin!
     
  16. Ka Mate Ka Ora Senior Member

    New Zealand English
    "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca"

    Literally, "to think evil one sins, but very often is spot on"

    However, I prefer "to suspect evil one sins, but is often spot on"
     
  17. baldpate

    baldpate Senior Member

    London
    UK, English
    Fascinating thread :) ! My attempt is a compact play on right/wrong :

    "Thinking ill is wrong, but very often right"
     
  18. Ka Mate Ka Ora Senior Member

    New Zealand English
    Salve Baldpate,

    The quote is attributed to Giulio Andreotti, the godfather of Italian politics for several decades. Google him for more fascination.

    Ciao :)
     
  19. spero Senior Member

    Italy
    english (USA)
    Original Italian:
    A pensare male si fa peccato ma non si sbaglia mai

    My attempt:
    It's a sin to think badly, but you're never mistaken.


    Is this by chance an expression in Italian? If it is, is there an English equivalent or is my translation alright?

    Thanks
     
  20. giginho

    giginho Senior Member

    Svizzera / Torino
    Italiano & Piemontese
    I don't know if there's an equivalent in English, but in Italian is a very popular phrase!

    A pensar male si fa peccato ma non si sbaglia mai......quite a life style!

    You caught the meaning....but maybe you can find something better
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  21. Anja.Ann

    Anja.Ann Senior Member

    Lombardia
    Italian
    Ciao Spero e ciao Gigi :)

    Proverei così: "You commit a sin if you think evil thoughts, yet you are unlikely to be wrong." ... does it make sense, Spero? :confused: :)
     
  22. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    English
    :thumbsup:
     
  23. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    I can't think of any set expression but thought of these
    It's wrong to think badly of someone, but often you're right.
    Sometimes paranoids are right!
     
  24. tsoapm

    tsoapm Senior Member

    Emilia–Romagna, Italy
    English (England)
    Wicked thoughts are sinful, but often hit the nail on the head.

    (I omit the 'very' only because I feel that it interrupts the flow somehow.)
     
  25. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Nice try, Mark, but for me "wicked" is a bit too generic, and... doesn't quite hit the nail on the head. But I approve the continuing attempt to find a more definitive (and incisive) translation of this rather catchy "proverb". My 2 cents'.
     
  26. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    "A pensar male (di qualcuno, ovvero pensare che qualcuno sia disonesto o ci voglia fregare) si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca"

    I read it like this so, in my opinion, there should be something that reminds the reader of the target of this saw.
     
  27. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    Another shot: "It's morally wrong to suspect other people's motives, but often practically right".
    I like the effect of two contrasting terms (mirroring each other), or sets of terms. But, yes, "practically" is a bit forced.

    EDIT: Also: "It may not be nice to suspect people's motives, but you often end up being nasty, and right."

    That seems to do the basic job, too, just about. At this point, we may be in the realm of sheer poetics, and taste, I hazard.
     
  28. alicip

    alicip Senior Member

    Formello-Roma-Italia
    Italiano ITA-Romeno ROU-Inglese AmE
    Provo: "Thinking ill of someone is wrong, but very often right on the mark."
     
  29. teetotaller

    teetotaller Junior Member

    Italian - Italy
  30. I like this, but couldn't we play on the word wrong?

    It is wrong to think badly of someone, but you are rarely wrong.
     
  31. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    To me both these options (and especially the one by chip) suggest that one is right not because he is thinking bad (of someone) but because is one who is rarely mistaken, in other words being right seems a personal quality rather than a consequence of thinking bad.
    But I may well be misunderstanding you guys...;)
     
  32. tsoapm

    tsoapm Senior Member

    Emilia–Romagna, Italy
    English (England)
    Righto then. In that case, I’d second (or third or fourth or whatever) “think ill” or hesitantly suggest “uncharitable thoughts”, but perhaps that’s overly Catholic.
     
  33. I see your point...
    Then maybe:

    It is wrong to think badly of someone but you hardly get it wrong
     

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