In tempi non sospetti

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Farotz, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Farotz New Member

    Italian
    Come si potrebbe tradurre in Inglese l'espressione "in tempi non sospetti", per esempio in: quella decisone era gia' stata presa "in tempi non sospetti".
     
  2. Rosa7

    Rosa7 Senior Member

    Australia
    English (Australia)
    Secondo questo sito, si direbbe "back in the day" oppure "way back when".

    Pero' secondo me in questo caso suonerebbe più naturale: "That decision was already made ages ago."
     
  3. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
  4. Rosa7

    Rosa7 Senior Member

    Australia
    English (Australia)
    Hi King Crimson, I would say that rendering is too literal but let's see what others say.

    I agree that in general the simpler the better (if it's accurate).

    Don't forget that sometimes people spell things / translate things wrongly on the internet so a search isn't always reliable!!
     
  5. marcolettici Senior Member

    California
    English U.S.
    What exactly are "unsuspected times?" The phrase doesn't have any meaning for me.
     
  6. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    Australia
    English - N.Ireland

    "In unsuspecting times" makes sense.
    I would take that as meaning "in more innocent times/in a more innocent age".
    Does this give the correct meaning?
     
  7. DavideV

    DavideV Senior Member

    Roma
    Italian
    I think not.
    "In tempi non sospetti" means "when no one was even barely thinking about that".
     
  8. Rosa7

    Rosa7 Senior Member

    Australia
    English (Australia)
    How about "in the long-forgotten past?"
     
  9. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    Australia
    English - N.Ireland
    I agree. The phrase 'unsuspected times' is meaningless.
     
  10. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    Australia
    English - N.Ireland
    What about "in the old(en) days", or "in the good old days"?
     
  11. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    I think this is the best translation so far. It conveys the meaning of the Italian phrase, which means "back in the times when nobody knew/suspected what would have happened later".
     
  12. marcolettici Senior Member

    California
    English U.S.
    I'm not sure what the "that" represents here. I'm trying to understand the Italian meaning... and not succeeding very well. "In less suspect times" would make some gramatically... even if the "suspect" wouldn't be clear without more context. But "suspect" doesn't equate with "innocent."

    Can someone, in Italian, give a couple of variations on "tempi non sospetti?" Is that a common term?
     
  13. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    "In tempi non sospetti" is a quite precise idiom that has not variations, as far as I am concerned. Litterely it means "In tempi nei quali non si sospettava nemeno che....."i.e. "In tempi nei quali non era possibile nemmeno sospettare che", which means in times when you couldn't even barely suspect something. It is used when a news about something is spread out and someone discovers that years before there was already something similar, but no one was able to realize it.

    Hope this helps.

    May it be "In unsuspicious times"...? Not sure at all, just a try.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  14. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    No, this doesn't work either. This thread has unfortunately suffered a little bit from translations based on words like suspicious, suspecting etc. No word like that will work as a translation. The Italian phrase is an idiom. A clichè, actually. It has lost all meaning relating to the idea of suspicion or suspecting.

    There have been a couple of good suggested translations. I think they are obvious as such. One of them was "way back when". Others that might work include:

    in the long-forgotten past
    in a past that is now long forgotten
    in another era
    in another day and age
    prior to more recent events/developments

    and maybe:
    in the dim and distant past
     
  15. marcolettici Senior Member

    California
    English U.S.
    Thanks. It's totally clear now. But as there are several ways of saying this in English, I was wondering if there are also several ways of saying it in Italian (without relying on that particular idiom, which you say is actually cliché).
     
  16. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I think the whole point of this thread revolves around a tinge of this expression that we have not yet been able to render in English (or to explain to English native speakers;)), as the meaning of this expression is twofold:
    a) Reminding a past statement/prediction
    b) Reminding that what was stated was contrary to the received wisdom (hence, the concept of unsuspecting highlighted by other Italian posters)
    So, while it is true that this expression is a cliché, it is also true that only the first part of its meaning is conveyed by the semi-equivalent English expressions posted so far. By way of example, we can check this by using one of the countless occurrences of this expression we can find on the web:
    “In tempi non sospetti” dissi che Ranieri non era un allenatore da Juve.
    “In tempi non sospetti” (i.e. when nobody would have believed/said that) I said that Ranieri was a manager unfit for Juventus.
    By the above statement, the person speaking/writing is not only reminding that he made a prediction (pt. a) above), but declares (almost taking pride in it) that he his prediction flew in the face of common belief but later would prove true.
    Hope I haven’t complicated the matter further…:)
     
  17. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    You certainly have not. Your post is very valuable (and I learnt something I never really understood before; and I'll now have to retract most of what I said in my post!). Thanks: not everyone takes such trouble to point out this kind of complexity.

    Your points reveal that the translation is likely to be more context-dependent than has generally been believed so far. The following ideas come to mind, but they are still perhaps approaches to a possible translation solution, rather than definitive formulas:

    At a time when nobody (else) would have thought so,...
    Before anyone else was saying(/thinking/doing etc) this,...
    Before any such notion gained ground,...
    Long before it became obvious,....
    etc etc...

    In definitiva, if someone can kindly provide a few more examples in Italian (from the web?), than there's a chance we'll crack this one.
    Cheers all.
     
  18. marcolettici Senior Member

    California
    English U.S.
    Back before the truth was known...
    Before the truth came to light...

    ??
     
  19. SONOUNANGELO

    SONOUNANGELO Senior Member

    Las Palmas(Canary Islands)
    Spanish-Argentina
    Il mio tentativo

    http://www.wordreference.com/enit/inkling


    Maybe this word could come in useful for the translation of in tempi non sospetti.

    At a time when/Back when/ nobody had even an inkling... (or something of the sort)

    At a time when nobody could imagine it to be so...

    At a time when/ Back when/ nobody would have imagined it...

    I believe posts 7, 11 and 16 are very helpful to understand the meaning of the Italian phrase, to really "get it". :thumbsup:

    Buona notte a tutti
     
  20. Marco3 Junior Member

    Italy
    You people are missing completely the point! "In tempi non sospetti" in Italian is used uniquely with a sarcastic frame of mind.
    Ex. I am teacher and I tell one of my student he has to study more if he wants to get a C; the student doesn't take into account my words and keeps on going his way. When the student gets a D I'd tell him: "In tempi non sospetti ti ho detto che dovevi studiare di piu"! Which would mean: "One time you clearly remember i told you you had to study more".

    If the italian minister of economy makes a speech to a simultaneous broadcast of italian audiences and warnes them that the economy is going to fall, then when the economy falls for real the minister will say: "In tempi non sospetti vi avevo avvisati"; "We all remember that time i warned you".

    So we say "in tempi non sospetti" to mean the times that clearly are on the minds of the speakers or those involved in the conversation.

    In tempi non sospetti: try to get the sarcasm in it.
     
  21. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    Australia
    English - N.Ireland
    "One fine day you'll wake up (and it will be too late)" :confused:
     
  22. Rosa7

    Rosa7 Senior Member

    Australia
    English (Australia)
    Hi Marco3, what do you think about the initial example I quoted (see here):

    "Mio padre, in tempi non sospetti, aveva scritto dietro al parasole della macchina "Yes, I can!" Ogni tanto lo tirava giù e leggeva a me e mio fratello."

    This doesn't sound sarcastic to me - just an idiomatic way of saying long ago.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  23. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    We're suffering from the usual problem of CONTEXT! Also the original poster in Dec 2008 gave a very brief example sentence, quella decisone era gia' stata presa "in tempi non sospetti", without enough context to understand why the expression was used.
    I'm not very familiar with this expression but my idea (referring to the above example) is that the decision was taken at a time when you could not suspect that they knew what was going to happen.
    For example, if Mr X has some shares in a company and their value doubles in a few days, we might suspect that he bought them knowing what was going to happen, but then we discover that he bought them a long time ago, independently of what he might know now. Would that be "in tempi non sospetti"?

    PS Re-reading Marco's explanation about sarcasm, my interpretation is probably wrong!:(
     
  24. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I'm afraid I don't agree;), sarcasm can be ad addtional element of the expression but not necessarily. The example I posted (and many others we can find) might or might not include a sarcastic tone depending on the context. For example, I wouldn't say your second example has a sarcastic tone attached to it, especially if the minister's remark is made on an official occasion. On the other hand, if the same comment were made addressing a political foe it could have this tone. As Einstein reminded, context is (almost) everythiing.

    I think in your example we could use this expression, at least I feel we could say something like ...ha comprato le sue azioni in tempi non sospetti, meaning that he was so smart as to predict that the value of those shares would rise. As you can see, the element of prediction against common belief is still there.
     
  25. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Ah, so if a minister was alone in making a prediction a long time ago, we can't suspect that he said it because he was influenced by others. Is that right?
     
  26. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    The way I look at it:

    'Before anyone else could even think about it'.
     
  27. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    The plot thickens...;) I think you refer to Marco's example so he should be the one to respond and I'm not sure I've got your question right, however I would say that the element of suspicion should always be associated to the time factor (tempi non sospetti) in addition to individuals possibly influencing the decision or prediction (at an unspecified time).
    In other words, the concept conveyed by the expression (at least, this is my understanding) is that we could draw a timeline where we could identify a milestone: before and after what popular wisdom thought about a specific phenomenon, fact, event, people etc.
    If one was able to make the right guess on his own (i.e. without any external influence or help) before this milestone, we could say he made the decision in tempi non sospetti. I think your example could meet these conditions.
    I also think that some of the expressions posted by Gawin, marcolettici and sonounangelo are very close to capturing this meaning.
    Did I manage now to mess up things completely?:D
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  28. AshleySarah

    AshleySarah Senior Member

    Australia
    English - N.Ireland
    Two common sayings have just entered my mind that might fit this context.

    "I told you so!" or "I knew it!"

    Any good?:confused:
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  29. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    @Einstein
    :thumbsup:
    Correct! "MrX ha comperato le azioni in tempi non sospetti".
    I disagree with "In tempi non sospetti" having a sarcastic hint. It can have it or not, depending on the context.
     
  30. Blackman

    Blackman Senior Member

    Island of Sardinia, Italy
    Italiano/Sardo
    So do I.

    Trovo che sia un'espressione intrinsecamente neutra, alla quale si può poi dare un tono che va dal sarcastico all'accusatorio.
     
  31. Nerino Senior Member

    Salento, Italy
    Italian
    I have just gone through the various contributions and, while doing so, the word "unaware(s)" came to my mind, do you think that it might somehow fit into this discussion? Bye! :)
     
  32. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    :thumbsup:

    Is it possible/also correct "At times when anyone could even think about it"....???
     
  33. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    I would like to give you a less political example.

    Rememebring the old happy days once my boyfriend told me:

    "Do you remember when, in tempi non sospetti, we went to Calabria with Roberta and Anna?"

    Here "in tempi non sospetti" means when we had't yet realized that we would have fallen for each other, when we were just friends and we hadn't a clue of what would have happened later.

    Though Curandera's translation is really good and neutral it would fit here, would it? So, it really depends on the context! I don't think there is just one translation for this phrase.
     
  34. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    This could work in a direct speech situation, "In tempi non sospetti" is often used in reported speech (e.g. newspapers) and has (or, pretends to have) a more formal tone.;)

    Mmm, don't think so... I guess this would fit with how we Italians believe it should be translated, but looking at the responses of native speakers in the first block of posts I would rule out any translations including the words suspect, suspicious, unaware and the like.

    In my opinion, so far I think our best bet is the translations offered in posts 17-19 as well as the one by Curandera, which is along the same lines.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  35. Marco3 Junior Member

    Italy
    I think is ther closest you get.
     
  36. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English

    Piccola correzione.:) Poi direi "At a time...".
     
  37. Marco3 Junior Member

    Italy
    I'm afraid you did! Look, let us try to make it as much easy as we can.

    I am surprised so many Italians don't seem to be familiar enough with the expression and most of them have a complete misunderstanding of it.

    Let's try to work on logics:
    "In tempi non sospetti" literally= "In times that can't be suspected; that you can't suspect". Which logically would mean "In times that are very clear to us"; so it is about times you can't deny.

    If i have a date with some girl and after a dinner we kiss and primise each other eternal love, the following day the girl comes up to me and tells me she doesn't to see me no more, i would tell her "In tempi non sospetti ci siamo giurati amore eterno". You get it? It is a sarcastical or ironical way of saying "Non è passato tanto tempo da quando ci siamo giurati amore eterno".

    The same rule is worth with the minister example. He said "In tempi non sospetti avevo annunciato la caduta dell' economia and here it is". It is always a sarcastic/ironical way of saying: "You can't pretend you don't remember when i told you so".
    Of course by sarcastic i didn't mean the minister wanted to tease the audience but is the expprerssion per se that has a sarcastic feature in it.
     
  38. Curandera Senior Member

    Italian
    Marco, IMHO, it can be sarcastic or simply stating the facts.
     
  39. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I bet to disagree again, but it seems that I'm not alone (see posts 22, 29, 30 and 38). Anyway, since we are discussing a subject that is largely depending on personal perceptions, preferences or history I will tolerate the disagreement;)
     
  40. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    :thumbsup:
    I absolutely agree: it depends on the context.
     
  41. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    I agree. It CAN be sarcastic, but not always...
     
  42. Murloc

    Murloc Junior Member

    Switzerland
    Swiss Standard Italian
    sorry for the grave digging but this was already digged once and on the internet there's absolutely no information about this expression.
    1. there are no variations of this idiomatic expression
    2. a literal translation is: "in unsuspicious times", but it doesn't convey the meaning. In fact, it doesn't make any sense in italian either. How can a period of time be "suspicious"? It makes sense just because it's an idiomatic expression.

    An example: the economic crisis and a political shitstorm breaks out because the responsible people didn't do anything, but before there was any suspicion or hint of this happening, a group made a proposal to fix the problem that went unheard, or several economists warned that this was about to happen. In this situation, if you're talking after the problem exploded, you can say that someone had already made a proposal or issued a warning "in tempi non sospetti".
    In times predating any hint of the event.

    This is the meaning of it. There is no direct translation to English that I know of.
     
  43. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    You're right, there doesn't seem to be a direct translation of this effective expression. However, in your example if you say "long ago" it conveys the meaning well enough.

    By the way, the verb is dig, dug, dug (not digged):)
     
  44. Connie Eyeland

    Connie Eyeland Senior Member

    Brescia (Italia)
    Italiano
    Ciao.

    In effetti non esiste corrispondente in inglese, ma si può usare un'espressione che spiega esattamente il significato di questa locuzione idiomatica italiana, come quella del post #26 (Before anyone else could even think about it) oppure come le seguenti, che sono tutte azzeccate:

    Dizionario WR:
    Back when no one would have imagined sth

    Proz: Before everyone else
    Proz 2: Back in the day when nobody [+ verbo transitivo al passato + "it"] / [+ verbo intransitivo al passato + preposizione + "it"]
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  45. esky

    esky Junior Member

    Italy
    Bilingual: English - Italian
    'That decision had already been made in a previous, unrelated time frame/time period'.
    'That decision had already been made in an earlier stage/at an early stage/ prior to (the) events'.


    Dipende tutto dal contesto e senso da attribuire all'espressione.
     
  46. Connie Eyeland

    Connie Eyeland Senior Member

    Brescia (Italia)
    Italiano
    Ciao, Esky.:)
    E' vero che sicuramente moltissimo dipende dal contesto, ma è comunque necessario inserire il riferimento a "quando ancora nessuno [ci aveva mai pensato/l'aveva mai detto] / quando ancora non era di moda" o simili concetti.
    E' necessario un riferimento al fatto che in passato la persona a cui ci si riferisce era la sola, prima su tutti, che in modo del tutto indipendente e originale aveva detto/pensato/fatto l'azione che oggi tutti possono dire/pensare/fare.
    Come spiegato nel post #27:
     
  47. esky

    esky Junior Member

    Italy
    Bilingual: English - Italian
     
  48. esky

    esky Junior Member

    Italy
    Bilingual: English - Italian
    oops, wrong post, sorry.


    E' un argomento veramente interessante.

    Ciao Connie Eyeland :) e grazie del tuo commento. Ahimè è molto tardi. Ho un'interpretazione diversa della frase originale. Durante la pausa caffè di domani ti risponderò senz'altro!

    Notte. (yawn)
     
  49. Connie Eyeland

    Connie Eyeland Senior Member

    Brescia (Italia)
    Italiano
    Ri-ciao, Esky!:) A me sembra che il post #16 di King Crimson che hai riportato confermi ulteriormente il senso, cioè ricordare oggi che già qualcuno (una terza persona o il parlante stesso in prima persona) in passato fu antesignano e [seppe indovinare un determinato evento, quando nessuno ci pensava/ fece qualcosa che non era di moda e ora lo è/ disse per primo una frase che oggi tutti usano/ ecc.]. Mi dirai meglio domani qual è la tua interpretazione, se è diversa. Intanto buonanotte!:)
     
  50. esky

    esky Junior Member

    Italy
    Bilingual: English - Italian

    Rieccomi!
    Connie Eyeland: era una pausa caffè' veramente lunga, scusa!

    Ho riletto tutti i post. Poi ho riletto il quesito iniziale:

    ...quella decisione era già stata presa "in tempi non sospetti".

    Sarcastico o no, distante negli anni o no, poco importa. Non è nemmeno specificato chi o quante persone "non sospettavano". Credo che si riferisca ad un tempo in cui non vi era alcun motivo di sospettare un cambiamento, un risultato di un'azione che ha portato allo stato attuale. La decisione era stata presa in un momento del passato dove non vi erano elementi referenziali o circostanziali necessari per prendere una decisione - che oggi si manifesta. E fin qui ci siamo.

    Mi piacerebbe sottolineare il fatto che si può interpretare come una espressione passiva, senza agente.

    Credo che sia importante fare una distinzione tra interpretazione (qualcuno, chi e quante persone sospettavano,...quando nessuno ci pensava) e analisi logica (decisione 'B' è stata presa precedentemente, nel contesto non sospetto 'A').
    A volte bisogna abbandonare l'etimologia di alcuni elementi, così da poter traslare il significato di un modo di dire da una lingua all'altra. Lo scopo e' di non allontanarsi troppo dal registro linguistico.


    Hope that helps!
    Esky
     

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