like that’s what it didn’t say

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by TheNameOfAWind, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. TheNameOfAWind

    TheNameOfAWind Senior Member

    Rome <3
    Italian
    Ciao a tutti,
    mi si è inceppato il cervello su questa frase:

    [the day had already been awful] and now this fatassed Don Cornelius saying “If that’s what it say,” like that’s what it didn’t say, and the Ching Chong staring at him with her truckload of cans (...)

    Lo scenario è questo: tre barboni che vivono raccogliendo lattine dalla spazzatura sono vicino al centro di raccolta automatica. Uno, la voce narrante, lo fa per la prima volta ed è arrabbiato perché gli sta dando pochi soldi. Qualche paragrafo più in alto aveva chiesto a un altro barbone "5 dollars, that right?" e quello gli aveva risposto "if that's what it say" (con una voce molto profonda da vecchio presentatore, per questo lo chiama "Don Cornelius", mentre la Ching Chong è una senzatetto cinese). Dopo, imprecando tra sé e sé dice la frase che ho riportato.

    Ora, mi è chiaro il concetto, cioè che gli fa un po' il verso in modo polemico, ma non riesco minimamente a trovare un equivalente italiano. È un romanzo, quindi sacrifico volentieri la lettera in funzione della forma. :)

    [la giornata era già stata orribile di suo] e adesso questo Don Cornelius col culo grasso che rispondeva "Se dice così", tante grazie, lo sapeva anche lui quello che diceva, e la Ching Chong che lo fissava con un bastimento di lattine (...)

    Grazie in anticipo! A.
     
  2. theartichoke Senior Member

    English -- Canada
    Okay, I'll take a stab at this one. I'm not 100% sure what "it" is in "if that's what it say," but I think the meaning's clear enough in the English that whatever it is, it said "five dollars" and the speaker is annoyed at Don Cornelius for saying "if that's what it say" instead of simply "yes."

    In which case, I think your translation aptly gets the point across: "thanks a lot, dude, you know perfectly well what it says." Just for my own curiosity, would a more literal translation not work? ...che rispondeva "Se dice così," come non dicesse [o diceva?] così"
     
  3. TheNameOfAWind

    TheNameOfAWind Senior Member

    Rome <3
    Italian
    Hi :)

    I'll try to write in English, hope to be clear enough. Now I realize I had to make clear that "it" refers to an "Automatic Redeemer Centre", giving the narrator only 5 dollars.
    I'm glad I got the meaning (almost) right. I can't translate the sentence literally, since it's a novel, with a strong literary style, and "Se dice così," come non dicesse così" would sound odd if coming from a old homeless black guy (who's spent lot of time in prison). I'm finding very hard to find his language without falling into regionalisms though.

    Thank you for your help :)
     
  4. Rob625

    Rob625 Senior Member

    Murlo (SI)
    English - England
    > I'm finding very hard to find his language without falling into regionalisms though.
    Yes, that will be hard. Your character probably speaks BVE - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Vernacular_English
    For instance, "it say" instead of "it says" is BVE.
    Have you considered fixing one on "regionalism" as an equivalent? If you just put everything into "standard" Italian, you are losing one element of the original text.
     
  5. TheNameOfAWind

    TheNameOfAWind Senior Member

    Rome <3
    Italian
    Hi, Rob625, yes! thats it, Black Vernacular English.

    I don't like translating American dialects with Italians, but I guess it's just a matter of personal taste. Imagine a movie where a black rapper speaks with an accent from Rome, and then a rich, sophisticate girls talks like they do in Milan: its already bad enough. If I do something like that in a novel, I would have lost one element on the original text and invented one myself, that wasn't in the original text. :)

    I think with him I'll go for a mixed up and imprecise Italian ;) Thank you for your link, I'm finding it really helpfull.
     
  6. Rob625

    Rob625 Senior Member

    Murlo (SI)
    English - England
    OK, but at the least I think you should keep in mind that the "mixed up and imprecise Italian" should be consistent. People who don't know any better think that BVE consists of mistakes; that is, the speaker is trying to speak "correct" English and getting it wrong. The truth is that BVE is a dialect, and has its own rules; if I were to try to speak it, I would probably sound absurd because I would break a lot of BVE rules.
     
  7. TheNameOfAWind

    TheNameOfAWind Senior Member

    Rome <3
    Italian
    I'll keep that in mind and hopefully I will get some help from you people :)
     

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