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look at me like a stone

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by xiolase, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. xiolase Junior Member

    Italy Italian
    Hello everybody!

    I am translating in Italian a poem of an American writer.

    I do not know how to translate in italian this sentences:

    "a handsome priest looked at me like a stone".

    Is it idiomatic? I can't find it anywhere!

    Thank you :)
     
  2. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    No I don't think it's idiomatic. Is the writer a woman?
     
  3. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Literally it's: Il bel prete mi ha guardato come (se [lui] fosse) una pietra/un sasso.
     
  4. xiolase Junior Member

    Italy Italian
    No he is a man.

    He is homosexual, if it helps.
     
  5. rrose17

    rrose17 Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada, English
    Perhaps! I think when he says a handsome priest looked at him like a stone, the impression I had was that the writer would have liked to be looked at in a more sexual way. But I think the literal translation like Brian's above, makes sense.
     
  6. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Maybe:

    Un bel prete mi guardò freddamente. :confused:

    Question: Did the priest look at the poet as if he (the poet) were a (meaningless, lifeless) stone, or was it the priest who had a stone-cold, uninterested look in his eyes?
     
  7. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    In my opinion, looked at me like a stone does not flow or sound very "good" in English... but it's poetry, so that might be exactly what the poet is trying to do. Therefore, you might want to do the same thing in Italian (with come una pietra or something) instead of making it sound "better" with freddamente, etc.

    Coldly in English would have a very different feel and meaning to it.
     
  8. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Yes, but that would disrupt the rhythm! It's the usual dilemma: To preserve the rhythm or to preserve the meaning?
     
  9. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I'm not sure what you mean by "rhythm" or how "come un sasso" could disrupt the rhythm any more than "freddamente" could...

    Then again, it depends on the context of the entire poem. And we cannot really go into that here, especially since ultimately it's the translator's decision.
     
  10. xiolase Junior Member

    Italy Italian
    I agree, I think I will translate it literally.
     
  11. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Come un sasso sounds good. Come una pietra would be too long.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  12. miri

    miri Senior Member

    Italy/Italian
    "...un bel prete mi lanciò uno sguardo di pietra" sounds more "poetic" to me.
     
  13. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Yes, especially if we want to keep the stone in there!:)

    However, I must admit that my first thought was that the priest's handsome face betrayed no expression when he looked at the other person (uno sguardo privo di espressione?).
     
  14. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Un sasso is also a stone.

    PS: I am not trying to defend the translation with sasso - I am just trying to clarify that both sasso and pietra mean stone.
     
  15. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    I know, but I'm not sure about "sguardo di sasso" - however, you're the natives!:)

    Edit: Roberto, si dà il caso che io sia molto amante delle pietre (dure): ho una serie di collane, brqacciali e orecchini che chiamo "i miei sassi" o "sassolini"!
     
  16. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    You are right. You can say mi guardò di sasso (or ci rimase di sasso), but it means "shocked" or "petrified"
     
  17. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Because the English sentence is short, you mean? Or because of the rhythm you mentioned before?

    Just for the books, I don't like the English sentence at all....:(
     
  18. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Me neither, LC, but I was giving the poet the benefit of the doubt by chalking this thread up to contextlessness. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    For both reasons, but all shorter lines I can think of sound very awkward.

    Moreover, lanciare uno sguardo a qc. is different fom guardare qc. Without context, I cannot tell which verb would be more accurate.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  20. miri

    miri Senior Member

    Italy/Italian
    Are we sure about "guardare di sasso", Roberto ?? I don't think I've ever heard it ...

    Anyway, I've found the poem: Here is the sentence "in context":
    Nearby, a handsome
    priest looked at me like a stone; I looked back,
    not desiring to go it alone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  21. Roberto1976 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Yes, I am. Although rimanerci/restarci di sasso is of course more common.
     

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