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make up the surface of our lungs

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Siren85, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Siren85 Junior Member

    Italian
    Hi!!

    I really don't know to translate the verb "make up" in the sentence "Saturated fats also make up the surface of our lungs, making for easier breathing."

    Context: a book about Youth Enhancing Foods.

    My attempt: ". I grassi saturi, inoltre, riparano/costituiscono (??) la superficie dei nostri polmoni, rendendo più facile la respirazione."

    Thank you!
     
  2. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Hi,

    This is a bit exaggerated, and just means "are part of the structure".

    ...anche sono/fanno parte della superficie...
    ???
     
  3. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    I think that is the meaning.
     
  4. Siren85 Junior Member

    Italian
    I'll translate it as "I grassi saturi, inoltre, sono parte della superficie dei nostri polmoni e rendono più facile la respirazione." Thanks a lot guys! This forum is great!
     
  5. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    As Tim said, it is exaggerated, because literally it means that the surface contains only fat. It is more accurate (even if not a literal translation) to say that the surface contains fats (as well as other things.)
     
  6. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    To my Australian ear (the other one is Sicilian ;)) the 'also' in that sentence doesn't indicate that at all, AB. To me it means that saturated fats are one of the things that constitute the surface of the lungs.
     
  7. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    OK, Charles, we can disagree. The previous sentence would probably disambiguate the meaning. I thought this sentence was the continuation of a list of facts about saturated fats. :D
     
  8. bicontinental Senior Member

    U.S.A.
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    That's my interpretation as well... considering the context (youth enhancing foods) :)

    Bic.
     
  9. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Bic, I don't think the fact that the context is about youth-enhancing foods makes any difference.

    According to this website and many others I checked out, The cells that line the surface of the lungs are made from 100 percent saturated fatty acids, so there appears to be no exaggeration.

    "Who would gave thunk it?" as rrose's wife would say. :rolleyes::D
     
  10. AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    Good to know. Thanks for the update. However be careful of "made from 100%..." I usually make cake from 100% butter, but the cake is obviously not pure butter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  11. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Alveolar cell - 99% water
    Alveolar cell membrane - <10% of total dry weight of cell
    Alveolar cell membrane - ~60% protein ~ 30% lipids (80% phospholipids, 20% cholesterol) ~5-10% carbohydrate
    Surfactant that lines the alveolus - 40% saturated lipids (phospholipids), 40% unsaturated lipids, 5% protein, other stuff

    Exaggeration
     
  12. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    There are supposedly 3 types of alveolar cells so I presume their composition would vary slightly, Tim. Which brings me back to what I said earlier that I read the sentence as meaning that saturated fats are one of the things that constitute the surface of the lungs. A few sentences before and after that one might help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  13. bicontinental Senior Member

    U.S.A.
    English (US), Danish, bilingual

    Hi You little ripper,
    We probably shouldn’t stray too far from the linguistic aspects of the original question and turn this post into a discussion about the histology of the alveolus, but here’s a quick answer to your last post regarding the number of alveolar cell types.


    The original sentence in post #1 refers to the alveolar surface of the lungs, specifically the structures involved in making breathing easier; this essentially translates into the surfactant layer (a surface tension-lowering substance) and the cell type that produces this. There is just one alveolar cell type that produces surfactant. The other alveolar cell type (Type I) has to do with gas exchange, and that’s it for true epithelial alveolar lining cells. (Other cell types are represented in the alveolar spaces, but that’s irrelevant in this context).
    Several of us think that the statement “saturated fats also make up the surface of our lungs” is a little exaggerated (or overly simplified), and to prove this point, Tim has listed the chemical composition of surfactant and the surfactant producing cell type. As is evident from this, fats make up a major fraction of surfactant, but there’s a smaller fraction of proteins as well (about 5-10 %). The fatty fraction is a mix of different types of fats and is not exclusively composed of saturated fats. So the point is that saturated fats (also) play an important role in the stabilization of the alveoli and thus in the health/optimal function of our lungs, and I therefore think it’s fine to go with a less literal translation…I grassi saturi, inoltre, sono parte della superficie….
    Best, Bic.
     
  14. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Bic, my personal opinion is that one should translate what the Italian text says, not what might technically be correct (if they vary). But since the sentence is ambiguous, it would be best to wait for more context. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013

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