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Mal comune, mezzo gaudio

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Ottavio Amato, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. Ottavio Amato

    Ottavio Amato Senior Member

    Italia
    Italia
    Mal comune, mezzo gaudio

    How would you translate this Italian saying?
    I'm aware of the fact that there is the following saying in English: "Misery loves company", but the two sayings appear to be quite different (or, perhaps, I'm just looking for something that approaches to a literal translation a little more).
    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  2. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    A trouble shared is a trouble halved perhaps?
     
  3. Ottavio Amato

    Ottavio Amato Senior Member

    Italia
    Italia
    Exactly!
    Thanks Charles!
     
  4. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    You're welcome.
     
  5. shardaneng Senior Member

    casteddu
    italian
    I was recently asked if i knew the English equivalent of "mal comune mezzo gaudio".I didn't know that, so I checked here and found this old discussion.
    The proverb suggested by Charles is, in my opinion, not equivalent to the Italian one. It refers to the comforting effect that somebody could feel entrusting some problem to somebody else; while "mal comune mezzo gaudio" refers to the comforting effect that one can feel when discovers that somebody else has had the same problem of him.

    In my dictionary I found a proverb that's supposed to be equivalent to the Italian one that is:
    "fellowship in woe doth woe assuage."
    I was wondering whether it's currently used or it's archaic as it looks.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestion.
     
  6. MStraf

    MStraf Senior Member

    Da un sonetto di Shakespeare? E' una espressione che non ho mai sentito nel linguaggio comune.
    Qualcosa di piu' recente: Two in distress make sorrow less. (Samuel Beckett)
     
  7. shardaneng Senior Member

    casteddu
    italian
    Si vede che nel mio vocabolario non si sono impegnati molto ad aggiornare i proverbi.
     
  8. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Shardaeneng, even though most people interpret 'a trouble shared is a trouble halved' with talking about or asking for help with a problem will make it a lot easier to cope with, the word 'share' (definition 2b) also means to have in common, so it can mean knowing that someone has the same problem as you makes it easier to bear.

    Another couple of options might be company in distress makes sorrow less (a slight variation of MStraf's suggestion) and he grieves sore who grieves alone. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  9. shardaneng Senior Member

    casteddu
    italian
    It's just what I found. This is what the dictionary says:

    trouble shared is a trouble halved
    If you tell someone about a problem you are having, or request someone's help with a problem, the problem will not seem so daunting.

    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/trouble+shared+is+a+trouble+halved

    Anyway I have no reason to doubt your word, so if you tell me it fits, well... probably the dictionary is wrong.
     
  10. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    The dictionary isn't wrong, shardaneng; the word 'share' can mean both to talk about something to someone else and to have something in common, so that expression can be interpreted in two different ways. The most common interpretation is the one found in The Free Dictionary. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  11. shardaneng Senior Member

    casteddu
    italian
    Thanks Charles :)
     
  12. Ottavio Amato

    Ottavio Amato Senior Member

    Italia
    Italia
    "Company in distress makes sorrow less" is the closer, in my opinion. :)


    EDIT: ooops... closest :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  13. NagiMahori

    NagiMahori Senior Member

    Italian
    Sorry but :" A problem Shared is a problem halved " è presente anche in Italiano (forse proprio "importato" come " Un problema condiviso è un problema a metà " o equivalente con "dolore".

    Per Charles...I can't find in WR the word "doth"...had you typed wrongly "both" ?

    For the thread: the objectives in idiomatic sentences is to find the more examples approching the original to choose amongst...too often literally they will never match exactly....right? :)
     
  14. Fury1985 Junior Member

    Italian

    I think that "doth" is archaic for "does"
     
  15. gandolfo

    gandolfo Senior Member

    Back in Roma Roma
    English-British
    Rather than "problem" you can also use "trouble" is possibly closer to mal comune, mezzo gaudio :

    "a trouble shared is a trouble halved":)



     
  16. twainshallnevermeet New Member

    Serbian
    I'm afraid all these translations don't exactly fit in with this Italian proverb. The proverb describes the following situation: a married couple, for example, is in for a divorce. But then the war in their country breaks out and they have to cope with a much larger, communal problem than their petty family one, so they forget about it and start loving and helping each other again. Individual problems are forgotten because there are much larger, communal ones. Now the question is what's the English proverb for such a situation.
     
  17. Odysseus54

    Odysseus54 Mod huc mod illuc

    In the hills of Marche
    Italian - Marche
    Sorry , but I don't think that 'mal comune mezzo gaudio' would work in your context...
     
  18. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I agree, to me the situation described by twainshallnevermeet would be better exemplified by another italian saying, that is "chiodo scaccia chiodo", which has been discussed here.
     
  19. Teacher_67 New Member

    Italiano
    "doth" is the archaic version for "does", now used only in poems,etc....
     
  20. sallyjohnson New Member

    italiano
    This is a tricky one actually, but I certainly agree with Odysseus54...it has absolutely nothing to do with "mal comune mezzo gaudio", which , by the way, I believe can often be used in an ironical context....There are idioms that really lose their peculiarity if translated because of cultural differences....now I don't pretend to be a great expert on the subject but according to linguists who are far more experienced than me, translating is an art and as such requires someone able to rewrite a whole text or omit sentences when necessary....correct me if I'm wrong...it's a also a personal choice at the end of the day...
     

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