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Milano da bere

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by kita_it, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. kita_it Junior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italy Italian
    Hi all

    I'm translating into English a tourist guide.
    Describing Milan it mentions the famous expression "Milano da bere" (the sentence sounds like "Potete piacevolmente bighellonare nella Milano da bere...")

    The meaning is clear - it's an expression that has become idiomatic since the last 20 years, after a famous advertising campaign of a Milanese aperitive. It refers to all the pubs, bars, restaurants, etc etc that wake up at sunset and close at dawn, and that give us Milanese people such a variety of interesting ways to hang around for hours from 6 p.m. on...

    But is there a decent way to translate that??? Thank you!!
     
  2. Parergon Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Italiano, Italia
  3. baldpate

    baldpate Senior Member

    London
    UK, English
    Milan night-life ?
     
  4. Parergon Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Italiano, Italia
    Baldpate, temo così sfugga la dimensione del bere (nello specifico, dell' aperitivo – evento che non necessariamente si associa al night-life).

    Suppongo che il termine sia talmente specifico, da rendere qualsivoglia traduzione riduttiva. Infondo, come tradurre aperitivo (l' evento)?
     
  5. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I think it's untranslatable. "Milan to drink" is meaningless; the poor translator was evidently in difficulty like the rest of us! If you think back, also in Italian "Milano da bere" was meaningless until it was coined for the commercial.
    What about "Milan's evening and night life"? I'm not 100% convinced, but that would include the aperitif.
     
  6. turbodog Junior Member

    USA/English
    I suggest "Drink in Milan" with drink in the imperative sense. Obviously you would be drinking in Milan...
     
  7. dani57 New Member

    India
    Italian , Italy
    Ciao,
    un'altra possibilita', secondo me potrebbe essere "where, what to drink in Milan". Essendo una guida ci sara' senz'altro una lista dei posti dove andare e alcune delle loro specialita'!
     
  8. EmaDaCuz New Member

    Italy
    E qulacosa tipo
    "Drinkin' Milan"?
    E' un mix tra "bevendo Milano" e "bere a Milano"...
     
  9. GavinW Senior Member

    Italy
    British English
    My best stab(s): the Milan aperitif scene, Milan's aperitif bar circuit, Milan's famous all-night bars, Milan's famous drinking and socializing scene .. or some such.
    (hic!)
     
  10. Lorenzo1980 Junior Member

    Ferrara, Italy
    Italy, Italian
    I'm afraid it's really difficult to find an expression that conveys the meaning of (or behind) Milano da bere. I mean, it's hard to understand what Milano da bere means unless you know some context (Milan, the 80's, etc....).
     
  11. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    Reading this old thread I was surprised to see that none of my fellow native speakers pointed out that this expression, though originated as a slogan for a commercial, is by now definitely used in a derogatory fashion and has become a byword for a milieu where, under the sleek, glittering surface of fashion designers, hot spots and new money, a world of unprincipled young go-getters, unscrupulous businessmen and corrupt politicians was paving the way to that phenomenon that would eventually become known as “Tangentopoli”.

    Wiki tells the story (only in Italian, I'm sorry:eek:).
     
  12. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    It must be something to do with age, KC, as that's certainly what I associate Milan in the 80s (la Milano da bere*) with.;)
    Whether or not it's translateable is quite another matter (I would say it isn't). This might be one of those cases in which it's better to leave the expression in the original language and write a footnote explaining it.;)

    * Were you thinking about anyone in particular when you mentioned unscrupulous businessmen and corrupt politicians :D? No, don't answer that, you'll get done for slander and libel.:D
     
  13. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
     
  14. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Sue Wiki, KC? They should get a bloody medal!:D

    I hadn't read the Wiki article when I replied to you, by the way.:D

    KIta, come pensi di fare?:)
     
  15. the Grim Reaper Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    I have to translate exactly the same idiom... Do you think swinging Milan can be used? Maybe it doesn't convey the derogatory meaning it has now, but it can give an idea of the atmosphere then. Or maybe go-getters' Milan...

    Any suggestions? Thanks a lot!
     
  16. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    Wales
    English (Ireland), Welsh, Irish
  17. the Grim Reaper Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    Sorry I thought the meaning was clear from the thread above. However it an article about a bar where non-yuppies used to hang out "prima che fosse frequentato dagli squali della Milano da bere"

    Thanks
     
  18. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    Wales
    English (Ireland), Welsh, Irish
    The meaning of the phrase is clear, however, from the rest of the thread, it's also clear that this is difficult to translate in English, hence we need the context in order to be able to paraphrase. Maybe you could translate it with "Milan's yuppies and political sharks", but wait for some more ideas :)
     
  19. Teerex51

    Teerex51 Senior Member

    Milan, Italy
    Italian
    Just came across this discussion. I'd be tempted to translate it with "cocktail-crowd Milan"...

    (The original expression is culturally charged: it can assume many meanings and evoke different feelings in each reader. Leaving it untranslated, as LC suggested last year, would require a hell of a footnote. I'd rather offer a partial translation than risk getting bogged down in a mini-treatise on Milan in the 80s :D)
     
  20. the Grim Reaper Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    Thanks Tegs and Teerex for the interesting insights! I'll think about it. Considering it's a lighthearted lifestyle article I want to avoid foot-notes, or any lengthy explanation. I just need something that sounds "cool". ;)
     
  21. MR1492

    MR1492 Senior Member

    Bowie, MD
    English -USA
    And I would be careful of using the term swinging Milan. In the US, the term swinging means husbands and wives who exchange sexual partners. I'm not sure that's the intent here! You might be safest with Teerex's suggestions of "cocktail-crowd Milan."

    Phil
     
  22. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    Wales
    English (Ireland), Welsh, Irish
    It means the same thing here, so definitely avoid that translation!! I'd go for Teerex's solution too.
     
  23. the Grim Reaper Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    Thanks for all your help. I am thinking about a solution that manages to convey more than just drinking. What about go-getting Milan​? Does it sound too weird?
     
  24. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I’m afraid it won't work:eek:. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but I still believe that while it’s true that this expression (MdB) originated as the tagline for a commercial, it is now so culturally loaded (as also TR pointed out) that it’s almost impossible to translate it with a similar stand-alone expression, able to capture all the social, political and cultural nuances it has assumed from its inception through the 80s and early 90s (indeed Wiki needs a full-fledged entry to explain it).

    The sentence you posted, for that matter, mentions the “squali della Milano da bere”. Now, I think that “cocktail-crowd” (or any similar expression) for a native speaker only conjures up people gathering for their happy hour and, generally speaking, would not be associated to “sharks”. Yet, the concept of sharks is exactly part of what MdB entails (in addition to the rest, of course).

    At any rate, even assuming that some Italian speakers might read MdB in its original meaning (for which I agree the translation proposed by TR fits the bill), non-native speakers could be led to believe that MdB always (i.e. in any context) has that meaning, whereas the opposite is true. On the other hand, if you need to specify that “cocktail-crowd” only applies to that context, this is like using a footnote and we are back to square one.
    Bottom line? Personally I would stick to LC’s qualified advice (post #12): the expression cannot be translated, but then again the final decision is up to the translator, so we can suggest but the last word is yours.

    Apologies for the rant, but hope that helps.;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  25. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I don't agree. "cocktail-crowd Milan" is not a neutral term and conveys some idea of contempt. It may not conjure up the full image, but I think it's the best suggestion so far.
     
  26. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I see your point Einstein but my question is whether the best (so far) is good enough. To me, in light of what I tried to explain above, the answer is no, but I reckon this answer is largely dependent on the meaning given to this expression (and the context where it's used), so I think we may agree to disagree on that.;)
     
  27. MR1492

    MR1492 Senior Member

    Bowie, MD
    English -USA
    Most of the posters appear familiar with the history of the Milano da Bere phrase. I, however, am completely ignorant about it and its history. So, absent that knowledge, the term "cocktail-crowd Milan" or anything similar just brings to mind the happy residents of Milano enjoying an afternoon cocktail on their way home. There is absolutely no cultural or historical or sociological baggage associated with the phrase.

    So, it is either untranslatable or will require a very long footnote.

    Phil
     
  28. the Grim Reaper Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    Thanks again to everyone for their insights. In the end we decided to leave it in Italian, as the full extent of its meaning is untranslatable and we didn't want to privilege one aspect or the other.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013

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