rumore sordo

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by spero, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. spero Senior Member

    Italy
    english (USA)
    ORIGINAL IT
    Lontano si sente il rumore sordo della città.

    MY ATTEMPT
    The dull sounds of the city are heard in the distance.

    My idea of a "dull thud", as per the WR dictionary, is something dropping on the floor from a short distance. But what kind of "city sounds" is this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    I think "dull" is an option here, maybe another option is "muffled" but natives can better advise...
    I also agree that sound fits better than thud here.
     
  3. spero Senior Member

    Italy
    english (USA)
    Ah! Muffled is a wonderful word!
     
  4. elfa

    elfa Senior Member

    Bath, England
    English
    I think the idea is here that the author of this sentence is some distance away from the city, so the sound he or she hears is of distant traffic sounds, and possibly industrial machinery.

    'Muffled' suggests to me that the sound is smothered in some way - possibly not something you would apply to traffic and general city sounds, unless there is further context to suggest it.

    Would 'rumbling' work here? Otherwise I like spero's original translation.
     
  5. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Hello Spero. De Mauro dictionary says of "sordo":

    3a. agg., di suono, rumore, voce e sim., cupo, smorzato: un grido, un colpo sordo

    So dull and muffled would work fine, although I interpret it more like "cupo" here, so I'd say "gloomy".

    In the distance you can hear the gloomy noise/sound of the city.
     
  6. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    How about: "The faint sounds of the city could be heard in the distance."
     
  7. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    The faint rumbling or the distant murmur, (you muffle drums, horses' hooves and car exhausts).
     
  8. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    I like distant murmur the best of anything so far. Nice going, Arrius.
     
  9. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
  10. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    On second thought I think that "muffled" here doesn't work; as elfa pointed out it makes you think that the sound has been silenced in some way rather than by distance only.
    I favour "faint" offered by tranquilspaces, but what do you think of something combining spero's and elfa's suggestions, e.g. "dull rumbling of city sounds"?
     
  11. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    Faint murmur? I agree with other commentators that "muffled" is not quite right here...
     
  12. spero Senior Member

    Italy
    english (USA)
    faint sounds and distant murmur are my favorites so far. The only reason I originally started out with 'thud' is because WR offered it as a solution, but I didn't feel it was appropriate for the context.
     
  13. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    A thud is a sudden sound that lasts a second and then it's over. To me it doesn't work here at all.
     
  14. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    I don't agree that 'muffled' doesn't work here. We often say that something sounds muffled because it's coming from some distance away.

    muffled by the distance
     
  15. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I agree with faint and distant, but I don't see anything wrong with muffled. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone has intervened to muffle the sound; if people are talking in the next room we can say their voices are muffled, meaning we can hear them but not what they're saying.

    PS I see Charles agrees!
     
  16. King Crimson

    King Crimson Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    Italiano
    Ok Charles, I stand corrected (so my first take wasn't utter nonsense...:))
     
  17. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    But please note all these phrases in that google search *include* the word distance... you have to use the word distance because muffled doesn't work on its own. IMHO.
     
  18. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    Ts, I deliberately included the word 'distance' in that search so that it was obvious that a sound can also be muffled by distance, not just from someone intervening. In Post 9 I included a link to the Google listings using 'muffled sounds of the city', which is an indication that it is often used in this context. :)
     
  19. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    If someone shouts to us from a hilltop on a windless day, the voice may be clear but faint. If there are trees and buildings in between it may also lose clarity. In this case I think muffled is fine.
    The sounds of the city are mixed and are reflected and distorted by the buildings so that from a distance we can't make out individual sounds. I think muffled covers that.
     
  20. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    Do you think it's a good translation for "sordo" though?

    It's possible I'm relying too heavily on my Spanish, but to me this doesn't sound like "muffled," it sounds like "low volume."

    Addendum:

    Just for fun, I decided to look up "sordo" in the Word Reference Spanish --> English dictionary to see if that was skewing my feelings about this, and lo and behold - although the primary definition of this word is "deaf," darn if they don't have muffled as one of their definitions. So maybe I should just shut up now. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  21. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    According to the Cambridge dictionary 'muffled' can mean a sound that is quiet or not clear. :)
     
  22. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Hmm... that may be the problem. When spero looked up sordo in the dictionary he found dull, which to me means the noise didn't contain acute, penetrating sounds. Sordo for a person means deaf, but when applied to a sound it means precisely dull/muffled, not clear (as well as low volume, of course).
     
  23. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    Back to the ideal translation for this sentence:

    One more quick thing I want to float on this thread is that to me the word "murmur" has a bit of a sweetness about it, probably not unpleasant... Do you guys agree?

    So, depending on the picture the author is painting of the city in question, "murmur" could either add or detract from the intended meaning. Curious to hear your thoughts.

    xo
    Shannon
     
  24. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Yes, I like "murmur". And maybe in this case "muffled" wouldn't sound right, partly because of the alliteration and partly because the word "murmur" already conveys the idea of something confused and indistinct. Maybe "distant murmur".
     
  25. Akire72

    Akire72 Senior Member

    Florence, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Well, I don't dislike murmur for a more "free" translation. Yet, the Italian text does not use murmur, which also exist in Italian:

    For example:
    Lontano si sentiva il brusio/mormorio della città in movimento.

    Here I would rather go for either dull/blunt/faint or muffled sound/noise.
     
  26. tranquilspaces

    tranquilspaces Senior Member

    So maybe that brings us back to "faint sounds"? I think spero was favoring that anyway.
     

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