A pensare male si fa peccato ma spesso ci si azzecca

Carlaccio

Member
Italy, Italian
Ciao a tutti!

Dovrei tradurre il celebre proverbio andreottiano "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca".

La traduzione non deve essere tanto letterale, quanto invece conservare lo spirito ironico, salace e un po' malinconico che la frase ha nel contesto italiano. Non so proprio da che parte cominciare. Qualche suggerimento?
 
  • Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    Ciao a tutti!

    Dovrei tradurre il celebre proverbio andreottiano "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca".

    La traduzione non deve essere tanto letterale, quanto invece conservare lo spirito ironico, salace e un po' malinconico che la frase ha nel contesto italiano. Non so proprio da che parte cominciare. Qualche suggerimento?
    Hmm...sono un po' perplesso. Non avere familiarità con la parola "azzeccarsi". Che ne pensi di..

    To think badly would be to sin, but very often one blahs...

    Allora...qualcuno aiuta me?
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Dovrei tradurre il celebre proverbio andreottiano "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca".
    For reasons too manifold to mention (!), I'd go for something like this:

    "It's not a good thing to be too suspicious, but very often it's the right thing to be."

    By the way, I'm curious: perchè dici "dovrei tradurre"? Do you mean you have to do it as part of a specific, longer piece of translation, or what? Who is it who happens to be interested enough to want to convey Andreotti's quasi-Wildean witticism...?
     

    Hockey13

    Senior Member
    AmEnglish/German
    Dovrei tradurre il celebre proverbio andreottiano "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca".
    For reasons too manifold to mention (!), I'd go for something like this:

    "It's not a good thing to be too suspicious, but very often it's the right thing to be."

    By the way, I'm curious: perchè dici "dovrei tradurre"? Do you mean you have to do it as part of a specific, longer piece of translation, or what? Who is it who happens to be interested enough to want to convey Andreotti's quasi-Wildean witticism...?
    Pensar male vuol dire "to be suspicious"??? Davvero?
     

    arirossa

    Senior Member
    Italy italian
    Pensar male vuol dire "to be suspicious"??? Davvero?
    Sì, più o meno, nel senso che è anche peggio, più che sospettare è essere convinti di un cattivo comportamento/cattive intenzioni della/delle persone di cui si pensa male. Mentre "azzeccare" è "indovinare/avere ragione".
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sull'Hazon ho trovato "pensar male di qualcuno/qualcosa" = to think ill of sthg,/s.o....
    Yes! I knew I should have looked it up...!

    "It's an ill thing to think ill of people, but if you do you're very often right".

    (Alternative endings: "...but one very often turns out to be right in doing so/but very often it turns out that one is right to do so".)

    I quite like that! But "of people" isn't quite right, because one can "think ill" of things (situations), too (cf rocamadour's Hazon). And it sounds funny to leave out "of people" altogether. Hmm...
     

    Carlaccio

    Member
    Italy, Italian
    Dovrei tradurre il celebre proverbio andreottiano "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca".
    For reasons too manifold to mention (!), I'd go for something like this:

    "It's not a good thing to be too suspicious, but very often it's the right thing to be."

    By the way, I'm curious: perchè dici "dovrei tradurre"? Do you mean you have to do it as part of a specific, longer piece of translation, or what? Who is it who happens to be interested enough to want to convey Andreotti's quasi-Wildean witticism...?
    Innanzi tutto grazie a tutti per le risposte! :)

    Devo tradurre per l'università un articolo che si apre proprio con quella citazione, e volevo porlo nel modo più aderente possibile allo "spirito" andreottiano (oddio, cosa vado a dire...:eek: ). Essendo una citazione virgolettata, non mi andava di cambiarla troppo.

    Che ne dici di:

    "It's an ill thing to think ill of something, but you very often turn out to be right."

    ?
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    "It's an ill thing to think ill of something, but you very often turn out to be right." ?
    No, sorry: it's incomplete if you only say "of something". You can't miss out "people". But it's hard to refer to them both!

    One solution is to mention neither, and say:
    "It's an ill thing to think ill all the time, but you very often turn out to be right".

    You could argue that "all the time" changes the meaning, but it fills a gap! ;-)

    Who was it who said "Le traduzioni esasperate logorano solo chi non ce la fa"? ;-)
     

    Ka Mate Ka Ora

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    "A pensar male si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca"

    Literally, "to think evil one sins, but very often is spot on"

    However, I prefer "to suspect evil one sins, but is often spot on"
     

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Fascinating thread :) ! My attempt is a compact play on right/wrong :

    "Thinking ill is wrong, but very often right"
     

    Ka Mate Ka Ora

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    Fascinating thread :) ! My attempt is a compact play on right/wrong :

    "Thinking ill is wrong, but very often right"
    Salve Baldpate,

    The quote is attributed to Giulio Andreotti, the godfather of Italian politics for several decades. Google him for more fascination.

    Ciao :)
     

    spero

    Senior Member
    english (USA)
    Original Italian:
    A pensare male si fa peccato ma non si sbaglia mai

    My attempt:
    It's a sin to think badly, but you're never mistaken.


    Is this by chance an expression in Italian? If it is, is there an English equivalent or is my translation alright?

    Thanks
     

    giginho

    Senior Member
    Italiano & Piemontese
    I don't know if there's an equivalent in English, but in Italian is a very popular phrase!

    A pensar male si fa peccato ma non si sbaglia mai......quite a life style!

    You caught the meaning....but maybe you can find something better
     
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    Anja.Ann

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Ciao Spero e ciao Gigi :)

    Proverei così: "You commit a sin if you think evil thoughts, yet you are unlikely to be wrong." ... does it make sense, Spero? :confused: :)
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I can't think of any set expression but thought of these
    It's wrong to think badly of someone, but often you're right.
    Sometimes paranoids are right!
     

    tsoapm

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Wicked thoughts are sinful, but often hit the nail on the head.

    (I omit the 'very' only because I feel that it interrupts the flow somehow.)
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Nice try, Mark, but for me "wicked" is a bit too generic, and... doesn't quite hit the nail on the head. But I approve the continuing attempt to find a more definitive (and incisive) translation of this rather catchy "proverb". My 2 cents'.
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    "A pensar male (di qualcuno, ovvero pensare che qualcuno sia disonesto o ci voglia fregare) si fa peccato, ma molto spesso ci si azzecca"

    I read it like this so, in my opinion, there should be something that reminds the reader of the target of this saw.
     

    GavinW

    Senior Member
    British English
    Another shot: "It's morally wrong to suspect other people's motives, but often practically right".
    I like the effect of two contrasting terms (mirroring each other), or sets of terms. But, yes, "practically" is a bit forced.

    EDIT: Also: "It may not be nice to suspect people's motives, but you often end up being nasty, and right."

    That seems to do the basic job, too, just about. At this point, we may be in the realm of sheer poetics, and taste, I hazard.
     

    King Crimson

    Modus in fabula
    Italiano
    I like this, but couldn't we play on the word wrong?

    It is wrong to think badly of someone, but you are rarely wrong.
    To me both these options (and especially the one by chip) suggest that one is right not because he is thinking bad (of someone) but because is one who is rarely mistaken, in other words being right seems a personal quality rather than a consequence of thinking bad.
    But I may well be misunderstanding you guys...;)
     
    To me both these options (and especially the one by chip) suggest that one is right not because he is thinking bad (of someone) but because is one who is rarely mistaken, in other words being right seems a personal quality rather than a consequence of thinking bad.
    But I may well be misunderstanding you guys...;)
    I see your point...
    Then maybe:

    It is wrong to think badly of someone but you hardly get it wrong
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    It is important, though, to point out (as many have done in previous posts) that "pensar male" means "to be suspicious of someone's motivations": "It is a sin to think that people have ill intentions, but it usually turns out to be so".
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    "It's wrong to always be* suspicious, but you're bound to be right some of the time". (but 'some of the time' isn't quite 'spesso').
    *Sorry for the split infinitive, but I think it's the lesser of two evils here - 'sound' over (arguable?) prescription.

    EDIT: I like lentulax's suggestions in #36!
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    A looser translation might also work.

    .......... to be suspicious about someone, but (quite often)/(more often than not) those suspicions turn out to be well-founded.
     
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    GinoParigioxy88

    New Member
    italian
    I liked a lot of attempts.
    For me, first sentence it's "negative", the second is "positive". The negative is not only "thinking bad about someone" but also "commit a sin", both are closely linked. Positive aspect for me is " to be right often", so in my opinion is better pointing out "to be right often" rather than "to be wrong rarely".
    I like: "Thinking evil may be sin, but often hits the mark. " , "You sin in thinking bad about people, but, often, you guess right"
    and also "It's an ill thing to think ill of people, but if you do you're very often right"

    In italian it's obvious that "thinking bad" it refers to someone, because Andreotti wanted to express that idea. I don't know if in english can mean the same.

    My attempt: "you commit a sin if you think evil (or think ill of someone), but almost surely you'll be (or you're) right".
    (sorry for grammar mistakes)

    In italian it's famous also that expression : " A pensar male si fa peccato ma difficilmente ci si sbaglia". In that case i like this translation: "It is wrong to think badly of someone, but you are rarely wrong. "
     
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