a quattro mani

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Zia Mame, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Hello guys,

    I need to translate this sentence from Italian into English: "come scrivono gli editori, nella loro introduzione a quattro mani".
    My first attempt would be: "as the publishers write in their introduction", but I am really afraid of the expression "a quattro mani", which is very metaphorical and typical of Italian. I don't know whether the English uses the same ("four hands?") to give the idea of a collaboration between to persons in a work/activity.
    I would opt for "four hands", but it sounds really literal, and to be honest I have never come across it among English natives. But I wait for some suggestions, and I do thank you in advance for your help.
  2. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    English (Ireland)
    Hi Zia, benvenut@

    Could you please give us the whole sentence?

    You are right - "four hands" is not an expression we use in English, but if you give us the full sentence, we can hopefully find a more idiomatic translation :)
  3. Hello Tegs,
    thank you very much for your immediate help.
    The whole sentence is: "come gli editori scrivono nella loro introduzione a quattro mani, il ruolo che Scott svolge nello sviluppo del romanzo europeo è oggi dato per scontato in sede critica".
    My attempt is: "as the publishers write in their introduction [...], today scholars take for granted the role Scott plays in the development of European novel"-rather, in the passive form "the role Scott plays in the development of European novel is taken for granted by scholars today".
    A quattro mani means here that the introduction has been written together by them both- in fact, it has both their "signatures".
    Hope it could be of some help!
  4. Tegs

    Tegs Mód ar líne

    English (Ireland)
    Thanks for the phrase. I'd say in this case, steer clear of literal translation. If there are only two editors, you could say:

    "As the editors write in their joint introduction"

    I think also you are referring to editors, and not publishers ;) An editor is a person who reads what the author has written and changes it (corrects the mistakes etc) before it is printed. A publisher is the person (or, more often, the company) who prints the book when it's finished.
  5. london calling Senior Member

    ...write in their joint introduction, maybe.:)

    PS. Piano four hands is used, but only when talking about two people playing piano together in a duet.:)

    Ha! Great minds....:D
  6. Thank you both for your collaboration. Yes, the image is borrowed from piano playing, and is used in other contexts as well so as to give the idea of a joint work between two persons. But I was quite sure English is not so metaphorical as Italian is sometimes!

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