come le spazzole di una testa rognosa

Bartelby2018

New Member
English
Ciao a tutti, mi potreste aiutare con la frase seguente? Per contesto, un'autista sta descrivendo la sua entrata a Roma:

Originale: "E finalmente c'era un unico infinito palazzo che attraversava tutta la città diramandosi dappertutto come le spazzole di una testa rognosa."

Prova mia: "And finally, there was a single, infinite palazzo that traversed the entire city, spreading over it like a brush over a head of tangled hair." (oppure "...spreading over it like a hairbrush over a head of rats' nests")

È che non capsico bene a che si referiscono "le spazzole." Quando lo lego io, potrebbe essere sia la mia prova che qualcos'altra (per esempio, potrebee essere che "le spazzole" sia un eufanismo per dei capelli rognsoi). Grazie di antemano, ragazzi!
 
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    My guess would be that the spazzole are tufts of hair on a scabby head. But I'm not a native speaker, so I'm curious to see what they say. :)
     

    ohbice

    Senior Member
    Rognosa qui per me ha solo il senso figurato di "difficili da pettinare". Vedi rogna nel wr dictionary.
    rogna nffigurato, familiare (incombenza odiosa)pain, pest n
    (UK, Ire, AU, vulgar)pain in the arse n
    (US, Can, vulgar)pain in the ass n
    Questo lavoro è proprio una rogna.
    This task is a real pain (or: pest).
     

    alfaalfa

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Ciao,
    sei sicur* di aver scritto correttamente la frase originale? Forse capendo bene il primo termine del paragone (io non capisco il significato di "unico infinito palazzo che attraversava tutta la città diramandosi dappertutto" riferito a Roma) si riesce a capire bene anche il resto.
     

    Bartelby2018

    New Member
    English
    Ciao,
    sei sicur* di aver scritto correttamente la frase originale? Forse capendo bene il primo termine del paragone (io non capisco il significato di "unico infinito palazzo che attraversava tutta la città diramandosi dappertutto" riferito a Roma) si riesce a capire bene anche il resto.
    Si, sono sicura, la frase è così. Pero sto d'accordo che il uso è molto strano! Un grande palazzo che si estende per la città mi appare una cosa singolare e molto distinto dai ciuffi sparsi di capelli...
     

    Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Do we agree that "rognosa" is rather negative?
    Yes.

    I also agree with Bartelby2018 in #7 when he says the idea of "one big building branching through the whole city"
    is quite different from that of "clumps" or "tufts" which is reminescent of different smaller buildings scattered across an area.
    The problem definitely lies in the original sentence.
     
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    Haltona

    Senior Member
    Italian
    If one imagines the "unico infinito palazzo che attraversava tutta la città" as the whole city, then the single buildings might look like tufts of hair on a scabby head. As metaphors go, it's quite awkward and obscure.
    And there it was, that endless single palace, sprawled over the entire city like tufts of hair on a scabby head is my, possibly lame, attempt at translation.
     

    esky

    Member
    English/Italian - bilingual
    "E finalmente c'era un unico infinito palazzo che attraversava tutta la città diramandosi dappertutto come le spazzole di una testa rognosa."
    "And, finally, there was a single, infinite palazzo that ran through the entire city, branching out everywhere like a medusa".

    or
    ...branching out everywhere like unruly hair.

    I am usually adamant about "adding" words to a translation, but in the end, it's all about conveying the right meaning in the closest best way possible. It really depends on how well the source text is written, and if the expression, simile, metaphor, etc. has a specific use — or if it's just there because it's convenient.

    Meow.
     

    ohbice

    Senior Member
    In questi tempi in cui il Caravaggio tracima da ogni angolo, col direttore degli Uffizi che si fa intervistare con sullo sfondo la medusa, e perfino il paesello mio che celebra in questa calda estate la figura del Caravaggio con una mostra sulle fotografie delle di lui opere, la metafora della medusa mi è insopportabile (è decisamente un problema mio, mi scuso con Esky).
    Unruly hair però mi piace :)
     

    Haltona

    Senior Member
    Italian
    "And, finally, there was a single, infinite palazzo that ran through the entire city, branching out everywhere like a medusa".

    or
    ...branching out everywhere like unruly hair.

    I am usually adamant about "adding" words to a translation, but in the end, it's all about conveying the right meaning in the closest best way possible. It really depends on how well the source text is written, and if the expression, simile, metaphor, etc. has a specific use — or if it's just there because it's convenient.

    Meow.
    I don't think this works with the rest of the paragraph. The image the author tries to convey is of an ugly, dirty and hostile place, with parked cars that looked like mummified dogs and front doors tauntingly gaping, closed shops and greasy shutters:

    1656573584659.png
     
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    esky

    Member
    English/Italian - bilingual
    I don't think this works with the rest of the paragraph. The image the author tries to convey is of an ugly, dirty and hostile place, with parked cars that looked like mummified dogs and front doors tauntingly gaping, closed shops and greasy shutters:

    View attachment 73423

    I don't think this works with the rest of the paragraph.

    You don't say! 🤓

    Context is everything. And that was my point, too. The humanizing and animal-like metaphors obviously set the tone, so now the palazzo becomes something more in line with the rest of the text.

    A questo punto potrebbero sembrare delle vere e proprie spazzole per capelli, specialmente per il fatto che si dirama per la città. Strutture a forme di spazzole, il corpo principale con denti che "pettinano" la città. In pratica, le spazzole vanno ad agire sulla testa rognosa (Roma). Chissà.

    ... there was a single, infinite palazzo that ran through the entire city, branching out/scattered everywhere like hair brushes for an unruly head of hair.



    Adesso che ci penso, per questa alliterazione

    "attraversava tutta la città diramandosi dappertutto..."

    forse è meglio

    spread out everywhere like hair brushes for an unruly head of hair.



    Contextual meow.
     

    Haltona

    Senior Member
    Italian
    A questo punto potrebbero sembrare delle vere e proprie spazzole per capelli, specialmente per il fatto che si dirama per la città. Strutture a forme di spazzole, il corpo principale con denti che "pettinano" la città. In pratica, le spazzole vanno ad agire sulla testa rognosa (Roma). Chissà.
    No. This really doesn't make any sense. And a "testa rognosa" under no circumstances can be rendered with "an unruly head of hair".
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I'm not sure I still understand what is trying to be conveyed here, but translating it literally does not make sense in English. If the sense is that of being spread out in an unruly fashion, Australians have an expression which goes: ......... like a mad woman's washing! We also have: ........ like a dog's breakfast!
     

    esky

    Member
    English/Italian - bilingual
    No. This really doesn't make any sense. And a "testa rognosa" under no circumstances can be rendered with "an unruly head of hair".

    Let's see if you can understand why this is not very helpful. You did not give any explanations as to why it was incorrect.


    Here's an example of me not being helpful:

    If one imagines the "unico infinito palazzo che attraversava tutta la città" as the whole city, then the single buildings might look like tufts of hair on a scabby head. As metaphors go, it's quite awkward and obscure.
    And there it was, that endless single palace, sprawled over the entire city like tufts of hair on a scabby head is my, possibly lame, attempt at translation.

    No. This really doesn't make any sense. "And there it was, that ....." is just plain wrong.

    Sprawled over like tufts: under no circumstances is that good. The sense of "sprawling over" does not go well with "tufts".


    ________________________

    Don't misunderstand me. I see your point, but this is a forum where the focus is on an exchange of ideas. Not opinions. This is why I like taking part in it.

    Back to the real world:

    I wanted to render the chaotic, confusing side of "rognoso", rather than the illness itself.

    If it is, indeed, a mangy head, then it might be

    ... spread out like/scattered like patches of hair on a mangy head.

    mangy = more for the animal kingdom
    scabby = more for humans

    Disappointed meow (mange-free)
     

    Haltona

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'm not sure I still understand what is trying to be conveyed here, but translating it literally does not make sense in English. If the sense is that of being spread out in an unruly fashion, Australians have an expression which goes: ......... like a mad woman's washing! We also have: ........ like a dog's breakfast!
    As you can see from this discussion, even native Italians have problems understanding the sentence. Reading the whole paragraph gives a better idea of the atmosphere it wants to convey: a dead and dirty place, oppressive and slightly menacing, and in my opinion the translation should not stray too much from the original. Testa rognosa is a mangy, scabby head, your colourful expressions are wonderful but they don't fit here.
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    Secondo Treccani, per estensione "spazzola" può significare "ciuffo di peli". If "rognosa" means "scruffy, mangy, scabby", then perhaps "clumps" rather than "tufts", "clump" being one of the WR suggestions for "ciuffo".

    Treccani says : "Ciuffo di peli (barbetta) del nodello, che in alcuni cavalli di razze settentrionali scende da dietro agli stinchi fino a terra." A very specific "ciuffo di peli", in the context of a very specialized language. I had no idea until today what a 'nodello' is when it's at home, for instance, and I lived a happy and interesting life regardless.

    'Spazzola', when used with 'capelli', means a type of crew cut where the hair of the top of the head is cut short and stands up vertically. I think it's called 'flattop', it's the hair style Kurt Russell wears in 'Stargate'. 'Spazzola' in general conveys the idea of a clump of stiff bristles, that's why it's a bit hard to accept the metaphor.

    Anyway, assuming that that's the exact text, I'd say ".. and finally there was a single, endless building that ran through the entire city spreading everywhere like the clumps of hair on a mangy head."

    'Palazzo' here should not mean 'palace' = 'prestigious building', but simply 'building', as in 'palazzo di appartamenti'. How a single, uninterrupted building can remind one of sparse clumps of hair, lo sapra' lui che lo scrive.
     

    MR1492

    Senior Member
    English -USA
    Thanks, Ody! Here's a thought. I also wondered if the spazzola in question was a crewcut. That's what the WRF Dictionary says. So, perhaps rather than clumps of hair, the author was talking about an unending evenness of the apartment buildings (all of them standing at the same height) lined up like the hair of a crewcut.

    He might have used rognoso to imply that the base of the buildings (and perhaps the city) was corrupt and "mangy" but the buildings themselves were just overly uniform and appeared to be everywhere in the city.

    As I said, it's just a thought based on all the wonderful work that appears in the 21 preceeding posts.

    Phil
     

    esky

    Member
    English/Italian - bilingual
    Thanks, Ody! Here's a thought. I also wondered if the spazzola in question was a crewcut. That's what the WRF Dictionary says. So, perhaps rather than clumps of hair, the author was talking about an unending evenness of the apartment buildings (all of them standing at the same height) lined up like the hair of a crewcut.

    He might have used rognoso to imply that the base of the buildings (and perhaps the city) was corrupt and "mangy" but the buildings themselves were just overly uniform and appeared to be everywhere in the city.

    As I said, it's just a thought based on all the wonderful work that appears in the 21 preceeding posts.

    Phil
    That's a very interesting take, @MR1492

    It's true, WRF Dictionary says: "a spazzola". In fact, I've only heard it used that way.

    — Conosci Esky?
    — Si, è quello con i capelli a spazzola.

    I'm not sure if that's what the author was going for.
    The fact that this part of the sentence is open to interpretation means that the author is a really good writer, or that he/she/etc. was really pushing the envelope here.

    I like the idea of the buildings at he same height, but maybe the tone here is more decadent, wouldn't you say?

    Meow.
     

    Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    perhaps rather than clumps of hair, the author was talking about an unending evenness of the apartment buildings (all of them standing at the same height) lined up like the hair of a crewcut.
    ...which, again, makes "...di una testa rognosa" an unnecessary and somewhat misleading whim, IMHO.

    Incidentally, the simile with a crew-cut could have been: spazzola (singular) at the most;
    le spazzole di una testa still makes no sense to me.
    (OK, I said I would stop. :D )
     
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    Pietruzzo

    Senior Member
    Italian
    To me, according to the author's metaphor, the buildings in Rome look like a pile of dirty hair brushes used by a guy with scabs on their scalp.
     
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    Just to say that to me, a non-native, the crew cut idea (capelli a spazzola, singular spazzola in the Italian expression which means crew cut, and the idea of uniformity) and the dirty hairbrushes (do we really want to translate spazzole as hairbrushes here?) both seem way off the mark, but the "endless building that ran through the entire city spreading everywhere like the clumps / tussocks of hair on a mangy / scabby head" seems more likely and more poetic.
    Anyway, I am promoting "clump" and "tussock".
    I think I am very close to theartichoke on post 2.
    Has anyone thought of contacting the author?
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Do clumps of hair spread everywhere on a scabby head? I'm aftaid they tend to thin out.
    I've tried to visualize what the author could be getting at with this simile, and if you think of the buildings in Rome as the clumps or tufts of hair, and the streets and piazzas as the bare, scabby scalp, it kind of works. I suppose it's also possible to see the buildings in Rome, or any other old city, as being like "un unico, infinito palazzo" insofar as they tend to be all connected to each other: someone from the countryside, where each separate building is surrounded by land, might be inclined to see it this way.
     
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