fare i propri conti

Firestarter

Senior Member
United States, English
Ciao,

Can the sentence "I personaggi fanno i propri conti da soli." be translated as "The characters face themselves alone."? Or can someone give me a better translation?

Grazie in anticipo!
 
  • Firestarter

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Yes, I read the other threads on it already. The part that is a little confusing to me is "proprio". I know what it means in general, I guess I am just unsure about how it works in this sentence.
    The only really helpful context I can give is that the sentence is from the description of a song (Giorni A Perdere by Subsonica) explaining about the characters of the song.
     

    underhouse

    Senior Member
    Italian
    "Fare i propri conti" means something like knowing what you are doing on the basis of information that may be hidden/precluded to other people.

    For example, a politician comes up with a different strategy, seemingly unpopular, to win the political elections.
    His opponent doesn't know what is behind his choice, but he knows that there must be something and say:

    Avrà fatto bene i suoi conti!

    That is, he must have his reasons.

    How can it be translated into English?

    Thanks!
     

    tomzenith

    Senior Member
    English - Britain
    Well 'he must have his reasons' might not be idiomatic, but it is very commonly used - to be honest, I can't think of anything else that would work as well in this context.
     

    tesec

    New Member
    English - USA
    For example, a politician comes up with a different strategy, seemingly unpopular, to win the political elections.
    His opponent doesn't know what is behind his choice, but he knows that there must be something and say:

    Avrà fatto bene i suoi conti!
    Why "bene"? Because he won the election? Or because he was able to keep some kind of information secret from the public?
    Is the sentence avra' fatto bene i suoi conti say something negative about this politician? Or does it imply that he is wise and knows better than the public?
     

    xmas50

    Senior Member
    USA
    Italian - Italy
    Why "bene"?
    Because this politician went for an unpopular strategy to win the elections; which means that he must have "well" evaluated his risks, his pros and cons and decided to go for it.
    This expression has no negative meaning, it just implies that he knows better in taking his calculated risks (ha preso dei rischi calcolati)
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Fare i propri conti" means something like knowing what you are doing on the basis of information that may be hidden/precluded to other people.
    Avrà fatto bene i suoi conti!
    That is, he must have his reasons.
    Superb explanation.

    Since I'm a sucker for the literal, I wonder about:
    He's made his own calculations.
    He had his own considerations.
    He had his (personal) rationale.
    He used his own judgement.
    He had his own motivations.

    These are not "better" than "reasons", just a way of broadening the possibilities.
     

    Firestarter

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    "Fare i propri conti" means something like knowing what you are doing on the basis of information that may be hidden/precluded to other people.

    Avrà fatto bene i suoi conti!

    That is, he must have his reasons.
    Interesting. So I dug up the original context, and this is the entirety of the paragraph:

    - GIORNI A PERDERE: il beat accelera nuovamente su una battuta che pulsa quasi drum'n bass. Ma le corde dell'elettrica, la voce distorta, i synth nevrotici spostano lo scenario. Sempre strada, notte, sempre cose viste o vissute da vicino. Altri personaggi dai sogni incerti e dalle abitudini non sempre edificanti. Ma non c'è lettura morale, solo lettura e basta. I personaggi fanno i propri conti da soli.

    So then do you think that the translation you gave works here? That is, something like "the characters keep their reasons to themselves" or "the characters have their own reasons for their actions"?
     

    underhouse

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Why "bene"? Because he won the election?
    No, the outcome of the elections is not known yet, in my example.

    Or because he was able to keep some kind of information secret from the public?
    Perhaps this information is the result of his own interpretation of the data and he is not necessarily keeping it secret from the public.

    Is the sentence avra' fatto bene i suoi conti say something negative about this politician?
    Not necessarely.

    Or does it imply that he is wise and knows better than the public?
    Yes, this would be more the case.
    Here is another example: a dialogue between two friends.

    Tizio: I thought you were not interested in that job...

    Caio: At first I wasn't interested, then I found out that with this job I can retire at 40 with a good pay-off that I will invest in a businees in the Maldives islands where I want to live...

    Tizio: Vedo che hai fatto bene i tuoi conti...

    I think that Tim's suggestions:

    He's made his own calculations.
    He had his own considerations.


    are quite close to the Italian expression.
     
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