ma a volerlo fare.....

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hi everyone,

A landlady is showing a guy the apartment he'll be sharing with a roommate. When the roommate opens the door, they both see that the apartment sink is piled high with dirty dishes. We then get this line, all of which is perfectly clear to me except that last phrase: "È chiaro che dovrete metterci un po' di impegno," disse con aria schifata. "Oltre alle spese dovrete dividere i lavori di pulizia, ma a volerlo fare....". The sentence trails off here, and she steps into the apartment and starts talking about something else.

Does "ma a volerlo fare..." mean something like "but if you're willing to do it [the cleaning shouldn't be too hard]"? Or "but you [both] need to be willing to do it....."? Clearly, she wants them to share the cleaning duties and actually do some cleaning, because the place is currently in a disgusting state, but what exactly is she implying here? The only other relevant context is what she says previously, while looking at the sink: "col ragazzo che è andato via la settimana scorsa è filato liscio per un anno intero, peccato che abbia cambiato lavoro e si sia dovuto spostare in an altra città." So it's possible that the roommate who's now left used to take care of the cleaning, I suppose.
 
  • Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Secondo me, la padrona di casa intendeva dire che se c'è davvero la volontà ci si mette d'accordo nel dividere e fare i lavori di pulizia.
     

    Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    That's not a very usual way of putting the italian phrase...
    My guess is she's just insinuating they're not used to cleaning/tidying at all,
    so my guess would be: but you('ll) have to be willing to do it!
    implying:
    "...but before sharing the duty, you'll have to be willing to discharge it, which I suspect you're not!" (uttered in disgust).
     
    Last edited:

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Something like "with a bit of goodwill...(you can manage)".
    Sì, insomma, un po' come dire che se si vuole veramente, il modo si trova.
    Una strana versione (a metà, peraltro) di "volere è potere".

    Edit:
    In realtà, ora che ci penso, potrebbe anche sottintendere "se vi va di farlo, sempre che siate disposti a farlo". Anzi, essendo la padrona infastidita da quell'andazzo, ci potrebbe anche stare una punta di sarcasmo in quella frase sospesa.

    Per niente facile...
     
    Last edited:

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    I wouldn't stress overly, Artie - it's an open-ended sort-of suggestion. I think your "If you are willing to do it.." is good.

    Reading the Italian, she is looking at the mess, thinking the first tenant is a pig, and warning both of them that for it to work they have to commit to sharing the workload, besides the expenses. Nothing mysterious, in my opinion.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thanks, everyone. Given the "aria schifata," and the fact that the landlady up to this point hasn't been particularly encouraging to the new young tenant (she's mainly been singing the praises of her rather crappy apartments and making pointed remarks about paying the rent on time), I'm thinking that Tellure's "se vi va di farlo, sempre che siate disposti a farlo" might be the subtext here, rather than something cheerier and more encouraging like "Where there's a will..." or (as I thought of later), "Once you put your mind to it....". So unless the native speakers think the original lacks this nuance, I'll go with the following:

    Obviously the two of you will need to make some effort here,” she said with evident disgust. “Along with the expenses, you’ll need to share the cleaning. Assuming you're willing....
    (i.e., slightly sarcastic politeness, implying they might not be willing; "provided you're up for it" has the same effect, but strikes me as a bit too modern-colloquial for an older woman speaking in 1950.)
     

    PrincipeMyshkin

    New Member
    italian
    Thanks, everyone. Given the "aria schifata," and the fact that the landlady up to this point hasn't been particularly encouraging to the new young tenant (she's mainly been singing the praises of her rather crappy apartments and making pointed remarks about paying the rent on time), I'm thinking that Tellure's "se vi va di farlo, sempre che siate disposti a farlo" might be the subtext here, rather than something cheerier and more encouraging like "Where there's a will..." or (as I thought of later), "Once you put your mind to it....". So unless the native speakers think the original lacks this nuance, I'll go with the following:

    Obviously the two of you will need to make some effort here,” she said with evident disgust. “Along with the expenses, you’ll need to share the cleaning. Assuming you're willing.... (i.e., slightly sarcastic politeness, implying they might not be willing; "provided you're up for it" has the same effect, but strikes me as a bit too modern-colloquial for an older woman speaking in 1950.)
    Hi Artie. I'm new in here and..I don't know exactly what's the purpose of your translation (formal presentation, a job, or anything else); "Assuming you're willing" sounds quite precise as a translation for 'ma a volerlo fare", and yet "provided you are up for it" , brings to the text that subtle sarcasm implied in an elder woman who probably does think that the two guys are NOT apt for cleaning daily routine....eh eh...
    But it seems to me that either way you got the concept properly, so you'll know which one is the most appropriate. Ciao.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hi PM,

    Welcome to the forum. :) I'm translating a novel set in the years after WWII. I think that both "Assuming you're willing" and "Provided you're up for it" convey pretty much the same subtle sarcasm, but that the former is more appropriate to the time period in which the novel is set. My mother, for instance, was a young woman in 1950, and I don't remember "to be up for something" really being in her vocabulary; this character is at least twice her age, so it makes sense to go with the more old-fashioned phrase.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Thanks, everyone. Given the "aria schifata," and the fact that the landlady up to this point hasn't been particularly encouraging to the new young tenant (she's mainly been singing the praises of her rather crappy apartments and making pointed remarks about paying the rent on time), I'm thinking that Tellure's "se vi va di farlo, sempre che siate disposti a farlo" might be the subtext here, rather than something cheerier and more encouraging like "Where there's a will..." or (as I thought of later), "Once you put your mind to it....". So unless the native speakers think the original lacks this nuance, I'll go with the following:
    Obviously the two of you will need to make some effort here,” she said with evident disgust. “Along with the expenses, you’ll need to share the cleaning. Assuming you're willing.... (i.e., slightly sarcastic politeness, implying they might not be willing; "provided you're up for it" has the same effect, but strikes me as a bit too modern-colloquial for an older woman speaking in 1950.)
    Where there’s a will and Once you put your mind to it aren’t necessarily cheery. It depends on how it’s said and whether a roll of the eyes accompanies the statement. In this instance there’s no suggestion she does either of those things so you have to rely purely on the text. Assuming you’re willing seems like a good bet. :)
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Where there’s a will and Once you put your mind to it aren’t necessarily cheery. It depends on how it’s said and whether a roll of the eyes accompanies the statement. In this instance there’s no suggestion she does either of those things so you have to rely purely on the text. Assuming you’re willing seems like a good bet. :)
    D'accordo su tutto. :thumbsup:
     

    ohbice

    Senior Member
    Io lo leggo come "... ma se ci fosse la volontà di farlo non sarebbe poi così difficile tenerlo in ordine...".
    Lo stato del lavello indica che nell'attuale inquilino tutta questa volontà non c'è. L'affittacamenre secondo me sta semplicemente dicendo al potenziale secondo inquilino che lo sforzo non è molto, quindi il problema - sebbene sia molto evidente e anche fastidioso - non è un problema irresolubile, anzi.
     
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