parco/porco

Sgt.Pepper

New Member
Italian
Hello!
I am working on an early twentieth century short story about a tiny poor fellow who is invited to dinner by these brawny, beast-like guys who keep feeding him to show their hospitality. At a certain point he begs for a smaller portion:

–La metà, prego… – insistette don Diego. – Non mi è possibile… Io sono parco
Parco? E codesta è carne di porco! Mangiate! – gridò Mauro, levandosi un’altra volta da sedere.


I am having some trouble translating the play on words parco/porco . This is the best I could come up with:

– Half, please…. –, don Diego insisted. – There’s no way I can… don’t you see I’m a twig?
– You’re a twig? Well, this is a pig! Eat up! – shouted Mario, rising from his chair once more.


I'm not really convinced. "Parco" means"frugal", not thin, so this is not an entirely accurate translation; but more importantly, I can't really use "pig" instead of "pork", or can I? I couldn't come up with any pun with "frugal", "pork" or synonyms thereof.

Any suggestion is welcome! Thanks!
 
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I think what you've got is actually pretty good: I don't see any problem with "this is a pig" rather than "this is pork," especially if the meat they're feeding him with is reasonably close to its pig-like state (a roast suckling pig, for instance is "a pig," not "pork.") Speaking of which, if we knew the form this carne di porco takes -- roast? stewed? sausage? salami? -- we'd have more to work with, pun-wise. You're frugal? This here is stew-gal! (Sorry....:oops:)
     

    Sgt.Pepper

    New Member
    Italian
    I think what you've got is actually pretty good: I don't see any problem with "this is a pig" rather than "this is pork," especially if the meat they're feeding him with is reasonably close to its pig-like state (a roast suckling pig, for instance is "a pig," not "pork.") Speaking of which, if we knew the form this carne di porco takes -- roast? stewed? sausage? salami? -- we'd have more to work with, pun-wise. You're frugal? This here is stew-gal! (Sorry....:oops:)
    Thank you so much! I feel a bit reassured. Also, I find frugal/stew-gal rather clever, actually!
    About this specific pork meat, it's quite a peculiar preparation: before the meal starts, the author describes it as "una pallida porchetta illaurata, ripiena di maccheroni, in una teglia da mandare al forno" (which I translate as - correct me if I'm wrong - "a pale gilt pork with bay, stuffed with macaroni, in a tray to put in the oven").
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thank you so much! I feel a bit reassured. Also, I find frugal/stew-gal rather clever, actually!
    About this specific pork meat, it's quite a peculiar preparation: before the meal starts, the author describes it as "una pallida porchetta illaurata, ripiena di maccheroni, in una teglia da mandare al forno" (which I translate as - correct me if I'm wrong - "a pale gilt pork with bay, stuffed with macaroni, in a tray to put in the oven").

    I think that for a porchetta (essentially a deboned, rolled pig, right?), you can most definitely use "this is a pig." But my advice would be to open another thread for how to translate that description, because -- to begin with -- "pork" is uncountable, and if you're using "gilt" in its technical, animal-husbandry sense, which I just discovered two seconds ago by looking it up, you won't be understood by anyone but pig farmers. :) I initially thought that "gilt" was a poetic way of talking about the crackling on the porchetta!
     

    tsoapm

    Senior Member
    🇬🇧 English (England)
    – Half, please…. –, don Diego insisted. – There’s no way I can… don’t you see I’m a twig?
    – You’re a twig? Well, this is a pig! Eat up! – shouted Mario, rising from his chair once more
    I’m not sure whether you’re interested in this aspect, but I feel I should point out that all those dashes are very Italian. Perhaps you might find something similar in informal English on the web, but in anything published I’d say it was very unusual not to use quotation marks.
     

    Sgt.Pepper

    New Member
    Italian
    How about:
    - ...I'll only have a fork.
    - A fork? Well, this is pork! :D (sorry #2)
    Ha! Right, fork/pork is an elegant solution. I'm not totally sure "have a fork" is idiomatic in English, but there is definitely something there.


    I think that for a porchetta (essentially a deboned, rolled pig, right?), you can most definitely use "this is a pig." But my advice would be to open another thread for how to translate that description, because -- to begin with -- "pork" is uncountable, and if you're using "gilt" in its technical, animal-husbandry sense, which I just discovered two seconds ago by looking it up, you won't be understood by anyone but pig farmers. :) I initially thought that "gilt" was a poetic way of talking about the crackling on the porchetta!
    I think in this case he is not using "porchetta" as a specific preparation, like we do in current Italian, but literally as a diminutive for "porca", so "litte/young sow". I should probably write just that, if "gilt" is too technical. Anyway, yes, it's definitely a whole pig.
    Actually I will probably need to open multiple threads for the various items on the menu, because many of them I can barely understand even in Italian; but one thing at a time, I guess.
    I was taught that "pig" is alive and "pork" is what you eat, I didn't know you could have some nuance there. And nobody thought to mention that it's uncountable. Good, I learned something new!

    I’m not sure whether you’re interested in this aspect, but I feel I should point out that all those dashes are very Italian. Perhaps you might find something similar in informal English on the web, but in anything published I’d say it was very unusual not to use quotation marks.
    Yes, for sure! I was wondering whether I should change it, actually. And I'm glad to do it, because quotations marks are also more convenient for when I need to move some parts around.

    Thanks, you all! This has all been very helpful!
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Ha! Right, fork/pork is an elegant solution. I'm not totally sure "have a fork" is idiomatic in English, but there is definitely something there.
    It would have to be "have a forkful," which would get you into something even worse, like "A forkful? Well, this pig is pork-full! Eat up!" :D
     
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