Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by scarreth, Mar 3, 2008.
Come tradurre "qui c'è qualcuno che rema contro"?
Letteralmente remare contro = to backstroke.
Nel senso figurato onestamente non ho idea. Mi sa che bisognera' parafrasare, perche' l'inglese e' molto piu' concreto e meno immaginifco dell'italiano (soprattutto nel linguaggio politico a cui credo tu ti riferisca).
Io userei to interfere.
Yes, exactly: it's an idiom used especially in the sphere of politics and political journalism. The image in Italian is that somebody or some people are rowing in the opposite direction to the direction of motion of the others who are in the same boat as them. So the idea in English is that somebody is not collaborating with the efforts of the others in their group, or on their side.
One might perhaps say that they are "not toeing the line" (not following instructions or the official stance), although clearly that's only a special case of "remare contro". Still, you get the idea. And the exact term or phrase in English is likely to depend on the exact context. They might even start singing from a different hymn-sheet! ;-)
Gavin, you gave me a great tip: how about "someone is not singing from the same sheet of music"?
As in 'mi piacerebbe tanto, ma la geografia mi rema in contro, ahime`'
And yet I've found a few examples of "rowing against somebody" being used exactly as "remare contro" is in Italian, in a political context:
Great things will happen quickly if the Republicans will just get on board rather than rowing against us
The governor and lawmakers will have to work together, he said. “I want to make sure we’re all rowing in the same direction and nobody is rowing against us,” Peterson said.
I think that "to throw a spanner in the works" is good too.
I really like that Paul..
I was toying with "go against the tide" but that has positive overtones which "remare contro" doesn't usually..
I think "remare contro" is a little more subtle and Machiavellian that "throw a spanner in the works", although the end result is probably the same.
agreed, remare really perhaps means tramare which gives us plotting but is there a subtle Macchiavellian way of conveying it in English?
I've had a flash which might (or not) help.... fresh from a visit to Ireland, I just thought of the term "to banjax" here , so maybe something along the lines of to sabotage?? Or is it too strong?
p.s. sorry (not terribly) but another francesismo...
I rather like "rowing against us", for want of anything better. It's nice and vague.
Yes, but it's not fixed in English, and the meaning is not immediately clear. In fact, I doubt if the meaning is very clear even in the long term!
How about borrowing the journalese expression: to push back (on, against)?
I, too, like "throw a spanner in the works". However, not only do I agree with CPA that
but I would argue that it fails to convey the full meaning of the original phrase. From The Free Dictionary:
I may be wrong but I think that in English someone who "throws a spanner in the works" is not necessarily someone doing that "dall'interno".
Also, to me "remare contro" suggests a repetitive pattern of behaviour whereas the "spanner" phrase seems to me to be used for single instances.
Of course, if I say "there is someone in the party who keeps throwing a spanner in the works" my objections don't apply anymore.
Aargh! Giovannino, not you too! OK, it's a lost battle, "any more" can now officially be written "anymore". ;-) (It's been official for years at least in AE, it seems).
Back to the thread: "spanner in the works" was obviously inappropriate right from the start (pace Paul et al). "Internal sniping" is better. But we're still not there yet, I feel. To make progress, we would need some actual examples of usage in Italian, so people can see for themselves the problems and specific issues that exist in trying to translate this idiom (or, perhaps better, this "cliché").
I have another example that may help (I hope!!). I wish to translate the sentence:
"Stando alle indicazioni raccolte finora sembrerebbe che la soluzione migliore sia l'inizio di un programma di "Supply chain finance", ma i coefficienti "Aij" dei nodi coinvolti remano contro questa ipotesi"
I was going to translate it as "the 'Aij' coefficients of the involved nodes are against this options", but if there is a better translation that is able to carry the meaning, I'll be glad
Premesso che non capisco un'h D) della tua frase, lu, direi:
the "Aij" coefficients of the nodes involved work against this theory.
Si immagino sia abbastanza criptica ma non mi volevo lanciare in spiegazioni tecniche (abbastanza noiose...)
comunque il punto era che volevo rendere l'idea di un qualcosa che è "contro" l'ipotesi iniziale, ma senza un significato così forte come "are against"... comunque "work against" mi suona bene!
I understand this idiom perfectly, but although WR gives it as "row against" I don't really think that is the corresponding idiom.
In this headline,
Bersani: Renzi rema contro, no, anzi..
I can think of the OPPOSITE idiom- not toeing the line. But I can't think of one that fits exactly. It's not swimming against the tide, because it's rather an action in opposition to someone. Help!
have a look at this http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=855631&langid=14
I can see what you mean, but I think if you said row against the stream/swimming against the tide you'd get the idea across. However, I must say I'd translate it as you suggest, it sounds a whole lot better:
Bersani: Renzi isn't toeing the line (or is he...).
I think that "rowing against" should have a meaning like "superare delle difficoltà contro"... so you should definitely keep it out
Maybe, if you want to use an idiom, "To throw a spanner in the works" or something like that?
Or you could use a simple verbal forms like giving troubles, straiten, causing problems...
I can't think of anything with the "rowing" theme - but I just saw a headline in today's paper here that expresses somewhat the same idea:
.....breaks with the pack
also seen as: break from the pack
However, I do see a slight difference in meaning. "Rowing against the tide" sounds more positive. If Bersani said, "Renzi is rowing against us..." it would have a negative connotation (from his point of view, of course.)
Breaking from the pack can also be seen as a positive move (by someone outside the pack)
For the record, the idiom goes "to toe the line" , the verb being to toe, not to tow .
Stupid woman, of course it is! Will correct, now.
Your suggestion is not half bad. I like "to put spokes in (somebody's) wheel(s)".
For lack of a better idiom, I'd go with: Renzi's dragging his feet or won't play along. Not quite the same as "remare contro" but pretty close, in my opinion.
All very good! How about "to go against the grain?"
No, that means something else.
I think that'd work.
This idiom has, in my opinion, two slightly different meanings: (a) to go against the wishes of others/the trend, and (b) to be contrary to one's disposition.
Really? You surprise me! Can you find/invent a context to illustrate sense b)? It's completely new to me...
Hi Gavin, I'll try...
Having to reprimand co-workers truly goes against my grain
To blab on for hours on the cellphone goes against my grain
It went against her grain to refuse helping someone
Personally, I have only ever used it with sense (b). Most of the times I have seen it used with sense (a), the speaker was American.
I can see used it both ways. However, I am not at all familiar with "against my/her grain" - in BE, it's usually "to go against the grain". Maybe Teerex's version is AmE usage?
Hang on, we're talking at cross purposes (at least me and TR are! Anche se sono grato a TR per la disponibilità). I took TR's post to mean that he confirmed that the Italian idiom in question (remare contro) can be translated by "to go against the grain" (as proposed by gb in post 10, a suggestion which I disputed). There is of course no doubt over the meaning or existence of the English idiom. However, I continue to object that it can never be used to translate "remare contro" (or indeed, vice versa). Tutto qua!
EDIT: So my request for example contexts meant I was interested in seeing usages of "remare contro" which illustrate situations that correspond to the meaning of "to go against the grain".
I'm in agreement with that, Gavin. To me, "to go against the grain" has a different nuance - one of going against a generally accepted trend, not of not towing a specific line.
Just realized Gavin had been asking for examples...(the best ones use the verb to work)
He's a mainstream visionary, working against the grain. [in performing arts]
Working against the grain isn’t something new for Sxxx [crossing party lines]
They are working against the grain of government policy [at odds with public policy]
In the final analysis, the Italian idiom means "azione o atteggiamento di contrasto, di opposizione all’indirizzo seguito (o alle decisioni prese) dalla maggioranza o dagli altri componenti di un gruppo, di un partito"
I guess you didn't read the memo whole thread. This particular line is toed, not towed.
Thanks again for your efforts, TR. But, alas, we're still not understanding each other.
I was calling for example sentences in Italian of the Italian idiom "remare contro". (Subsequently, from this raw material, it should then be easier to confirm, or reject, the possibility of using the English idiom "go against the grain" [or indeed any other expression using "grain"] as a translation for any of the given Italian example sentences). In other words, you've missed my point about directionality. ;-)
Mmmhh, it was so subtle I must have read right past it...
Smettila di remare contro, siamo tutti nella stessa situazione.
Qui in azienda c'è sempre qualcuno che rema contro.
Quelli che remano contro sono avvertiti!
Great! Thanks! My argument remains that none of these can be translated by the idiom "(to) go against the grain"!
According to this, it's both, Teerex.
And they're wrong.
This being a learning forum, I assume we want to uphold correct usage of the English language - not the incorrect one (however widespread that may be) - without embarking on little ego-trips at the expense of learners and enthusiasts..
(I hope we're not starting a debate on defuse/diffuse, etc. Two posters out of three - you being #3 - hastened to correct the word they'd misspelled on this thread.)
Far be it from me to criticise or otherwise the merits of the Free Dictionary. Without wishing to go too much off topic, I am generally of the opinion that usage is formed by users and not by dictionaries, dictionaries being there to record usage. This is an article about language not being static but evolving, sometimes in the direction of embracing a "wrong" word.
The case you're desperately trying to make rests on a common misspelling that's hoping against all hope to become mainstream. I have the greatest respect for people who own up to a spelling error (and there are two on this very thread).
I guess two out of three is not bad.
Your Oxford Dictionary warns: Do not confuse toe with tow. But, please, confuse away to your heart's content. I am sure WRF readers will weigh all the facts and give your opinion the consideration it deserves. (Or we could take this to the English Only forum and let the chips fall where they may).
An idea: "Renzi is not pulling in the same direction as everyone else/as the rest of us/etc."
Separate names with a comma.