si è fatto passare

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Senior Member
English, U.S.A.
How do you translate this into English?

CONTEXT (referring to a group of young intellectuals who shared ideas):

si è fatto passare lo scibile umano e si è spizzicato qua e là nella roba di studiare


it made human knowledge disappear and nibbled here and there on the stuff to study

My translation doesn't make much sense in English. I would be grateful for any help or advice. Thank you!
  • Benzene

    Senior Member
    Italian from Italy
    Hi philly!

    My attempt is as follows:

    "the human knowledge was analyzed and something was drawn, here and there, from the matter to study".

    Your comments will be welcome.




    si è fatto passare lo scibile umano e si è spizzicato qua e là nella roba di studiare

    Do you mean "nella roba DA studiare", don't you?
    If so, I'd say: "Human knowledge has been handed down and something has been drawn, here and there, from what is to be studied".
    But in my opinion the sentence isn't very well-phrased: in the first part of it the language is somewhat high and formal and in the second it almost turns into slang.
    I mean, I would never use words such as "scibile" (which is very formal) and "roba" (which is a very "informal" word) in the same sentence, unless you intentionally did it to give a particular oxymoronic effect.
    Apart from that, in my opinion "passed around" isn't very idiomatic, because knowledge isn't something to pass around like information, or like a letter, but it can be "handed down" (as "tradition" for example). Or at most it can be "spread around" if we want to be more accurate. Besides I can't see the point in using "analyzed" as a translation, since it is far from the original meaning.
    Then, since the first part seems quite formal to me, I've kept the "highness" of the language in the second part, too, translating "roba da studiare" into "what is to be studied", even if the translation isn't very literal.
    I hope I've been of some help (I know I've been very very very longwinded but translation is a serious matter and then it was hard to translate properly
    Bye :)
    Last edited:

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    London sono stato troppo prolisso :) :) ??
    Essendo una frase non facile, con due registri, formale ed informale, ci voleva una bella spiegazione!:)

    Regards "handed down". I think Rrose's suggestion, "passed around" is better. I can well imagine a group of young intellectuals discussing the meaning of life :D passing their and other people's knowledge onto each other.

    Philly, regards "nibble": I know it can be used to mean "browse" and I like the idea of nibbling on knowledge here and there, but, just out of curiosity, have a look at a few synonyms here.


    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    philly, I'm not convinced. How about giving us the whole sentence? :)


    Senior Member
    I think in this case " far passare" means " dare una scorsa, leggere velocemente".

    Also" si è spizzicato qua e là nella roba di studiare", as when you " spizzichi" you normally pick bits of what you like more, gives the idea that the "pick" was not a choice driven by intellectual or scientific reasons but rather by what could be better in terms of fame, career or whatever they consider important.

    It seems to me that the writer doesn't think much of the young intellectuals, who started from " scibile" and ended to "roba".


    Senior Member
    O forse il senso e' "si e' passato _tutto_ lo scibile umano", da cui si e' spizzicato qua e la'.
    Il fatto e' che la locuzione "far passare" in italiano ha il senso di "ingannare qualcuno su qualcosa" o "far travisare la realta'"; "si e' fatto passare l'intero scibile umano come qualcosa in/su cui spizzicare".
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