Italian translation help?

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mfy4444
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Joined: 29 Aug 2012 21:43

Italian translation help?

Post by mfy4444 » 09 Aug 2018 16:09

Hello all. I have found that the standard English translations of the Ciano diaries (at least, the ones that I am familiar with-- there may be a new and better translation that I'm unaware of) take so many liberties that I no longer trust them. Luckily, I found an original Italian-language version online, and now if I want to quote Ciano on anything I make my own translations. But I am wondering exactly how to interpret the following (from the March 16, 1942 entry-- the subject is Italian food supplies, and Giuseppe Pareschi was the new Minister of Agriculture):

"Pareschi-- pieno del sacro fuoco dei novizi-- si fa molte illusioni sul futuro e crede che alcune sue iniziative possono se no addirittura capovolgere, almeno migliorare di molto la situazione."

My own translation would be:

"Pareschi-- full of the holy fire of the convert-- deludes himself a lot about the future and believes that some of his initiatives could at least make the situation a lot better, if not even reverse it."

(note: I substituted "convert" for "novice" and could have put "zeal" or "enthusiasm" for "holy fire"-- or "sacred fire"-- but like the "holy fire" better as a term of expression-- also realize I could have translated "crede" as "thinks" instead of "believes")

For the record, the "standard" English translation in my English-language copy of the Ciano diaries is:

"Pareschi-- who has all the enthusiasm of the convert-- looks to the future hopefully and believes that some measures he is going to take will at least accomplish a great deal to better the situation, if not change it completely." (see what I mean about taking liberties with a literal translation?)

My question: the phrase "... se no addirritura capovolgere, almeno migliorare di molto la situazione." Am I right in making that "... could at least make the situation a lot better, if not even reverse it."

Or should the interpretation be more along the lines of... "if not reversing the situation, could at least make it a lot better."
Do you see the difference of emphasis? What I am asking, is Ciano saying that Pareschi thinks his measures will improve things, maybe even totally fix them (my interpretation)?; or does he mean that Pareschi realizes his measures won't totally fix things, but will at least make them much better? A subtle difference, maybe, but I like to try to get the meaning right as much as possible.

Thanks for any help or thoughts from our native Italian speakers on the forum!

Regards

Mike Yaklich

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jwsleser
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Re: Italian translation help?

Post by jwsleser » 09 Aug 2018 19:00

I would use your "if not reversing the situation, could at least make it a lot better." That is the way I would translate it.

Pista! Jeff
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Dili
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Re: Italian translation help?

Post by Dili » 11 Aug 2018 05:17

I agree. "reversing the situation" should convey a very low probability of occurrence if any at all, it is more an artifice of language.

mfy4444
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Joined: 29 Aug 2012 21:43

Re: Italian translation help?

Post by mfy4444 » 13 Aug 2018 21:33

Thanks for the help! And Jeff, thanks cumulatively for all the questions of mine you've been answering on this forum!

Regards

Mike Yaklich

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