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  5. A prolix language?


A prolix language?

Italian, as far as I have learned it which is not too far at all, seems very logical and in a certain sense precise. Which I like.

Nonetheless when I come to real world translation I find two unwelcome features:

(a) Italian sentences have lots of "filler" words that really don't go over to English. For example I principali assemblatori, infine, saranno Foxconn ed anche Pegatron In English just 'and' for 'ed anche' and 'infine' - well ignore it. Even 'principali' is pretty otiose. Is the author actually implying that companies other that Foxconn/Pegatron are involved?

(b) where English would have several short sentences Italian has long rambling things joined by commas and lots of the filler words just mentioned.

Is this just me? Is it because the real world writers I have seen are junk writers?

April 1, 2013


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Personally, I find French to be much worse in that regard ("Qu'est-ce que c'est?" -> "What is it?", but literally "What is this that this is?").

In Italian, the problem arises from centuries of literary prose; until the advent of television in the fifties very few Italians actually spoke Italian, and until the thirties the development of the language was in the hands of a few selected and traditionalist academics of the Crusca. When writing we often fall back to that kind of traditional prose (I'm even doing it in English), and we might feel the need to add elements to the sentence to make it flow as we expect, even if there is no logical need to; short sentences would come out as rude in that context. It's especially bad in newspapers, but there the journalist's talent (if any) usually compensates.

It's not actually that way when speaking though, at least in your everyday context.


So spoken Italian is ahead of written Italian. Fascinating!


Spoken language is ahead of written language. Ever. It does not mean that spoken language is more precise/rich of the written language or more easy to understand.


You can find the same problems in German both for (a) and (b). I don't know French and Spanish but I suspect very similar situations. As for your example, though, I don't agree totally with you: probably "infine" can be ignored (it is used to coordinate the phrase with the previous phrases, but doesn't actually add any further meaning) but it makes perfect good sense to say that a company is one of the "main" assemblers of a product (of course the very fact that a company is a "main" assemble implies that there are also other assemblers, albeit not "main" ones, of course). Also the "anche" has it sense, since suggests the fact Pegatron may be considered a "main" assembler, but that the "first position" belongs to Foxcomm.


My example was not very good!


maybe not, but the point is good


The problem is the article that you are trying to translate. Everyday Italian isn't spoken like that. They are writing tech articles, so they are trying to sound smart. Therefore, they are using a more formal style of writing. Now the 'ed anche" you may hear in speech because it doesn't mean 'and' but 'and also" which has a slightly different feel and connotation.

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