"La stanza si svuota."

Translation:The room empties out.

May 7, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Yes, this is pretty awkward in English. 'The room empties', I guess would be the least awkward translation.


I translated "The room empties itself" and lost a heart.


I think there's a degree of agency implied in that English use; most things can't do things themselves in English. Compare 'The computer reboots itself' or 'the oven cleans itself', both of which have specific agency, or 'the bottle seemed to empty itself', where the inability of things to act is used to make a point.

The normal English here would be 'The room clears' I think.


How does a room empty out / empty? Does this mean "of people". Like, people leave the room?


Yeah, "svuotare" means "to (make) empty", so it's literally "the room empties itself", i.e. it becomes empty. The reflexive in Italian is also sometimes used for a passive action, unlike English, e.g. "mi sono ferito" (I hurt myself, or I got hurt).


So why are we marked wrong for saying

" The room empties itself " ?


that wouldn't make sense in American English


Why not? " I don't need to kick the people out. The room will empty itself"


I suppose that makes sense! Maybe since "will empty" is future it implies an action that the room is doing?


Thanks for your comment..

Yet another idiomatic phrase that is impossible to understand without context or explanation.


it's a room in a spaceship, and the air is being sucked out. eg: the room empties (of air)...


A guide I have found useful in understanding these Italian constructs, is that if the "action" of a verb occurs to the thing doing the action described by the verb, then the Italian is normally constructed with a reflexive form of the verb. In English, the reflexive pronoun is not normally translated in these circumstances. eg The car stops = La macchina si ferma. Purely a difference of linguistic constructs.

In comparison, consider "He stops the car", He is causing the stopping but the action of stopping is done by/to the car so it is not reflexive. Lui ferma la macchina.

I hope that makes some sense. I'm rather grammatically challenged and find it hard to explain clearly.


No, that was a lovely explanation.


Good explanation. English does not seem to like reflexive verbs but in other languages almost everything that one does by/to/at oneself or to/with each other can be reflexive.


In English, would/could you say 'the room becomes empty'?


Not really, you would be understood though.


What's wrong with the "the room becomes empty" translation? I'd say it pretty much fits...


why not "the room gets empty"? That's a normal english sentence, right?


it doesn't sound quite right to me


Translation in the target language should not be word for word. It should fit the structure and normal usage of the target language. In this instance, the English translation provided is not normal English. There are several other translations provided below that would make more sense, I think. The moderators should look into using one of them, instead.


I think this English translation makes sense.


So, what does that mean in English? The room comes free? The room is being vacated? The 'correct' translation above sounds like something rooms do in the Harry Potter books...


It all depends on what is leaving the room. If it's water, then the room empties out. But if it is people, then the room is vacated. The room vacates. The room becomes vacant.


Shouldn't "The room gets empty" be accepted???

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