I'm having trouble telling which way the relationship is going here - ie, I tried "Does he want to apologize to me?" since 'mi' seemed to be functioning as an indirect object. I'm not sure how I would distinguish between "Does he want to apologize to me?" (ie, 'he' has done something wrong) and "Does he want to excuse me?" (ie, I've done something wrong). As far as I can tell, both could be translated as 'mi vuole scusare?'.
Also, I think we need more conversational context in order to distinguish between understanding vuole as referring to he/she or you (formal).
My guess (& only that) is that Mi...scusare is a clue that this is the reflexive form of the verb, i.e. scusarsi. And note that the DL translation of the subject is not he but you - apparently the formal you. So, taken altogether I think this literally means, Do you want me to excuse myself? Or more naturally, "Would you excuse me". I agree it is confusing with no context.
Don't worry about having issues with this. It's an idiomatic phrasing, and it's almost always preceded by "se", like in English (i.e. "If you'll excuse me, I really must be going.")
But you're correct, the literal translation is "Do you [does he/she] want to excuse me?" For "apologize", "chiedere scusa" is usually a better choice.
I translated this as "He wants to excuse me", because up to this point DL hasn't said anything about the formal you, and usually when I use "you" as the translation of the third person, it's counted as a mistake. "He wants to excuse me" was accepted, though I think it's a stretch.
Hi BullBailiff. I agree with you, you just don't say that in English. And when a LITERAL translation is so (LITERAL) that you would not say it that way, it should be rejected because it is teaching us bad English! Duolingo doesn't understand that very well sometimes. And it is one of the few weak points of Duo. Although, don't undervalue its possibilities and instructive power. Ciao BullBailiff, Lu
Thanks, that makes sense, but I guess I did not manage to ask the question I wanted to ask. What I wanted to ask is does "mi vorebbe scusare" even make sense? For instance, does it sound more polite? Kind of like I'm told it's more polite to ask "Lei vorebbe una mela?" than it is to ask "Lei vuole una mela?"
Dear "Marygbaker". The expression Mi voRRebbe scusare is correct Italian, but in general, we wouldn't say it that way in Italy. Mi vuole scusare is a kind and polite request in Italian, an idiom. But if you are a shy person, you can use conditional. It just sounds less natural. British is not Italian, though :-) Best wishes, Mary!
And yet another question for you -- please stop me if I'm asking too many questions! Is the situation any different for using first-person verbs. As an example, would it be more polite for me to say "Vorrei prenotare una stanza" or "Voglio prenotare una stanza"? Thanks!
In this case "Voglio prenotare una stanza" is not alright, Mary. Too direct. We need the "Lei" form (Può prenotarmi una stanza per favore?) which is in the third person. Mi vuole scusare means: Lei mi vuole scusare, 3th person. However Vorrei prenotare una stanza is totally right and polite. If you use the first person, to make it sound less direct, you can use "vorrei", "Posso.." Some examples: Posso avere un'altra sedia per favore? Vorrei un altro po' di sale.. Mi può passare l'olio, grazie. Non vorrei essere scortese, ma potrei sapere che cosa ha detto? That's it, Mary. Ask anytime you like. Bye, Lu.
I would tend to think of the given sentence as the kind of thing you'd say to someone at a social gathering when you wanted to go talk to someone else (or get a drink). And while the literal translation may sound rude in English, it isn't here. This is the polite form of "volere."