Translation:The women have belts on their skirts.
Sorry for being a little bit out of topic, we know that the word "sulle" is always followed by the plural feminine noun. But once I've ever listened to the Italian aria "Il Baccio" (click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24irhyFrQNI) which is the first lyric says, "Sulle...sulle labbra". Shouldn't it become "Sulle...sulle labbre" since we have known that "labbra" is a singular word? Mille grazie!^^
Thank you so much for this idea. I hadn't thought of it. Now I am listening to arias and getting the lyrics up in another window. What fun! I just finished swaying and whistling along with "Lascia ch'io pianga" with Renee Fleming...lovely. If anyone asks, well...I am learning Italian.
Lovely aria, really. Music like that is a vortex that sucks me in. I went to listen to it and 30 minutes later I realize I was actually working on Italian at Duo, so I need to stop listen to all the lovely music YouTube queued up for me after Sumi Jo's singing. Certainly brightened up my day.
Although its tempting to think a strictly literal translation should always be one of the accepted answers, it often doesn't make sense. For an extreme example, if someone wrote, "We just returned from visiting Our Lady", basically everyone would recognize that as a bad translation, even though "Notre Dame" literally translates to "Our Lady".
In other words, you should translate the intended (or understood) meaning in a way that's idiomatic to target language. (Converting meaning trumps using a literal word-for-word translation basically every time; after all, you're translating a sentence, not just a list of words.)
In this sentence, the Italian version means there is possession, even though it doesn't say "their". So the best translation conveys that meaning.
Anyway, I hope that was helpful.
The fact though is that there is - or should be - a difference between possession and no possession, even in Italian. For example, what if the women are working in a clothing store and they put belts on the mannequins' dresses? Then it wouldn't be 'their dresses', but just 'dresses'.
I took 'cinture sulle gonne' to mean that the belts were part of the skirts, since in English, the phrase 'belts on their skirts' would mean that the belts are attached. So I shortened it to 'belted skirts' which would also be correct in English, but it was marked wrong. Is there a difference that I'm missing, or is it just not programmed to accept that?