Clench … Declench …


In case none of those “languages” quite does it for you, especially the “English,” the placard reads:

“This compartment is equipped with a fire extinguisher.
In the event an audible alarm sounds, calmly evacuate the compartment and alert on-board crew.”

There. Was that so hard?

All you needed to do was declench.

Corriere della Sera, Paola Cacace, e il traduttore “INcacace”

At the end of Paola Cacace’s Inglisc translation of Raffaele Nespoli’s article about an Italian professor of dentistry who has “made good” in Toronto, there’s a little interactive graphic that’s supposed to help readers feel involved:

how do you feel

It reads, “Now that I’ve read this article, I feel …”

Unfortunately, there’s a button missing.

This one:vomit.jpg

Why oh why do Italian newspapers continue to insist on English-language “translators” who are neither native speakers nor capable of exercising the profession?

That was a rhetorical question.

The English in Cacace’s “translation” is pitiful, shabby, macaronic, embarrassing, amateur … one very nearly risks coming to the end of all the adjectives that mean “a botched job.”

Let us start with “He born in Vico Equense and a life spent in Castellammare di Stabia.” Clearly, that is not a complete sentence in English, nor does that horrifying “he born in” belong to the English verb system (in English the verb is “to be born”; in Italian, it’s nascere). First-year English students struggle with that difference, but once they’d reached the point of signing translations, one would hope they’d have gotten beyond it.

More to the point: This sentence would stand in Italian because Italians love sentence fragments (or, as they call them, sentences). One of the first things an IT>EN translator struggles with is providing subjects, verbs, and objects for all those phrases which, in Italian, go on their merry way without them.

Then there’s “Doctorate and specialization in orthodontics obtained at Federico II, and different experiences in university departments of the most prestigious foreign universities.” Another sentence fragment in English.

“At 25 he goes for a year at the Department of Functional Anatomy of ACTA…. In 2014, aged 32, he decided to leave Italy for good.” Right, because what use were verb tenses when you will think about it?

“Iacopo knows that the workplace should never feel as you’ve made it.” Yes, but does Iacopo know that this sentence doesn’t mean anything in English?

Cioffi complains about the “transports that do not work” in Naples. What this is called in English is “public transportation.” No one says “transports” unless the phrase concludes, “of ecstasy.”

“There are many excellences,” Cioffi opines at another point. There may well be, but one of them isn’t Paola Cacace’s skill as a translator.

 Apparently we need to say it again: Stop it. Capable, talented IT>EN translators exist. All you have to do is look for them, presuming you’re even minimally “cacace.”

Here’s the whole article. Enjoy?




The youngest professor of Toronto university is an Italian

Iacopo Cioffi, 33 years old: «At the University of Toronto I’ve found my dimension. 
Italy at the moment is not a fertile ground for researchers»

He is 33 years old; he has a wife and a child of three. His record? To be the youngest professor of the Faculty of Dentistry in the largest and most authoritative Canadian university, the University of Toronto, ranked as one of the twenty most prestigious universities in the world.

The journey of “Corriere del Mezzogiorno” in search of the young talents that Campania lets slip away continues with the story of Iacopo Cioffi, who has already been in Canada for nearly a year and deals with orofacial pain, malocclusion and orthodontics.

He born in Vico Equense and a life spent in Castellammare di Stabia. Leaving was the only choice for Cioffi, like for many bright young people who grew up in the shadow of Vesuvius.

“There is not a specific event – he explains – that has led me to leave. When you begin to realize that your efforts will not be able to contribute effectively to your future career, you start thinking of leaving. In the Italian University, unfortunately, the more you want to change, the more things stay as they are. Then the daily issues, such as lack of services, which in the province assumes an extreme aspect: minimum services, almost non-existent, and taxes that reach more than 40% of salary”.

Added to this are the daily problems. “My daughter – Iacopo says bitterly – has learned to walk between garbage bags and cars parked with two wheels, and sometimes even all four, on the sidewalk. And then you ask yourself: is this normal? It’s not”. A brilliant academic career has led this young professor in Canada. Doctorate and specialization in orthodontics obtained at Federico II, and different experiences in university departments of the most prestigious foreign universities. At 25 he goes for a year at the Department of Functional Anatomy of ACTA, University of Amsterdam, then to the University of Zurich in 2009. In 2014, aged 32, he decided to leave Italy for good.

Iacopo knows that the workplace should never feel as you’ve made it. His rule is “always learn, study, grow up quickly, to experience, and above all try to sow a fertile ground to achieve results.

“Unluckily – he says – Italy at the moment is not fertile ground for young researchers who have ideas and desire to grow. And if you look at the statistics critically and rationally, it does not seem that the situation is improving. Then when you are young parents, and think about the future of your children, everything is amplified”. Despite the bitterness of the vicissitudes that his land every day survives, Iacopo Cioffi keeps Campania in the heart. And in Toronto it is the first sponsor of the University “made in Naples”

“In Naples, the University is full of guys who have a gigantic desire to work. There are many excellences. Most of the students want to do and participate in the research activities immediately after having taken the first steps in the degree course. It ‘a huge resource that we don’t have here either. It’s a true treasure to have so many students keen to do good”.

Being Neapolitan for Iacopo has been an advantage. “My colleagues in Toronto – he says – think highly of me, almost everyone knows Naples. Many have been there. They speak of the great beauty of the city and the Gulf. And many of them want to come back to be kissed by the sun of our land. Here in Toronto it is often cold. Now we are at –24 ° Celsius. What I really do not understand are the great inconsistencies and contrasts of our land. Beautiful landscapes, history, monuments, passion and food on the one hand. On the other side: organized crime, unemployment, dirt, transports that do not work. And they ask me how is this possible. The truth is that I would like to give an answer, as I think all”. (traduzione di Paola Cacace)

12 marzo 2016


Italian Website That Go, Embarrassing English Translation That You Find

If you happen to be someone who teaches translation, especially in Italy, please use this delightful page from the folks at ExpoNews2015 (cured by one Mr. Daniele Walter Sesini of Milan, and to him you can guide a mail at this address:

The title of your lesson should be: STOP USING ITALIAN TRANSLATORS TO TRANSLATE INTO ENGLISH. From there, the thing pretty much teaches itself.

DISCLOSURE: The ExpoNews2015 site is not officially associated with the Milan Expo 2015, though Mr. Sesini has grasped the Expo’s approach to translating publicity materials at one hundred for one hundred. (See, e.g., Meet Cretino! The Expo 2015 Italian-to-English TranslatorExpo 2015 in Milan – La gioia di stare al ribasso! [in English], and Expo 2015 a Milano – La gioia di stare al ribasso! [in italiano] if you need to refresh your memory.)

Let’s walk through some of the best bits.

First, there’s the countdown banner at the top of the page which, at the moment we captured it, read: “Missing the opening: 77 Days, 14 Hours, 40 Minutes, 40 Seconds.” One might say that ExpoNews2015 hasn’t just missed the opening; it’s missed the plot entirely.

Then there’s the headline of the article, which is the kind of thing, if you understand enough Italian to glimpse the original text beneath the failed translation, will give you plenty of bitter rice. “Region that go, project that you find,” it reads. Now, this probably almost worked in Italian because it’s a play on a timeworn saying: “Paese che vai, usanza che trovi.” In a literal sense, the phrase means something along the lines of “every country has its own way of doing things,” but it is usually translated as “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That captures the heart of it, if not the word-for-word meaning. So what ExpoNews2015 wanted to say was something like, each of Italy’s regions is different and, when you visit them, you should eat, drink, and make merry like the locals.”

Yes, we can think of a much better translation, but you’d have to pay us for that. What we’re doing here, instead, is thanks to a passion entirely handmade by master artisans who pass a secular tradition from generation to generation.

Let’s move on, then, to the “big themes” and the “acceding countries,” landing in the first graph on “food and businesses willing to enlighten Expo 2015.” If they enlightened them about translation, that would be lovely indeed, but we are not hopeful.

In the Emilia-Romagna section, thanks to your ability to read, you’ll notice “thanks to the marketing level,” “thanks to the Internet,” and “thanks to an extensive data base.” That’s a lot of thanking. But mostly what it is, is terrible, schlocky, cliché-ridden Italian marketing prose rendered in word-for-word Technicolor (and, though we admit it’s a close contest, we’d have to say that Italian marketing prose is generally more terrible, more schlocky, and more cliché-ridden even than the English version, which is pretty damn bad),

The truly alarming thing about that paragraph, of course, is the information that “two other [tourism] campaigns are planned … with a general recall in late April near the opening of the event.” Does this mean they know in advance that the campaigns are going to be so bad they’ll have to be recalled in April? But perhaps it’s better to learn that now.

OK, well, just go ahead and read the rest yourself. But be sure not to miss the “initiatives in the area that can intercept and maybe solicit inbound touristic movements” (is the CIA involved? Or just a group of local gastroenterologists?) and the fermentation in Le Marche.

Inglisc is bubbling up everywhere.


Expo2015 – Big themes
Acceding countries
Exhibiting Companies

Region that go, project that you find

Tourism, but not only. From Emilia Romagna to Sardinia, many innovative initiatives related to food and businesses willing to enlighten Expo 2015.

With the imminent start of Expo 2015, many Italian regions have created several projects regarding  both the promotion of their territories and other innovative initiatives related to the food theme, the common denominator around which the Milanese event is centred.


First in line is definitely Emilia Romagna, which, thanks to the marketing level ‘Terre di Romagna’ has launched the online initiative ‘Expo 2015: the Network for the incoming towards Romagna’: 39 tourist packages from 11 travel agencies and the Romagna product Club widespread in 41 foreign countries thanks to the Internet, accompanied by images of towns and territories. Two other campaigns are planned in late February and late March, with a general recall in late April near the opening of the event. Thanks to an extensive data base built in the five years of activity, the aim is to attract buyers, media, journalists and foreigner opinion leaders capturing their attention through the excellence of the territory in all its forms (art, history, food and wine, nature and greenery, sea, spas and fitness). Linked to this is the intention to turn the region into a hub of research and innovation, not only in Europe but also worldwide, on the subject of food through the event ‘World Food research and innovation Forum (WFF)’, scheduled on 22nd  and 23rd  September and linked to the quality and relationship between alimentation and health.


Umbria’s strategy at Expo 2015 aims to take the opportunity at the Milanese event to raise awareness of the territory in Italy and worldwide  and at the same time consolidate and improve its offer and strengthen the institutional, scientific and economic relations with countries representing the target audience. The central Italy region will be the protagonist at the wine pavilion, the direction of which was entrusted to oenologist Riccardo Umbrian Cotarella and the chocolate pavilion thanks to Eurochocolate. The region also plans to develop other initiatives in the outside spaces of Expo, but within the city of Milan and specific initiatives in the area that can intercept and maybe solicit inbound touristic movements. How ‘Umbria green heart of Cascina Triulza’ coordinated by the Food Technology Park which provides a permanent presence for the duration of exhibition of 10 students from agricultural colleges and universities for some guided tours of the ‘orchards’ of the property chosen as a pavilion of Civil Society . Inside the courtyard preparation is expected for the exhibition of photographs by Steve McCurry titled ‘Sensational Umbria’. Also significant is the agreement with the Institute for Foreign Trade, between the foreign Umbria Centre and ‘The house of design’ for the realization of a ‘Project for food-design’ which foresees a space ready to welcome the delegations of International investors in a ‘temporary restaurant’ to present the culinary excellence but also the various regional Umbrian entrepreneurial operating in furnishings, packaging and training.


But from North to South, other realities are in fermentation in view of 1st May. The Marche region has initiated the project ‘La Via delle Marche’ ‘that aims to promote the manufacturing excellence, tourism, culinary and cultural heritage both during the course of the event and with initiatives. It is a well-defined path in the centre of Milan that embraces the ‘quadrilateral of Fashion’ and that has the intention of bringing out all the excellences of Marche in a new way of proposal, allowing itself to be included in the beauty and taste.


Taking advantage of the beauty of the area and culinary excellence, Sardinia has thought of a new initiative by the promotional services Centro for businesses by delegation from the Cagliari Chamber of Commerce. The announcement is called ‘Mediterranean diet and Expo 2015′ and allows the ten selected activities to be part of the national catalogue on specialty foods ‘made in Italy’ that will be presented in the great international showcase. The aim is to tell the world about the high quality Sardinian agricultural production model which can depend on the 180 products certified by European labels PDO, PGI, to open a window not only on the island’s locations but also its traditions, cultures, histories and landscapes.

INVESTMENTS Expo, 100 million Euros for the clusters of emerging countries
SHOPPING Milan and its luxury

COUNTRIES The exhibition spaces delivered in Malta and Montenegro
© NEWS 3.0 S.p.A. via Garofalo 31, 20133 Milano – P.IVA 07122950962

My Thesis Has Already Been Translated Into English …

A letter from a fellow translator:


“So this morning an email arrived from a potential client who wanted help promoting and distributing his book about how ‘mental training’ can improve athletic performance.

“Hardly cutting-edge thought, but OK.

 “He tells me he doesn’t need a translation, though, because his book (which is actually his bachelor’s thesis) has already been translated ‘per bene in inglese’ – that is, well-translated into English.

“Well, sure. Anything is possible. So I went to check out a few samples of this ‘per bene’ translation:

In 2009, after years of sporting success , suddenly , gradually , coming in contact with certain people who were simply amplifying my faults , I began to feel more and more exhaust and I almost disavowed the things I believed in. I did not realise that suggestion and auto-suggestion of group ritual ( spinel , insults, acceptance of many wrong things like the social indifference ) , were encouraging to my detriment some shady characters that made these things daily bread and assertiveness , while I and others were paying the price of it.

 I hope I can convince even one person , ironically , to believe that I had this experience , but I wish they would open a door that will lead many to realize how much strength there is in our thoughts and in those of others.

I tried not to limit myself to an unvarnished list , but I have filled some apparent gaps with a long series of more or less personal considerations which I hope will serve to illuminate from within those who read these pages also to remind myself to those who read and those who decide to apply these methods, what the true origins of sports are , that is those moral and mental , of our people who together with the ancient Greeks has always given important and fundamental contribution to the true and powerful Western culture .

First of all : the 100 billion neurones in our brain mass is not limited to age, every day we can “train” with the methods of mental training , let’s say two hundred fifty – three hundred thousand new neurones .

Someone has shown that over time there will be an analogy between the two thoughts and two actions , even if they are totally different . In practice, the ease of lifting a pen , the mind associates it to a brutal effort .

The example to trigger the mechanism of visualisation, concentration and evocation of the image (for example, the arm can lift a truck before lifting a barbell in the real world ) is “suggestion according to Baptist ” , we must inhale thinking to each of these and the key on and then on or before athletic or as a simple exercise to communicate to familiarise yourself with this practice and believe it, send out the air…. All must be continuous , the thought and the image that you evoke go hand in hand with the breathing and the key “on ” . You can also hold air for a few moments at the end of the movement when you enter the air.

“My question is: What would possess anyone to buy this book in fractured, googletranslated English—not just because the translation is preposterous, but because the ideas are so thoroughly banal and because the topic is amply covered by books written and published in English by native English speakers with more education and training than a guy with a brand-new bachelor’s degree?

“Sometimes, I really don’t understand what has come over Italians.


Yep. Sometimes neither do we. But then we’re shady characters who make amplifying the faults of others our daily bread.

And we’re just sick about it, too. Ironically.

Coesia – They’re No Cima

When it comes to an insistence on Mèd Een Eetaly Inglisc, Italy’s Coesia Group is a particularly egregious offender.

That’s especially alarming when you consider that Coesia is not only one of Italy’s largest software-licensing and
-development companies but is also Microsoft’s official partner in the sale of a large suite of business-specific “solutions” in Italy and throughout Europe.

The “throughout Europe” part explains why Coesia wants English on its own sites and on those of its daughter companies. But it apparently doesn’t really want to pay for skillful native translation.

Here’s a fine example of gobbledygook from Coesia’s subsidiary, CIMA (click on the image to enlarge)

coesia-cimaIt contains in him all those characteristics what nausea and vomiting.

Stop, Italians! Stop Translating!

napes and napkins

Do the Dew in Portavescovo: Part II (WordReference is Shite)

Following up on yesterday’s post regarding “mountain dew” … and this is why we don’t let dictionaries be written by any mooncalf with access to the internet … and this is why we don’t use online dictionaries for professional translation … and this is why some of us are tearing our hair out about the abysmal level of skill among non-native translators….

WordReference - rifugio

Do the Dew in Portavescovo



Update: The WordReference page that’s apparently the source of the widespread diffusion of this error.

Other People’s Inglisc

We know. Tweaking people for the way they talk is just evil.

Our penance will be to write 100 times on the board: “Eet eez rroong to make-a fun ovv udder pipl accent.”



Garofalo Pasta: Whatever They’re Selling, It’s All Maccherone

Following the unbelievably stupid gaffe and resulting public-relations disaster (here and here) created last September by Guido Barilla, CEO of the Barilla Pasta company, tens of thousands of people went looking for another brand of decent pasta (and no, in case you were wondering, not one American manufacturer can lay claim to that description).

garafolo6Some of them no doubt landed on the site of the “Pastificio Lucio Garofalo,” which sells its products via internet as well as through

Our hope is that those who did took one look at the ridiculous English-language translation of Garofalo’s site and adopted the Inferno Solution (that is, “Let us not speak of them: look, and pass on”).

Before we passed on to the next manufacturer, however, we couldn’t help but take a few samples of Garofalo’s Mèd Een Eetaly Inglisc.

Read a few paragraphs of this and you’ll be convinced, as we are, that Garofalo’s only product is maccherone.

Let’s start with Massimo Menna’s heartfelt, um, declaration of his passione for Garofalo’s “Gente del Fud” project. (I’m sure that’s a misspelling. They probably meant Fudd. As in Elmer Fudd.)


We’re also quite fond of this, which we think explains why Naples has suffered so badly from earthquakes over the course of the centuries. Someone really should tell them to stop thatching their roofs with pasta!


But this isn’t bad either, as Garofalo explains how they look for “balance and taste … in front of a pasta dish.” Evidently, Garofalo translates like it eats:


Garofalo Pasta. Quality in absolutely everything. Of course, we still use cut-rate, inexpert, non-native translators. Because that’s just how our artisanal intelligence rolls, bitches.