Italian phrases--missing lines restored

From: Edward Hobbs (
Date: Mon Jan 20 1997 - 16:54:04 EST

[Three missing lines restored to earlier post]

Dear Henry Something, and Colleagues of B-Greek,

To my comment that "translation usually betrays something about the
original. The Italians have a phrase for that, but I think they say

Henry wrote:

<You said that the Italians have a phrase for it - perchance you were
<thinking of
<"Traduttore traditore."
<(The translator is a traitor.) But there's no "always", ...

I confess being a little surprised (a bit as though I wrote "Didn't a Dane
once wonder To be or not to be?" and receive a message, "That was Hamlet,
and it was in a play by Shakespeare"). I thought everyone knew the
expression--especially since it has been quoted often enough on this very
List, by me in the olden days, and more recently by Carl Conrad. I said
"Italians" because, although there is an analogous phrase in Latin and one
in Greek, I have often heard Italian scholars who teach languages say:

        "Traduttore sempre traditore" or "Traduttore traditore--sempre!"

Not knowing any native speakers of Latin or Greek, I have not heard the word
"never" used by them in the phrase--only by Italian professors.

My "but I think they say 'always'" was my delicate way of referring to this
frequent addition, uttered by enough Italians scholars in my presence to
make it almost a self-evident gloss.

Edward Hobbs

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