le compassate parole

English translation: staid expression/words of decorum

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Italian term or phrase:le compassate parole
English translation:staid expression/words of decorum
Entered by: Barbara Cochran, MFA

17:00 Mar 14, 2020
Italian to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Book On Explorations And Discoveries
Italian term or phrase: le compassate parole
Contesto (Stanley has found Livingstone in Africa):

Sono rimaste famose le compassate parole con qui questi salutò Livingstone, nel bel mezzo di quella sperduto villaggio del cuore dell'Africa: "Dcotor Livingstone, I presume."

Cominciò così una straordianria, curiosa collaborazione tra due persone molto diverse, unite però dalla stressa grande passione per l'Africa.

Someone has suggest that I translate it as "measured words". Does anyone have a better suggestion?

Grazie,

Barbara
Barbara Cochran, MFA
United States
Local time: 11:41
staid (or even stiff/prim)... pls. see:
Explanation:
I don't see anything "measured" or "understated" here. Quite the opposite: granted the circumstances of their meeting, such a greeting was outrageously out of place.
"Understated" what?
It was prim-and-proper to the point of being tongue-in-cheek. Whether Stanley intended to be flippant or simply was irrevocably stiff and repressed (wouldn't surprise me, at that period and in his social class), it's subject to further research and anyway irrelevant here.

The point remains that I think there is absolutely no need to render the term clearly meaning "staid" into something that is influenced by our own – no matter how well-informed – opinion of the action under consideration.

Somewhat hyperbolically, for it's not an accident report, shall we say, the text says "the vehicle went off the road". Even if you know that it was a drunken-driving episode, would you translate it "the vehicle was driven off the road by a drunk driver"? I hope not.

So, albeit in a literary text here, how much interpretation may we legitimately afford in this translation?
Selected response from:

Michael Korovkin
Italy
Local time: 17:41
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4staid (or even stiff/prim)... pls. see:
Michael Korovkin
4Measured
Marialaura Faitini
4the understated words
Michele Fauble
3the suitable/right/adequate words
Juan Arturo Blackmore Zerón
3restrained words
martini


Discussion entries: 6





  

Answers


36 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Measured


Explanation:
Honestly, I think the adjective you used, measured, is the best you can use in this context and I can find it in many contexts for example:
Measured response
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/measured

You can say: to ponder words or to weight words
He pondered his next words thoroughly
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/ponder

weigh your words
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/weigh-yo...

But you'll use Only the expression 'measured words' (with 'measure' as an adjective), therefore I think what you wrote is perfect in this context.

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Note added at 38 min (2020-03-14 17:38:49 GMT)
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weigh words*


    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/measured
    https://www.dictionary.com/browse/ponder; https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/weigh-your-words
Marialaura Faitini
Italy
Local time: 17:41
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
the suitable/right/adequate words


Explanation:
The suitable/right/adequate words with which he greeted Livingstone in the middle of that remote village...

Juan Arturo Blackmore Zerón
Mexico
Local time: 10:41
Native speaker of: Spanish
PRO pts in category: 4
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
the understated words


Explanation:
An option.

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Note added at 2 hrs (2020-03-14 19:37:39 GMT)
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When Stanley came across the explorer, he uttered the now-famous understated words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

https://books.google.com/books?id=vupkAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA271&lpg=...

Michele Fauble
United States
Local time: 08:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 19
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22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
restrained words


Explanation:
forse?

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Note added at 16 hrs (2020-03-15 09:36:03 GMT)
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qui "misurate", secondo me, si riferisce al fatto che le parole sono effettivamente solo quattro. Si tratta di un breve saluto, non di un discorso o testo dove le parole possono essere "misurate" nel senso di "ponderate".
Penso che il suggerimento di Phil postato ieri nella discussion e ora scomparso, "laconic" sia corretto.

Laconico
... Riferito al modo di parlare o di scrivere, breve, conciso (in quanto si attribuiva agli Spartani l’abitudine all’espressione sobria e sentenziosa): stile l., una risposta l.; anche di persona che si esprime concisamente, che è di solito o in singoli casi di poche parole
Avv. laconicaménte, in modo laconico, concisamente, con poche e asciutte parole: parlare, rispondere laconicamente.
http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/laconico/


martini
Italy
Local time: 17:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Italian
PRO pts in category: 24
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18 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
staid (or even stiff/prim)... pls. see:


Explanation:
I don't see anything "measured" or "understated" here. Quite the opposite: granted the circumstances of their meeting, such a greeting was outrageously out of place.
"Understated" what?
It was prim-and-proper to the point of being tongue-in-cheek. Whether Stanley intended to be flippant or simply was irrevocably stiff and repressed (wouldn't surprise me, at that period and in his social class), it's subject to further research and anyway irrelevant here.

The point remains that I think there is absolutely no need to render the term clearly meaning "staid" into something that is influenced by our own – no matter how well-informed – opinion of the action under consideration.

Somewhat hyperbolically, for it's not an accident report, shall we say, the text says "the vehicle went off the road". Even if you know that it was a drunken-driving episode, would you translate it "the vehicle was driven off the road by a drunk driver"? I hope not.

So, albeit in a literary text here, how much interpretation may we legitimately afford in this translation?

Michael Korovkin
Italy
Local time: 17:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 125
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



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