“Fatti maschii, parole femine” (the second word is pronounced with a hard K sound, “mask-ee”) is an old Italian proverb. According to the state of Maryland, the phrase translates to “strong deeds, gentle words.” Yet this is willfully misleading. The direct translation is hardly gentle: “Manly deeds, womanly words.” I’m a professional literary translator of Italian, but don’t just take it from me.The first comment on the piece gets the only possible reaction just right: "Oh fer crissakes."
Giuseppe Patota, the director of the Garzanti Italian Dictionary in Milan, says that the phrase “has distinctly sexist connotations, and the translation proposed by the state of Maryland misses its literal meaning.”
Misses the literal meaning? Or accurately translates the meaning of an expression? Have we fallen so far that a linguist, a professional translator and whatever editors might exist at WaPo online can't recognize an idiom when they see it?
Next installments from this guy:
- Midwesterners are backwards and don't understand biology: elbows don't really have grease.
- "To be caught red-handed" is an anti-Native American slur.