Life as I know it in Milan and Lombardy

Translating Danda Santini

Io Donna, Corriere della Sera, Danda Santini

Saturday mornings: one of my weekend pleasures is to go to the local bar and sit down with a cappuccino, an almond biscuit and Danda Santini.

Santini is editor-in-chief of iO Donna, the weekly magazine that comes with the Saturday edition of Corriere della Sera newspaper. I flick through the glossy fashion ads until she appears. And there she is, in her pearl earrings and white shirt, smiling against a yellow backdrop. It’s like seeing an old friend. There’s something so very reassuring about her. And it’s not just because of the way she looks, it’s because of her voice, which rings through her words. She’s familiar but not clawing, opinionated but not demanding, and a little quirky. She talks about personal experiences: how she feels about being mother of the bride, current events like the surprise appearance of JLo during Milan Fashion Week and introduces the themes of special editions, like the one last Saturday on health and wellbeing. As I read her Italian words, their English counterparts respond in my mind and I’m filled with a mix of relief and amusement. Yes, I understand the language, yes, I understand what she’s saying. But most of all, I hear Danda Santini.

About three weeks ago, I decided to make a habit of translating her iO Donna introductions as a way of practising my translation skills. As easy as it is to hear her, translating her is quite another experience, at least to translate her well and capture her voice.Io Donna, Danda Santini, Corriere delle Sera

Here I give you the first paragraph of Over the Top, the piece Santini wrote for the Saturday 13th October edition, translated into English. (Yes, her heading is in English. English idioms are popular in Italy but that’s a discussion for another day). Having spent most of Sunday working on it (the whole piece…), at 08:00 this morning I was on Skype with my fellow translator and interpreter, Elisabetta Serratore, rejigging it a little bit more. Translating is hard! Finding a pitch perfect English equivalent while staying as close to the Italian text as possible is a challenge, akin, I would say, to finding the Holy Grail. Don’t judge before trying it for yourself!

Over the top by Danda Santini (Original Italian version)

Il tassello più vispo dell’offensiva mondiale sulla diversity? Gli “over” (lasciamolo così, inclusivo e un po’ indefinito, per non fare torto a nessuno), che non ci stanno a subire lo scacco dell’età e si smarcano a sorpresa. Con il movimento contro la discriminazione sulla base dell’età e iniziative e corsi per trasformare i passaggi cruciali della vita ribattezzandoli in modo creativo: così si rassicura e si solletica il desiderio di eternità della prima generazione cresciuta con il benessere e senza guerre. Quella generazione conta, è numerosa, è abbiente e spesso pure potente. Vuoi non compiacerla?

Over the top by Danda Santini (English Translation)

Who’s nailing the global offensive on diversity? The “overs” (let’s just say it like that, inclusive and a little vague so as not to offend anyone) who aren’t prepared to let age hold them back and who surprisingly out smart it with the movement against age discrimination and initiatives and courses for transforming momentous life phases, creatively renaming them. This is how the first generation, who grew up with good health and without war, is reassured and enticed by eternal youth. That generation counts, it’s numerous, it’s affluent and often powerful too. So why wouldn’t you want to please them?