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Conversational Italian Dialogues*
Poor English Translations Make Italian Ones Suspect
I have already reviewed the books by this company for French and Spanish. Unfortunately, this book had the same types of errors and issues that the other books have. First, the English sections have so many errors that I would be leery of using the Italian sections for fear that they would be as rife with them as the English ones. Here are a few examples of some very awkward English that no native speaker would say; these are actually from just one of the dialogues about ordering pizza. “Can you recommend me a light one?” and “Your pizzas will be there for half-past eight.” By the way, the dialogue for the Italian pizza ordering was almost the same as the one in the French book!
The English translations in this particular book are so bad that I actually wonder if they just use something like Google Translate or some other online automatic translation to make these. However the translations were arrived at, the book is poorly done, and that’s unfortunate as a book like this has great potential for both students of the language and people who might be traveling to Italy.
Some topics are ones you would expect from a book aimed mostly at travelers and language students, like how to order food or ask for directions. But some of the topics actually seemed quite bizarre for a casual visitor to Italy, like “renewing your wardrobe” and “the printer doesn’t work.” Neither would be an everyday or even common occurrence.
The format of the eBook makes it not suitable for beginners or near beginners to learn from (even if the Italian translations are fine) as it is tricky to flip between the English and Italian versions of the dialogue for every line. I think it would be better to have the translated lines right next to each other, perhaps one bolded and one italicized, for easier assimilation and comparison. I have only a very basic understanding of Italian, so aside from a few food terms and other common words, most of this just looks like gibberish and it does get frustrating to flip between the English and Italian sections for each dialogue. I certainly do not know enough of the language to say if the Italian parts are truly good or bad. It would be helpful to have at least an intermediate understanding of Italian to know if these are accurate dialogues and phrases that would actually be used in conversation with Italians. The book does have an audiobook version that you could purchase separately, but the book proper has no pronunciation guide.