The Università per Stranieri, Siena:
LODGING FOR STUDENTS COMING FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
If you are a student coming from a developing country you can apply for a room at the Student’s Halls at the price of Euro 200 for month. In order to book one of these places,it’s necessary to be enrolled in a language course. To request the availability of places and the booking form at the firstname.lastname@example.org and to pay the lodging for the duration of the course….
When the test or your first lesson is finished, you can go to the “Segreteria Studenti” to complete your inscription and to pay the reminder fees of the course….
In addition the University organises guided visits in the city and to characteristic places in the surroundings and also to some of the big italian cities. If you like playing sports, you can turn to the “Centro Universitario Sportivo” (CUS).
The Università per Stranieri, Perugia:
Class 14 – Class of Degrees in Communication Sciences
The University for Foreigners Perugia, with matured experience in international relations, is the ideal location for this Course and directly projects the skills and knowledge acquired through a multicultural and multi-linguistic context.
Class 5 – Class of Degrees in Arts
The Degree Course aims at satisfying the growing request for operators in the field of Italian L2 in Italy (due to the migratory flows that are making our country more and more multicultural) and abroad, where the request for Italian teaching and for Made in Italy is constantly increasing.
Comment: In both of these excerpts from the sites of Italy’s most famous “Universities for Foreigners,” the problem is not meaning per se. In fact, the meaning may be more-or-less clear (though I wonder what “reminder fees” are). But these texts are not English. Beneath these so-called translations, the skeleton of the original Italian is clearly visible: “it’s necessary to,” “Euro 200 for month,” “the availability of places,” “you can turn to,” and “complete your inscription,” (the word is “iscrizione” in Italian, but “registration” in English). Cognates are translated literally and Italian syntax remains essentially unchanged. At the very least, these texts required the intervention of an experienced translator with proven editorial skills.
Before you dismiss these as minor quibbles, bear in mind that these are Italy’s premiere (and most costly) universities for foreigners who come to Italy to study Italian; they pride themselves on excellence and on their rigorous educational standards for the teaching of Italian. Their English-language materials, however, “of excellence they don’t see even the shadow” (to torture an Italian saying). As a consequence, it is only natural to ask: What is the real message about excellence that is transmitted by such shabby English?