Thursday, March 22, 2007

Over here in Italy

Warrentless wiretaps lead to arrests (and the investigating prosecutor was not appointed by politicians and can't be fired by politicians).

"Ci sono anche poliziotti ed ex agenti segreti stranieri tra i nuovi arresti ordinati nell'ambito dell'inchiesta milanese sui dossier illegali. ...[including] John Paul Spinelli, ex agente Cia. "

That is "Police officers and foreign intelligence agents are among those named in new arrest warrents issued as part of the Milanese investigation of illegal dossiers ... including ex CIA agent John Paul Spinelli."

If only the rule of law were respected in the USA the way it is respected here in Italy.

And no I never expected to write that ever.

p.s. I was really strongly tempted to translate John Paul Spinelli which would give Giovanni Paolo Reefers, but this is serious.

update: I should have translated more carefully. A "mandato d'arresto" is much more than an arrest warrent. The correct translation of "arrestato" is not "arrested" but rather held in pre-final-conviction detention. A simple arresto is called a "fermo" which translates literally to a "stop". If people are held by the police before being considered by a judge (which is allowed for a maximum of 48 hours in Italy IIRC) they are "tratenuto nel stato di fermo" literally "held in the state of stoppedness."

I made another boo boo first translating "arresto" as "pre-trial detention". In Italy the stato of arresto can last long after trial, because defendents are presumed innocent until they have exhausted their appeals. Further both defence and (amazingly) prosecution have the right to one appeal on the facts of the case, basically an automatic retrial, before going to appeals on procedure. This means that people are often presumed innocent even after they have been tried and convicted twice. This, combined with the much briefer jail terms imposed by lo stato Italiano, means that about half of the people under lock and key in Italy are presumed innocent and held in "lo stato d'arresto" that is "custodia cautelare" that is something else which is hard to translate into English (I considered using Padilla as an example but he was in the "stato di sequestro" that is "kidnapped" since he was locked up by people with no authority to do such a thing who are obviously felons even if they were just following orders).


Anonymous said...

Thank you.


rkillings said...

Thank you for the illuminating explanation of Italian criminal law. But don't beat yourself up about "arrest warrant" not being a/the 'correct translation'. Take it from a professional translator: it is correct. It is the reader's duty to know how arrest warrants differ between civil-law and common-law countries. It can be helpful to explain, but when you do, you step out of the role of translator and into the role of legal-social-cultural interpreter.
So, for example, there is no need to fish for a translation of 'notaio'. In the bastard Romance language that is English, we already have that word, and it is "notary". So what if the function of notaries in English-speaking countries is vastly different. You may choose to gloss the term, but you do so as journalist or publisher, not translator.