Foreign language tattoos have an indisputable honour—many people don’t know what they say, giving the tattoo a certain quality or elegance. But that’s the point. A lot of people, including the tattoo artist, don’t understand what the tattoo says, and a mere slip of the needle can turn love (amare) bitter (amaro).
Italian tattoos come in different categories of shapes and sizes, including the Italian cross, the Italian horn, and the green, white, and red Italian flag (including a number of forms of it, just like the flag condensed in a top level view of European nation or in a top level view of stars). The Italian tattoo symbolizes varied things, and one of the most commonly selected is the Italian Horn tattoo. This tattoo represents a superstition from the culture of ancient Greek. It also is worn by people who claim it can ward off evil spirits. Women and men fancy obtaining an Italian tattoo to either reveal heritage or specific beliefs.
PICKING AN ITALIAN TATTOO
Luckily, Italian is a fairly simple language to interpret, and most words that exist in English can be translated into Italian without much trouble. Unlike Latin (which is a dead language), or Hebrew, or Arabic (both very complex languages that use specialized character sets in lieu of letters, requiring an exact knowledge of penmanship), or Gaelic (which has many diverse dialects).
HAVE THE CORRECT SPELLING
However, be additionally careful to make sure to get the Italian spelling correct. Reverse two letters and your pleasing, inspirational tattoo becomes preposterous and ridiculous. For example, in an episode of Miami Ink on the TLC channel where the customer wanted “per sempre” tattooed on his arm, which is Italian for “forever”, but when it was finished it read “pre sempre” instead and it wasn’t the tattoo artist’s fault, because the customer had designed the lettering for the tattoo himself. It was only one letter off but unfortunately meant nothing in Italian. The customer had exerted much effort in making the inscription aesthetic that he spelled it wrong. The tattoo artist was able to correct the mistake, but it was an expensive error.
Pay special attention when it comes to the popular Italian phrases, for example, “life is beautiful” which a lot people, including Lindsay Lohan, have been getting recently is “La vita e bella” in the correct Italian translation. However, some people have been saying”la bellavita” which is rendered as “the beautiful life” and is used in Italy to describe someone who is living a life of affluence and spending unrestrained amounts of money.
HOW TO AVOID SPELLING ERRORS
As with any tattoo that is done in a language that is not your own, make sure you do your background research. Double-check your translation with several sources and ensure there is no mistake. While there are many ways to be sure, a native speaker is your best bet, someone who speaks Italian as their first language and English as their second. If a native speaker is not available to you, your next best bet is a Italian scholar who has studied the language comprehensively. Last but not least, there are several online translators who offer their services for free. Although the automated translators can be very useful, keep in mind that it is important to ensure the translation is accurate by either using several different online translators or validating its quality with native speakers on an Italian forum or message board.
NOT JUST SPELLING BUT CONTEXT
If you are puzzling over obtaining AN Italian tattoo (in Italian: farsi fare UN tatuaggio—to have oneself tattooed, to be tattooed) one thing to consider is context. In a bid to be trendy, do not forget that whatever would be tattooed has to make sense. A fashionable phrase in English might not mean anything in Italian or, worse, require a bit of linguistic gymnastics to generate an intelligible meaning in Italian. In addition, there may be no cultural reference. For instance, “keep it real” is a common American pop culture term—but it is a phrase that has no meaning or equivalent in Italian everyday life. In fact, if Italians were to use the term, they would say it in English to indicate their knowledge of American pop culture.
CONSIDER THE AMOUNT OF CHARACTERS AND WORDS
The amount of characters determines where the tattoo would be inscribed. Popular locations for placing tattoos include the ankle, bicep, back although tattoos could also be placed wherever a person decides. Italian translations of English phrases and terms are known to have longer individual words and total words altogether. To ensure that the tattoo fits, the font size of the letters could be adjusted or a larger skin expanse could be selected that would accept all the text.
MORE THAN WORDS
The Italians are known for more than their phrases. They are also known for their paintings. Think Renaissance art! That’s a perfect way to get an Italian tattoo. All you have to do is to pick an excellent art and artist.
ITALIAN SAYINGS AND PHRASES TO GET YOU STARTED
Essenufesso qui dice male di macaruni. (Who speaks badly of macaroni is a fool.)
Quest’ la vita e qui ilgioire; un’ ora di abbrezzo e poi moire. (This is life ANd this is often joy; an hour of clutches and so to die.)
L’amoredominasenzaregole. (Love rules without rules.)
Chi piùsa, menocrede. (The more one knows, the less one believes.)
Finchèc’è vita c’èsperanza. (Where there’s life, there’s hope.)
L’amore e cieco. (Love is blind.)
Meglioungiorno da leoneche cento da pecora. (Better sooner or later as a lion than 100 as a sheep.)
Smuovere mare e monti. (To move heaven and earth.)
Tale il padre, tale ilfiglio. (Like father, like son.)
Tutto è permesso in guerraed in amore. (All is fair in war and love.)
Val più la praticadellagrammatica. (Experience is more important than theory.)