I have copies of a number of letters my grandfather sent to his sister in Italy in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Illiterate in both English and Italian when he emigrated in 1906, he learned to read and write in both languages. Before he sent a letter off to his sister, he would compose a draft copy in pencil and once he was happy with it, he would then do the final copy in ink and mail out. My cousin who recently found these letters sent me photo copies. Because of the poor quality of the copies, I'd like to post them here. They're all short. I've given them a stab using Babel Fish as well as an online dictionary but am still having some trouble, possibly due to spelling errors on my grandfather's part, some of the pecularities of the dialect, his use of contractions and lack of punctuation. Here's the first one transcribed to the best of my ability. I now have a better appreciation of the difficulties in transcrbing written records. Thanks in advance and if anyone has any questions about my transcription, please let me know.
Venge con questi pochi righi per darvi notizia di noi tutti che la passamo bene cose spero sentire di voi ve natizio che il giorno 8 Novembre suc maritata la figlia del fratello Saverio ed sac sposato il figlio del di cicco Piraino e ciambio avuto un grande spiesalizio. Cara sorella non me allongo a darvi notizie ve scrivo questi pochi righi per dirrie che noi la passamo tutti bene laquale ve faro sapere che ve mando questo poco di moneta chi ve dona un solievo per le prossime feste natalizie piu apresso se me prendo umpo di tempo vo mando adire altre cose non altro io e la mia sposa e figli vi aguriamo buone feste natilizie e ve salutiamo uno per uno salutiamo la nostra ameca spinelli e sua famiglia.
Sparte ve saluto io caramente e me segno il vostro affimo.
I've gotten bits and pieces. His brother's daughter recently married a Piraino on the 8th of November and a good time was had by all. He's also sending her a bit of money for her birthday or possibly for Christmas since the letter was sent dated 30 November. Also sends best wishes to a friend probably last name Spinelli.
My grandfather was the youngest in the family and was called "Peppino" by his parents and siblings.
"There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is roots, and the other, wings." -- Hodding S. Carter
"You live as long as you are remembered." -- Russian proverb
Sorry Biff, but this is the best I could glean from the letter. Much is verging on â€˜virtual dialectâ€™ and without much punctuation Iâ€™ve had to guess a bit on where each sentence â€˜mightâ€™ end.
The very last word â€“ affimo â€“ I couldnâ€™t find or make sense of, but it would (I think) be an end to his endearments so I have guessed at â€˜affectionâ€™.
I do hope this helps.
Dear Sister, I come with these few lines to bring you the news that we are all well and I hope to hear the same of you. Of the birth on the 8th November to the married woman the daughter of the (our?) brother Saverio and who married the son of Cicco Piraino and we boasted that they had a grand wedding . Dear sister I won't write more to give you other news, I am writing just these few lines just to tell you that we are all keeping well and to let you know that I send you this little bit of money that will give you a little lift over the coming Christmas festivities. Later I will take some time to send you more of our news not least of which will be about my wife and children. I wish you a good happy Christmas holiday and we say goodbye to each of you. Our best regards to our friend Spinelli and his family. I leave you with my dearest wishes and I note your affection(?)
No problem with other letters Biff, but I was able to do this one quickly for two reasons:
i. It was - as you said - short.
ii. It gave me an excuse for a break as I'm up to my eyes in translations at the moment.
This doesn't mean that your letters won't be translated - they almost certainly will - but it could be any of the translators, who like me, hang-out around here in the hopes of being able to help someone.
I am retired but still enjoy doing small translating jobs. Because they are small, many of the large translation firm's don't want to do or know about them. So people like me do at times - because we are 'one man bands' - become swamped.
There is also the question of a translators 'fortÃ¨' - mine for example is Italian to English including technical translations. Another translator may 'major' in English to Italian..... Most also include documents on their portfolio's though, as these are generally short and concise.