Yesterday, former Italian Prime Minister and the world's foremost thrower of "Bunga Bunga" parties Silvio Berlusconi, age 76, "unveiled" (to use the odd and yet somehow entirely appropriate phrasing of MSNBC) his girlfriend, Francesca Pascale, "a 27-year-old political councilor in his People of Freedom Party." He also announced their engagement — or did he? Let's ask Google Translate.
Rumors have surrounded Berlusconi and Pascale since 2011; yesterday, on television, he told the country that the two were engaged. "Finally, I feel less lonely," he said. (Berlusconi is still married to his wife Veronica Lario, who looks more than a little bit like Pascale.)
Or so American outlets reported. According to CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, reports of an "engagement" are just a mistranslation:
Berlusconi is not getting married, however. His words,"Mi sono fidanzato" from the verb "fidanzarsi", to get engaged, have been mistranslated. Commonly, Italians use the verb to announce serious relationships as Berlusconi has done.
Professor of Modern Italian History at University College London (UCL), John Foot, told CNBC that Pascale is a"girlfriend, nothing more."
"In Italy the phrase 'Mi sono fidanzato' usually means 'I have a girlfriend or boyfriend' and not 'I am engaged to be married'. This can cause confusion abroad but is pretty clear in the Italian context," he told CNBC.
But what does some professor know about Italian? We need to go right to the source — to the Italian outlets. And since we don't speak Italian, let's let Google Translate do its work for us. Here, the news, as described by Google Translate:
"The aim has always been one and only one: to become, like today, the official girlfriend of Knight, and patience to achieve if the young man had to deal with hours of waiting and a tough competition with a large group of olgettine." — Il Salvagente
The girlfriend is Francesca Pascale. "There are 49 years of age difference between you and me, 28 years old. It is a beautiful girl outside and even more beautiful inside, very solid moral principles, I'm very close, I want very well and I spare, "said Berlusconi. The Knight explains that Francesca Pascale is "close friend" of his daughter Marina. — YouReporterNews.it
GIRLFRIEND - Right now that all the papers point to it as the "girlfriend" of the Knight. Twenty-seven years her seventy-six him. Divide them almost 50 years, but Francesca does not seem to notice. Indeed. It appears as devoted to the cause: to conquer, then. But also make it presentable in the world where so much wanted to enter. Abandoned blouses market, glittery eye shadows and placed by former soubrette of "Telecafone," the Pascale decided to transform. Plasmandosi. Courses in diction and demeanor, they say. And then the image: eyes, lips, hair color. Metamorphosis that coincided with the photos that made the rounds of the newspapers: Sunday the two in an evening that any go to eat with the pizza in a restaurant in Milan. For more with the beloved eldest daughter Marina to "bless" the exit. From the daughter of a wedding photographer in "winner" of that virtual race that involved almost all women who in recent years have surrounded the premier: to be the official girlfriend. Has a "post Veronica" suspended between reality and fiction, some fiction anything but edifying. — Corriere Della Sera
The former prime minister has a little 'surprise in the show by Barbara D'Urso and speaks to freewheel. Confirm that you are happily engaged and beyond. Talk about everything, as in the (usual) old days. And the controversy there
Silvio Berlusconi: "Yes, I'm engaged to Francesca Pascale". The gossip is not more gossip. And after Daniela Santache who had confirmed their love story , is the former prime minister to admit it. A surprise on live TV. During the show Sunday Live hosted by Barbara D'Urso on Channel 5 — Oggi
Seems pretty clear-cut to us: The Knight is the "girlfriend" of the olgettine. We expect corrections shortly.
[images via AP]