Can you help translate this Italian phrase?
April 28, 2013 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Can you translate this Italian phrase into English? "Nun so' fesso ma faccio o' fesso perche' facendo o' fesso te faccio fesso."

I found this in an Italian restaurant, and our server said it was too complicated to translate. Google searches aren't turning up anything useful, and google translate is giving me "I know Nun 'fool but I do or' fool 'cause doing or' stupid do you fool." Here is a photo.
posted by ataxia to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
Best answer: "I am not dumb but I play dumb because by playing dumb I am going to trick you"
posted by pdxpatzer at 12:53 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: just like pdxpatzer's but preserving the pun as well as possible: "I am not a fool, but I play the fool, because by playing the fool, I will play YOU for a fool."
posted by KathrynT at 1:03 PM on April 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

Automatic translation isn't working on this because it's in some southern dialect.
posted by dhoe at 1:16 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone!
posted by ataxia at 1:22 PM on April 28, 2013

"make a fool out of you," I would say for the end.
posted by skbw at 2:36 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

dhoe is right, it's a southern dialect. "Nun" is "non" in standard Italian; "so'" is "sono"; "o'" is the definite article "il".
posted by katemonster at 2:57 PM on April 28, 2013

Got to this late but just for general info this is very much like my mother's dialect, which is somewhat Neapolitan. Being made a fool of is a Huge Insult where she's from so it actually reads somewhat hostilely to me. Was it directed at the customers or the staff?
posted by camyram at 5:57 PM on April 28, 2013

Response by poster: That's very interesting camyram. It was on a shelf next to our table. We did get the feeling they might just not want to tell us what it meant.
posted by ataxia at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I googled the standard Italian version "Io non sono fesso, ma faccio il fesso perche' facendo il fesso, ti faccio fesso", and seems to be attributed to Totò, a comic actor very popular even today, 40 years after his death. The figure on the right is likely meant to be him.

I don't think this is meant to be offensive, it's more establishing complicity. We're both not fools so let's not treat each other as such. Somewhat similar in spirit to funny bar signs ("Free beer yesterday", or variations on "no credit given").
posted by dhoe at 4:08 AM on April 29, 2013

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