Error of fact or translation?
November 20, 2023 5:50 AM   Subscribe

This plaque commemmorating the birthplace of Michael Collins, according to the translation on the page and others I've tried, claims he was "first man on the moon". Is this an error of translation, some cultural context I'm missing, or simply ... wrong?
posted by dmd to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
I think the “first man on the moon” part is referring to the Apollo mission, not to the astronaut.
posted by niicholas at 6:07 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

It looks like the whole phrase “MISSIONE APOLLO IL PRIMO UOMO SULLA LUNA” is in quotation marks. So maybe it’s more like “astronaut of the Apollo first-man-on-the-moon mission”?
posted by staggernation at 6:07 AM on November 20

It's certainly odd.

The quote marks seem important. Looking closely, the whole phrase MISSIONE APOLLO 11 PRIMO UOMO SULLA LUNA is encapsulated by “ and „ .

Therefore the phrase "first man on the moon" could be read as a descriptor of the Apollo 11 mission — almost a part of its name — not of Michael Collins personally.
posted by Klipspringer at 6:08 AM on November 20

I think it depends on how you read it.

I'm reading it as that the Apollo 11 mission, which Collins was a part of, landed the first man on the moon—not that Michael Collins was the first man on the moon.

With added punctuation, it's more clear:

Intrepid astronaut from the "Apollo 11 Mission: First man on the moon"
posted by vitout at 6:09 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That makes sense. Thanks.
posted by dmd at 6:47 AM on November 20

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