It’s time to gear up for the General Assembly session, which means bills about state symbols and other seemingly ceremonial matters are set to be filed. The state song seems poised to be up for review amid the national move away from Confederate symbols. The state motto is also set for some parsing which could bring out the translators.
State Senator Bryan Simonaire filed a bill to change the translation of the Italian phrase “Fatti maschii parole femine” that sits at the feet of a fisherman and plowman in the Great Seal of Maryland. The bill states that the motto is currently translated as, “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” Digging in further, the Washington Post’s Ovetta Wiggins found that there’s a more elaborate translation:
The words, embassy spokesman Paola Bozan said, are generally understood to mean “men do things, and women talk about things.” Another, wordier, translation: “When you need things done, ask a man, because women only talk and don’t arrive to a conclusion.”
In the bill, Simonaire proposes changing the translation to “Strong Deeds, Gentle Words.” The Post reports that the phrase is already noted on a plaque in the state senate’s office building, but hasn’t been made official.
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