Il re non lo leggerebbe neppure il messaggio.

[details=“English Translation”]The king would not even read the message.[/details] This looks like a misuse of the conditional tense in that there is no named condition under which the king would read the message. I know the conditional tense is used in other ways, but is this one of them?
Google translates this from Italian to English this way, but if you translate it back from English to Italian, it turns into, “Il re non volle nemmeno leggere il messaggio.” I would rather say, “Il re si è rifiutato persino di leggere il messaggio.” I’m unable to find discussions or instruction on this issue online. It’s difficult to search for. Does anyone know of a definitive article that addresses the problem of choosing a tense when translating English sentences that contain the word “would”?


The translation makes sense to me. I think the difficulty regarding the missing condition stems from the phrase being out of context.

It could be something along the lines of “even if I wrote a message, the king would not even read it.”. Or a dialogue like “- Why don’t you write to the king ? - The king would not even read the message.”.

Notice the presence of the pronoun “lo”. It could be omitted and read “il re non leggerebbe neppure il messaggio”. But I think its presence suggests a previous mention of a message and gives emphasis to it.


[details=“English Translation”]The king would not even read the message.[/details] I’m not saying there isn’t a possible context where the conditional would apply, but rather that there are contexts where it doesn’t. (“They sent a message to the king and he would not even read it.”) I’m particularly concerned with how “would not” gets translated when it means “refused to” do something. If I find a definitive answer, I’ll post a link.