This article was written in early 2005 to raise money for
the printing of the Italian translation, after I had
finished formatting it for Urantia Foundation. Through this
website we were able to raise $40,000.
IN THE 1960s,
an Italian engineer named Giuseppe Zecchinato,
of Verona, came into possession of the French translation of
the Urantia Book, La Cosmogonie d’Urantia, through
his friend, the translator, Jacques Weiss.
Giuseppe, the first Italian
reader of the Urantia Book, became inspired to translate the
revelation into his native language, using for reference
both the French translation and the English text, though his
knowledge of English was limited. Writing by hand, he
translated Part I and a several other papers, but was forced
to stop because of his work commitments.
In the early 1980s, Giuseppe
introduced the Urantia material to fellow Italian
Guglielmo (Memo) Zago, who also lived in Verona.
La Cosmogonie had been published in three separate
volumes, and Memo first read “The Life and Teaching of
Jesus." Intrigued, he purchased the complete set and when he
finished reading it, on his own initiative began translating
the text into Italian, this time using a typewriter, then
showed his work to Giuseppe for appraisal.
Convinced it would be better to
translate directly from the original English text, Giuseppe
and Memo began working together and formed the first small
team with Giuseppe’s sister, Giuseppina Zecchinato.
After much time and many
hardships, they managed to translate forty papers before
Giuseppe fell seriously ill, his condition causing him to
almost completely lose his eyesight. The project seemed to
have come to a sudden and abrupt halt.
After a while, however, Memo
decided to resume the translation, starting from the
beginning and with reference to both English and more recent
French edition texts. Every Saturday he would take his
typewritten pages over to Giuseppe’s home and read out the
new text to him and Giuseppina, after which they would
discuss it and agree upon corrections and revisions. Before
long Memo purchased a computer onto which he transcribed the
By 1999, they considered the
translation finished and presented it to Urantia Foundation.
Under the scrutiny of (Trustee) Georges
Michelson-Dupont and (Manager for Translations)
Seppo Kanerva, the work was judged
On the occasion of Georges's
visit to Verona, Memo expressed the opinion it would be
preferable, before printing, to have the translation checked
over by a language expert, since none of the original team
was fluent in English. Sadly, in 2001, while this was being
decided, Giuseppe passed away.
Soon after, Seppo suggested
that Memo accept language expert Antonella Carrara,
who had volunteered her services, as his co-worker in the
revision of the Italian text. Antonella then brought her in
friend, Salvatore Frustaci, also highly
skilled, to complete the new translation team.
From then on, the three worked
together, with Antonella in Rome and Salvatore first in
England and then in Naples, sending Memo their proposed
changes and modifications, most of which he found acceptable
and for which he was grateful. While the main obstacle
slowing the work was other obligations that prevented them
from devoting full time to the project, the translation
effort continued to edge forward. Also contributing to the
team was Luciana Trombin, Memo’s wife, who
helped him in transcribing the text and proofreading it many
times over for errors.
By May 27, 2004, having gone
through the Italian text three more times, always refining
and polishing it to weed out imperfections, Memo finally
pronounced the work completed. The Italian translation was a
Says Memo: “I thank God for
having met Giuseppe Zecchinato. I thank God for Giuseppe’s
having urged me to engage in the translation of the French
and English texts. I thank God especially for having given
me the physical and mental energy to persist throughout
these many years, in the course of which innumerable
difficulties seemed to frustrate the completion of this
work. I thank Him because the fruition of all this is the
first edition of IL LIBRO DI URANTIA.”
* * *
began one day in late 2004 when my old friend and neighbor
Jane Ploetz was visiting me. Jane, an
Associate Trustee of Urantia Foundation, mentioned that a
number of translations were ready, waiting only to be
formatted. Having acquired computer book-formatting skills
in recent years, I felt the urge to donate my services for
the revelation. They were immediately accepted.
Since January 2005 I have
worked closely with a wonderful, tight-knit team consisting
of Seppo Kanerva, Matt Viglione (UF’s in-house professional
book-formatting wizard), and Memo Zago, head of the Italian
translation team. Although I was in Southern California,
Seppo in Finland, Matt in Chicago, and Memo in Italy, we
worked together comfortably via email, my sending them PDF
files as I finished formatting each paper, which they
checked over and gave instant feedback on.
Matt taught me so much about
book formatting that I now consider myself a skilled
professional, Seppo’s no-nonsense translation leadership
made me feel that the book was in good hands, and Memo’s
love for and devotion to the revelation came through each
time he sent me a meticulous list of corrections and
adjustments. It was a joy to work with all of them. I can
also vouch that Memo read every word of the Italian
translation over a least three more times in the last six
This is not about Urantia
politics or any particular individual. It is exclusively
about the Italian translation and those who labored so long
to make it a reality for their fellow countrymen. No matter
what happened in the past, we have it within our power to
make up for lost time within our lifetime! When I arrive in
the mansion worlds and they ask, “Did you do all you could
for the revelation?” I want to be able to say “Yes!” Won't
you join me?
It's time to put down our
swords and pick up our ploughshares!
[L-R, front:]Giuseppe Zecchinato, Giuseppina Zecchinato,
Memo Zago. [Rear:] visitor Steve Rohrback.
circa 1993, with the Finnish book
Jane (left) and Saskia in 2004 on a day trip to Mexico
Visiting Matt Viglione in
Chicago, May 2005
The peninsula of Italy is
about 150 miles wide, and 760 miles long. It
includes two major islands, Sardinia and Sicily, off
the southwestern coast. Sixty million people speak
Italian, mostly in Italy, San Marino and
Switzerland, and there are about one million native
Italian speakers in the United States. With its
large Roman Catholic population, Italy is
undoubtedly full of seekers looking for an expanded
revelation of Jesus as well as the amplified Bible
concepts that the revelation offers.