An Italian website contacted the John E. Mack Institute for permission to translate some articles.
We granted them permission, and I asked what word they would use for “experiencer”, since that is sort of an invented word in English that Dr. Mack popularized. It has become an important word in the lexicon of alien encounter research, so needed some careful attention.
My housemate asked some of his librarian colleagues who knew Italian what resources existed for getting the finer sense of word meanings, and he turned me on to this site —
— which suggested that “esperienza” can carry the meanings of knowledge/mental sensation/skill. Sounded about right, and the word is a good sound-alike.
So I proposed “esperienzer” (esperienza with an “er” at the end), but I did not know if adding an “r” to the end of a word turns something into a noun like it does in English. (“One who has the qualities of being a Fuck“, in English, becomes “Fucker”).
The Italian replied back that “esperienzanti” may be what we had in mind. (As anticipated, Italian does not place an “r” at the end). “‘Esperienzanti’ is like ‘those who are experiencing something’“, he wrote. “I think this word does not exist,” he noted, “but I like the idea. I can use it.”
Later discussions and feedback from dual-language speakers led us to a final decision in which we’ve opted for a term that suggests “one who experiences a particular state”:
“Experiencers” and “Experiencer” in Italian will henceforth be:
At least in articles by the late Dr. John Mack.
Update: “esperienzante” might be masculine singular. Feminine singular might be “esperienzanta”. I’ll check when the translations are done, I don’t want to bother the guy more.
(I ruled out the original suggestion that the translator had provided of “sperimentatore” which is similar to an “experimenter”, because it felt a bit too active — the word needs to carry some passivity to it. Receptivity to experience, but not necessarily much ability to produce an experience. Plus the root of the word would make English speakers giggle.)
UPDATE: I emailed American-based Italian researcher Paolo Harris, and she confirmed that there has not yet been an Italian term for “experiencer” invented yet, so we are truly pioneering the use of these new terms. I hope it catches on as a more direct translation of the term “experiencer”, because a unique, invented English word deserves a unique, invented Italian word. (She told me that a word similar to the English word “contactee” is most often used — “Contattisti, or Contattati, but mostly Contattisti”. “Contactee” carries the implication that a person has been contacted by an outside agency, thus negating the possibility that the experiences might be internally generated, and that is the sort of narrowing of meaning that the term “experiencer” was meant to avoid. By being more broad, “experiencer” allows for many interpretations.)