I’m translating an English novel into Italian but I’m stuck on the meaning of one sentence and I was wondering if you could help me:
Why—his voice seemed to draw out soft and subtle, it penetrated her nerves—why, what do you think it is?
To draw out here means to elongate. It's typically used non-reflexively, as in "drawn-out goodbye" and "to draw out limited supplies".
Here it is used in a reflexive sense, the voice draws itself out, the words are spoken slowly and with pauses between them, so his manner seems languid and indifferent.
The Italian equivalent might be strascicare, to drag or scuff.
"Draw out" here just means "come out" or "flow out", you could translate with "fluire" or even "esalare" (exhale) and similar.
On Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/draw) you can see the meaning
To take into the lungs; to inhale.
All such senses are related to the etymological meaning, "pull": in this context you could also say blow.
In a word, you can't use "draw out" intransitively. it's half a phrase; it should be "draw out noun."
Personally... since "draw out" means, uh, "draw out"
(as in say "draw out a piece of string" ... so, it means basically "pull out")
I would personally be inclined to only use it in that way.
So for example:
his voice seemed to draw out beauty, it penetrated all her lips ..
For me personally "his voice seemed to draw out soft and subtle" simply makes so sense.
After the "draw out" I'm looking for .. what did it draw out? string? beauty? mystery? body fluids?
(For me, poetry that is just "pretty phrases" ("poetic" phrases) is weak poetry. For me, poetry is ingeniously stating reality, not merely "using poetic words". So for example, from Shakespeare, "as in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood." Note that the words have incredible striking meaning which make you think deeply, but they're just ordinary words, not "poetic sounding" words or phrases.)
Again, quite simply, "draw out" means "draw out" so, in a word, you need something after it .. draw out love, draw out my heart ... whatever you actually mean.
If it was a lame-ass creative writing class, here I'd say "well WHAT, SPECIFICALLY is he drawing out that is so amazing it makes her pee her pants? WHAT is he drawing out?"