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Off topic: Your untranslatables? Is this the place to go for untranslatables?
Thread poster: Terry Gilman

Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:39
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 13, 2009

Perhaps "the lighter side...?" Perhaps "linguistics...."? Perhaps KudoZ?

One of my long-standing partners in crime asked me tonight if there is a "place online for untranslatables."

The ones on her mind tonight: "Jetzt erst recht" (now, with a vengence ... ?) and "to shrug off" (in German?)(and variants).


I think that "somewhere" probably ought to be here, but happy to receive any pointers.


Happy New Year
Terry

PS to the edit: sorry for the typos!

[Edited at 2009-01-14 20:07 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Previous Topic Jan 13, 2009

Try here:

http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/119201-untranslatability.html


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:39
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
What is untranslatable? Jan 14, 2009

Apart from the discussion Jeff refers to (which I read through only now) I would point out that you as a translator cannot leave anything "untranslated". If there is no word in the target language/culture yet, you as a translator have to invent one or use the source term and an explanation along with it.
Because humans are quite alike all that is in relation to human feelings, thinking and reasoning is common to all humans, so there cannot be anything untranslatable there.

But I rather stop here.
Cheers
Heinrich


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 00:39
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Interesting discussion indeed Jan 14, 2009



I was surprised to find out there is no English word for Schadenfreude... there is a perfect equivalent in Finnish, and also a saying that goes "it is the only really pure joy, because there is no envy in it"

And to the topic. I haven't had to translate these, but hip-hop lyrics and the like... I dread having to think of translations to "ridin' 'n' gettin' down with the homies" and such. Just translating the words as they are would sound unbelievably stupid. I suspect the situation is similar in many other languages as well.

If I had an assignment like this, I would just outsource a Finnish hip-hop musician. They do exist, and when they started appearing in the 90s, there was a strong reaction when listening to them... "nooo, this is wrong, you can't say this in Finnish..." but it's better now that we have gotten used to it. I am happy that they, um, "sing" in Finnish. It just goes to show that you can translate even this - isn't the purpose of a translation to inspire the same reaction in the target text reader than the source text inspires in the source text reader. The words don't really matter in this case if listening to it makes you feel like you are supposed to.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:39
Dutch to English
+ ...
I translated hip-hop and other lyrics Jan 14, 2009

Or rather, I explained what the lyrics meant in English and then several other language translators translated the lyrics to their languages. I found the urban dictionary a great treasure:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/

Warning: it is not for the faint hearted


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 23:39
German to English
Schadenfreude? Jan 14, 2009

Taija Salo wrote:
I was surprised to find out there is no English word for Schadenfreude... there is a perfect equivalent in Finnish, and also a saying that goes "it is the only really pure joy, because there is no envy in it"


What about "gloat"
(glōt) Pronunciation Key
intr.v. gloat·ed, gloat·ing, gloats
To feel or express great, often malicious, pleasure or self-satisfaction: Don't gloat over your rival's misfortune.
n.

1. The act of gloating.
2. A feeling of great, often malicious, pleasure or self-satisfaction.

-sylvie
www.einmalich.net


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Sarah Wood  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:39
French to English
Genius Jan 14, 2009

Marijke that is a fantastic link (fo shizzle)!



[Edited at 2009-01-14 10:42 GMT]


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 00:39
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
I understood Schadenfreude is inspired by someone else's misfortune Jan 14, 2009

sylvie malich wrote:

What about "gloat"


But that misfortune is not necessarily included in gloat... yes, please correct me if I am wrong (I know hardly any German anyway).


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:39
French to English
+ ...
English for Schadenfreude Jan 14, 2009

Taija Salo wrote:

I was surprised to find out there is no English word for Schadenfreude...


The English for Schadenfreude is Schadenfreude.

I reckon it's so widely known that it now qualifies as an English word, borrowed from German.

[Edited at 2009-01-14 13:30 GMT]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:39
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
How about this situation Jan 14, 2009

Once in the 70's I walked with my Finnish wife on the street, when a woman slipped on the icy pavement and landed on her bottom. I instinctively laughed out loud, but my wife got very angry. According to her I had shown very bad manners.
Some years later in winter time I came from the shop with two plastic bags full of groceries, when I slipped on the icy pavement, hurt my bottom and sat there dumbfounded, when my colleague from work turned around the corner, saw me sitting there on the ice and burst out laughing.

If you can name the feeling of these two laughing individuals in English, you have the translation of Schadenfreude (de) or vahingonilo (fi).

Cheers
Heinrich


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Fredrik Nowacki  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:39
English to Swedish
+ ...
The equivalent of... Jan 14, 2009

Schadenfreude in Swedish is "skadeglädje" - almost seems like a literal translation from german as schade=skada and freude=glädje.

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Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:39
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the link ... Jan 14, 2009

On that evening, my friend expressed particular distress about the German title of Ayn Rand's novel *Atlas Shrugged* ("Atlas wirft die Welt ab" - "Atlas throws off/drops the world"), not for ideological reasons. As a non-native German speaker, I think the title is not half bad. Vigor in German and English is supposedly achieved with verbs ...

Another phrase that came up - my friend and I are an American and a German respectively, in case that isn't obvious - was "Hauptsache, der Schein trügt" ("The main thing is, appearances [do] deceive" / you manage to fool/impress other people) as a life style motto and headline, which I believe I asked here as a new member, way back when. The author team I was working with at the time (working on a tour guide to a certain city, which shall remain nameless) decided that the translations proposed here and elsewhere "just didn't work." The project finally collapsed shortly thereafter because the photographs weren't good enough either.

Some concepts can be described - to that extent, I agree that they are definitely translatable, in the sense of Gadamer, which one poster already outlined - the "possibilities of being a human being" ("die Möglichkeiten des menschlichen Daseins") have to be accessible to all of us in some way. Something that literature, in the original and in translation, opens up for us - to be platitudinous - but some set phrases and slogans are more translatable than others.

As for the word that has captured attention here: I belong to the camp that feels that the untranslatability of "Schadenfreude" is totally debatable. "Gloat(ing)" works for me. But the world, at least in English, seems to have decreed otherwise. Might be OK, except that the impression seems to be that this emotion is "typically German," an idea I reject, having experienced it in my own New England culture as, well, "gloating." And, in fact, having experienced it rarely, if ever, in my life in New England or Germany. There's "rubber-necking" in the case of accidents on the highway, of course, but that's different.

Since I am now embarking on French, after a haitus of 30+ years, and corresponding at work with colleagues in China, Japan, and Russia, I'd be interested in "untranslatables" in these languages as well (but not only).

All the best,
Terry

PS: Nicole's list of German untranslatables is GREAT. I missed it the first time round. But perhaps one for the German thread: Rechthaberei vs. Selbstgerechtigkeit. In the context of a marketing survey, we settled on "self-righteousness." What did we miss? That the first is more about "law and order," the second about "I'm right"?



[Edited at 2009-01-14 21:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-01-14 21:08 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-01-14 21:10 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-01-14 21:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-01-14 21:32 GMT]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:39
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Malicious joy? Jan 15, 2009

My online dictionary suggests:

glee
malicious delight
malicious pleasure

What's wrong with these?


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 00:39
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Congratulations are in order then Jan 15, 2009

Terry Gilman wrote:
Since I am now embarking on French, after a haitus of 30+ years, and corresponding at work with colleagues in China, Japan, and Russia, I'd be interested in "untranslatables" in these languages as well (but not only).


You will have NO problems finding untranslatables in Russian

Starting with samizdat - samizdat in English and Finnish. German..?


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chica nueva
Local time: 09:39
Chinese to English
what makes me think this is a play on ... Feb 4, 2009

unmentionables

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