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a couple of scabby kids

English translation: don't change it unless you have to for 'cultural' reasons

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08:29 Oct 28, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / literature
English term or phrase: a couple of scabby kids
The school kids were sweet country children -just one mild case of attention deficit, a couple of scabby kids, one wee shit and statisrically there should be at least one abused kid.


can I say a group of nasty kids and one who has a wee problem?

how can I explain wee shit and scabby kids ?
xxxfortunetelle
Local time: 21:25
English translation:don't change it unless you have to for 'cultural' reasons
Explanation:
Why do you want to change the sentence at all? It's a nice well-written piece of descriptive English as it stands.

If the use of 'shit' is a problem, you could change that to 'trouble-maker' without chaning the meaning one iota.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs (2007-10-28 12:41:15 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another option for 'wee shit' would be 'pain in the backside' (or even ... in the arse) - but any reader who understands those expressions will probably also understand 'wee shit'.

Note also that, depending on the historical and socio-economic context, 'scabby' may be a reference to conditions of general hygiene, scabby being perhaps a reference to the sores caused by poorly-treated acne rather than 'cuts and grazes' as suggested by Patricia.
Selected response from:

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 15:25
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +5don't change it unless you have to for 'cultural' reasons
Robin Levey
5 +3a couple of children with cuts and grazes and one little child who is pretty nasty.Patricia Townshend
4 +1a couple of children with scabby faces
Sheila Wilson
4commentKen Cox


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


18 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a couple of children with scabby faces


Explanation:
No, they're not nasty kids - just a cross section. The reference to scabby means they've got scabs on their faces and other visible parts (either from injuries or some illness)

Sheila Wilson
Spain
Local time: 19:25
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: yes, good explanation -possibly impetigo! But I also agree with mediamatrix that the sentence doesn't need rewriting
3 hrs
  -> Thanks - I like it as it is

neutral  Alexander Demyanov: Why, when talking about character/moral/behavioural features, the speaker would throw in a physical thing like "w/cuts"? It's like saying "most are good singers except one has long hair and two wear spectacles". Doesn't seem to add up
3 hrs
  -> It's a sign that perhaps the children are street urchins, left too much to their own devices without parental supervision
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24 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
a couple of children with cuts and grazes and one little child who is pretty nasty.


Explanation:
As Sheila says, the kids have scabs, i.e. probably healing cuts and grazes. The "one wee shit" is no reference to his urine (!) but means little, I would think. as in Scottish dialect. The "shit" refers again not to biological function but that he or she is a nasty little character. The other kids are not necessarily nasty - scabby is just what happens to little children. As Sheila says, they are a cross-section.

Patricia Townshend
South Africa
Local time: 20:25
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 36

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Andrew Levine: absolutely
59 mins
  -> Thanks

agree  V_N
1 hr
  -> Thanks

agree  Gemma Collinge: When I was a kid I used to use the word "scabby" to refer to things of low visual (or moral) quality. For example, my friend is too cheap, I would call them scabby or that something was too old or dirty that was scabby too. Very slangy however!
2 hrs
  -> A child covered in cuts and scratches is of pretty low visual quality! - but I agree and thanks.

neutral  Alexander Demyanov: Why, when talking about character/moral/behavioural features, the speaker would throw in a physical thing like "w/cuts"? It's like saying "most are good singers except one has long hair and two wear spectacles". Doesn't seem to add up.
3 hrs
  -> I would agree with mediamatrix (below) in his answer to this coment.

neutral  Robin Levey: For Alexander: Ths text is clearly 'first impressions' on meeting the kids and the 'scabs' are signs of the kinds of socio-economic problems the writer (presumably a new teacher) is going to have to deal with later, just like moral/behavioural matters.
3 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
don't change it unless you have to for 'cultural' reasons


Explanation:
Why do you want to change the sentence at all? It's a nice well-written piece of descriptive English as it stands.

If the use of 'shit' is a problem, you could change that to 'trouble-maker' without chaning the meaning one iota.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs (2007-10-28 12:41:15 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another option for 'wee shit' would be 'pain in the backside' (or even ... in the arse) - but any reader who understands those expressions will probably also understand 'wee shit'.

Note also that, depending on the historical and socio-economic context, 'scabby' may be a reference to conditions of general hygiene, scabby being perhaps a reference to the sores caused by poorly-treated acne rather than 'cuts and grazes' as suggested by Patricia.

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 15:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: yes, as it stands, it's well written, and I wouldn't rewrite or explain it.
51 mins

agree  Patricia Townshend: I tend to agree - just thought the asker needed explanation. But the sentence certainly says it all!
1 hr

neutral  juvera: I think the asker's problem is: to clarify the English expressions to be able to translate it faithfully.// Not necessarily, the key is in the understanding. Anyway, it is his/her priviledge. ;-)
1 hr
  -> If asker's problem is how to translate this into language XXX, then it would be far better to post it in the corresponding language pair and get answers that fit the target language/culture.

agree  Can Altinbay
1 hr

agree  kmtext: In Scotland, scabby usually means unpleasant, dirty, unkempt, scruffy, mangy, etc and tends to be used for people from poor backgrounds, with low standards of health and hygiene.
2 hrs

agree  NancyLynn: with kmtext too
4 hrs
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
comment


Explanation:
First off, I agree with the answers given by mediamatrix and juvera.

Second, something that no-one has mentioned (probably because it doesn't need explaining to a native speaker), but which may help your understanding (and which IMO addresses Alexander's comments), is that the the first part of the sentence ('sweet country children') and the remainder (the descriptions of the various types) are ironically juxtaposed for intentional effect.

What the author/speaker is indirectly saying is that the idealised notion of 'country children' being (all) well adjusted, well cared for, pleasant children without problems for themselves or others is blatent nonsense.

Ken Cox
Local time: 20:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 88
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