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Klabautermann

English translation: Klabautermann

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Klabautermann
English translation:Klabautermann
Entered by: Olaf Reibedanz
Options:
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15:17 Jul 5, 2004
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Folklore / Elves, Pixies, Gnomes ...
German term or phrase: Klabautermann
I recently came across this in a text for kids' face-paints (the children could paint themselves a "klabautermann" mask). As far as I know Pumuckl is a Klabautermann and a klabautermann is some kind of ship's protective spirit (I've seen quite a few translations: from hobgoblin, to (what I eventually used for the sake of understanding - ship's imp - I considered elf) to the German word being used in English. I also feel that ship's spirit isn't quite right.

It really made me think, though ... there are quite a few cultural concepts that are rather hard to render in English. So, I was just wondering: Is there an Anglo-Saxon concept of some kind of Klabautermann - i.e. is there a proper word for Klabautermann, i.e. similar Anglo-Saxon legends, or is it something you just have to describe?
Sarah Downing
Local time: 18:39
Klabautermann
Explanation:
I think the best would be to leave the word as it is and not to translate it. Just add a little explanation in brackets ("ship's kobold" should do) the first time the word occurs in your translation.

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Note added at 17 mins (2004-07-05 15:34:45 GMT)
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I think the word \"kobold\" is not that unknown to English speakers - at least there is an entry for it in the Webster\'s New World Heritage Dictionary and there are plenty of google hits.

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Note added at 34 mins (2004-07-05 15:52:39 GMT)
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Dear Sarah, if you want to make sure that the children understand it, you could add the following description in brackets:

\"A klabautermann is a small spirit living on a ship and having supernatural powers. It is invisible to us and likes to play all sorts of jokes and tricks on people.\"

Something along those lines :-)
Selected response from:

Olaf Reibedanz
Colombia
Local time: 17:39
Grading comment
Thank you to both you - your comments and answers were really interesting. Points go to Olaf for your cute explanation. Incidentally, I also saw kobold in Merriam-Webster (before you mentioned) it, but I was really surprised, because I didn't know it even existed in English.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +3Klabautermann
Olaf Reibedanz
3 +2Leave it in German and add a note
Stefanie Sendelbach


Discussion entries: 12





  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Leave it in German and add a note


Explanation:
Hi Sarah,

I agree with you that the term has quite a lot of cultural concept behind it. For a translation, I suggest you leave the German term and add a note, explaining it is some kind of sea kobold or ship's kobold (see below the two sources that I found).

Klabautermann: a kind of sea kobold. ...
www.talklikeapirate.com/howtogerman.html -

SHIP'S KOBOLD or GOBLIN (KLABAUTERMANN). ...
www.thecomputershow.com/computershow/ walkthroughs/shadowsoverrivawalk2.htm

Stefanie Sendelbach
Germany
Local time: 00:39
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kathinka van de Griendt
13 mins

agree  David Hollywood: same as I said for Olaf :)
20 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Klabautermann


Explanation:
I think the best would be to leave the word as it is and not to translate it. Just add a little explanation in brackets ("ship's kobold" should do) the first time the word occurs in your translation.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 mins (2004-07-05 15:34:45 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think the word \"kobold\" is not that unknown to English speakers - at least there is an entry for it in the Webster\'s New World Heritage Dictionary and there are plenty of google hits.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 34 mins (2004-07-05 15:52:39 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Dear Sarah, if you want to make sure that the children understand it, you could add the following description in brackets:

\"A klabautermann is a small spirit living on a ship and having supernatural powers. It is invisible to us and likes to play all sorts of jokes and tricks on people.\"

Something along those lines :-)

Olaf Reibedanz
Colombia
Local time: 17:39
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you to both you - your comments and answers were really interesting. Points go to Olaf for your cute explanation. Incidentally, I also saw kobold in Merriam-Webster (before you mentioned) it, but I was really surprised, because I didn't know it even existed in English.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  avantix
4 mins

agree  David Hollywood: going to agree with Sundari too and strongly recommend that you all get your hands on a copy of the marvellous Achim Reichel album of the same name :) rock on :)
18 mins

agree  Nancy Arrowsmith: I would use ship's spirit instead of imp or kobold - more easily understandable!
11 hrs
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