Off topic: Lost in translation? Tarado y chupamedias (boot-licking moron)
Thread poster: Neil Cross

Neil Cross
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:59
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jan 24, 2010

A little background: Carlos Tévez is an Argentinian footballer who used to play for Manchester United, but now plays for their rivals Manchester City.

After the recent United-City derby, which City won 2-1 with Tévez scoring both goals, Tévez gave an interview to ESPN Argentina, in which he described his former United teammate Gary Neville as a "tarado" and a "chupamedias" (Neville had previously written an article in which he agreed with his manager's assessment that Tévez wasn't worth GBP 25 million). This was widely reported in the UK press, with a certain degree of amusement, as Tévez calling Neville a "moron" and a "boot-licker" (although some papers translated the latter as "sock-sucker", which doesn't really mean anything in English).

At the time I thought it won't be long before someone comes out and ascribes all the fuss to a mere "mistranslation" (as it's always easiest to blame the translator), and, lo and behold, it has come to pass. His agent now claims the terms were "lost in translation":

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/man_city/8477258.stm

From what I can gather, however, and looking in Kudoz, "moron" and "boot-licker" seem to be fairly accurate translations, although perhaps "moron" may be a bit strong.

Any thoughts from the Spanish experts out there (specifically those with a knowledge of Argentinian slang)?

Cheers,

Neil


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Andrés Ureta  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
answer to chupamedias Jan 24, 2010

Dear user:

Chupamedias means someone who always want to be ok with his/her boss or with everybody in general, so the right term for chupamedias is brown noser (very colloquial just like chupamedias in spanish).

I hope this can be useful for you.

PD: The translation "moron" for tarado is ok.

[Edited at 2010-01-24 15:08 GMT]


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Multitran
Argentina
Local time: 21:59
English to Spanish
+ ...
tarado Jan 24, 2010

Tarado is a colloquial word meaning 'quite crazy' but it's not very strong, in my opinion.

I would not translate it as moron, that is the first meaning in the rae.com but it's not what Tevez meant.
He only meant crazy, I think, closer to the second meaning, that's the meaning it has here in Argentina.




tarado, da.

(Del part. de tarar).

1. adj. Que padece tara física o psíquica.

2. adj. Tonto, bobo, alocado. U. t. c. s.


Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados





Saludos,

multitran

[Edited at 2010-01-24 14:56 GMT]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:59
Italian to English
Sobre tarados y abuelas Jan 24, 2010

There's an interesting post from an Argentinian on the Word Reference forum:

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=920045 (it's post number 4)
>
De todas maneras te recomiendo que al referirte a una persona que no te agrada, dentro de un contexto de poca confianza, siempremente digas:

Juan no me cae bien/me desagrada/me cae pesado/es un tarado/me cae muy mal/estupido

Ya que delante del cura/jefe/abuela/desconocido las otras palabras no serían muy bien recibidas.
>

"Tarado" is described as an expression you can use in front of a "priest/boss/grandmother/stranger" since it is not terribly strong.

The problem is one of context, though. In English, you might get away with "moron" (or "retard" or any other literal translation implying mental disability) in a conversation with friends but it would be risky with people you don't know.

If our Argentinian friend on the Word Reference forum is correct, "moron" does look a bit too strong. A safer solution might have been something like "clot" or "ninny", or even "wally".

Granny permitting, of course


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
"boot licker" vs "brown noser" Jan 24, 2010

uretaandres wrote:

Chupamedias means someone who always want to be ok with his/her boss or with everybody in general, so the right term for chupamedias is brown noser (very colloquial just like chupamedias in spanish).


Personally, I would have translated it as "boot licker". "Brown noser" is a synonym, but enough people are aware of the term's vulgar origins that it is wise to avoid it in polite company.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 02:59
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another football "miss translation" contestan... Jan 24, 2010

A fellow prozian, in his fine blog, makes some wise observations about another dubious translation in the field of football: http://www.wideroadlinguist.typepad.com/ (Look for Thierry Henri). Highly recommended.


As for your words: well, I might look for something just a tiny bit "weaker" than moron - I was toying with "git", and "wally" was another good suggestion. I don't think we need to try to stick too closely to it being a question of intelligence level.
And "chupamedias": the brown-noser sounds more natural to me than boot-licker, and nowadays I don't think it has a great impact. What we are looking at is degree of insult rather than necessarily literal representation of the comments.


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
Off-topic (slightly) Jan 24, 2010

Football players are a special professional group, aren't they? They roll on the floor or kiss each other every time someone on their team makes a goal, and they say this kind of thing to their adversaries and the press picks it up eagerly.

I'm glad that dentists, lawyers and... translators don't behave the same way.



L


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xxxAguas de Mar
Agree with Jessica Jan 24, 2010

I know you are mostly interested in the opinion of Argentinean colleagues. However, as a translator born and raised in Mexico, I would have probably used the English words chosen. If it had been a Mexican football player speaking, he would have probably said "tarados y lamebotas" or, even worse, "idiotas y lamehuevos", which would stillt ranslate into "a moron and a boot-licker".

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Alistair Gainey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:59
Member (2009)
Russian to English
It's annoying, yes. Jan 24, 2010

This kind of thing is annoying. OK, in some cases the translation may be inaccurate. But sometimes it seems as if the translator is being used as a scapegoat for someone else's mistake, tactlessness, or whatever. In this particular case, it's annoying that the BBC merely quotes Joorabchian, without discussing whether he's right or not. It wouldn't have been hard for the journalist to find a Spanish expert to give an opinion on the matter.

[Edited at 2010-01-24 20:34 GMT]


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:59
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Brown noser Jan 24, 2010

Great chain here. Sometimes it is better to discuss a term in the forums than through the Kudoz system.

Growing up in the U.S. we always used the term "brown noser" for anyone who tried to get extra privileges from the teacher by being too nice to her. We little children never thought of the vulgar connotations of the term. Now, as an adult, I can fingure out where this term comes from.

A sort of related term in baseball, is when when an angry fan accuses the umpire of having a "glass stomach".


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Neil Cross
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:59
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... Jan 26, 2010

…to everyone for their interesting contributions.

The general consensus would seem to be that the terms have been translated fairly accurately – which is what I had suspected all along – although, as translators, we could no doubt debate the nuances ad infinitum.

It seems to me, incidentally, that translating insults is particularly tricky, as it is difficult to gauge the precise level of offence that was originally intended

Cheers,

Neil


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Aleksandar Gasic
Montenegro
Local time: 02:59
English to Serbo-Croat
+ ...
marvelous Jan 27, 2010

Neil Cross wrote:

some papers translated the latter as "sock-sucker", which doesn't really mean anything in English).


I could not stop giggling. I just kept imagining a "sock-sucker". Level below a thumb-sucker. This phrase made me so cheerful on such a bleak day that I think I'll start using it. Hopefully, nobody will mistake it for a PC form of c...


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