Off topic: Another World Cup translation blunder
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jun 26, 2010

(Part of an article in the Daily Telegraph today on the forthcoming England-Germany game in the World Cup)

The jokes may be becoming a bit contrived and shopworn. And yet I can't help enjoying them hugely.
It's in the language, actually. There can hardly be another language that lends itself to punning quite so well as the English idiom. When deployed to capture the English-German rivalry, the puns are always good enough for a smile or even a belly laugh.
"Germans Wurst at Penalties," proclaimed one tabloid on its front page on Friday. Inside, the paper went one better. "Das boot is on the other foot," it declaimed, lacing their offering with photographs of English footballers' lovelies on the opposite page under the heading " ... AND DAS BOOTIES".
But my enjoyment was marred when I turned to the back page: "Kaiser Chief is so stupid – Defoe blasts Franz insult," it said, referring to Franz Beckenbauer's comments earlier this week in the German newspaper Bild.
Another newspaper topped this from its Mount Olymps of indignation. "HERR DRYER! – German legend Beckenbauer in new rant against 'stupid' England".
Stupid? Germany's footballing legend said nothing of the sort. What a shame the teaching of foreign languages is in such sorry decline in this blessed plot. One look at what Beckenbauer actually wrote would have killed the allegation of a "rant" straight away.
The problem arose from the Kaiser's use of "dummerweise", meaning "it's a pity". "Dummerweise" may sound like it means dumb or stupid, but it doesn't. What the Kaiser actually wrote – "It's a pity the English flunked a bit by coming up second in their group" – was lost in translation, served up to Brits as: "Stupidly, the English have slipped up a little."
No matter that the Kaiser even drove home his point, adding: "sadly this clash comes much too soon in the tournament" – a sentiment most of us share on either side of the divide.
Nobody checked the original wording of Beckenbauer's column and so the non-existent "insult" was allowed to spread like a bushfire. There lies the rub.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:51
English to Dutch
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As the man said... Jun 26, 2010

...never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:51
German to English
Too bad Jun 26, 2010

As an English teacher in Germany while marking a student's paper that had an unusually high number of errors, I wrote as a final comment: too bad! The student was very upset, not understanding that the comment didn't mean "unacceptable" but "what a pity."

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
Member (2006)
English to German
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World Cup rhetoric Jun 26, 2010

Jan Willem probably hit the nail right on the head.

By the way: A very similar mistranslation/misquotation was going through the English media (and not just the tabloids) just the other week: Germany coach Joachim Löw was quoted as wanting his team to "embarrass" and even "humiliate" their opponents.

What he actually said, though, sounded a lot less intimidating: "Wir wollen die Gegner spielerisch in Verlegenheit bringen und nicht nur durch Rennen und Kämpfen", ie. he wanted his team to be able to outplay their opponents, to make their opponents' life difficult by showing playing skill rather than by merely running and fighting 'til the end. He was talking about playing well and winning with style, not about humiliation and embarrassment.


[Edited at 2010-06-26 20:00 GMT]


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Bilbo Baggins
Catalan to English
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journalists with 2 languages of translatoras' Jun 27, 2010

Jack Doughty wrote:

"Stupidly, the English have slipped up a little."



This sort of sentence would be red alert for me, precisely becuase it sounds so insulting. And Ithink most translators would modulate or at least consider and reconsider and reconsider again the implications of their rendering.

So WHO is translating this stuff??????


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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TOPIC STARTER
The paper's own sports section repeats the error Jun 27, 2010

I noticed later that in the sports section of the same edition of the Daily Telegraph, Beckenbauer is quoted as saying that the English "foolishly" didn't come top of their group.

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
Member (2006)
English to German
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Who is translating? Jun 27, 2010

Bilbo Baggins wrote:
So WHO is translating this stuff??????


Nobody. And that is the problem.



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Vincenzo Di Maso  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:51
Member (2009)
English to Italian
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by the way... Jun 27, 2010

come on England!!!
Rooney Rooney Rooney!!!


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
French to English
+ ...
Radio Jun 27, 2010

The allegation that it was "mind games" by Beckenbauer were all over the radio news and discussions (in the UK), too.

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Gianluigi Desogus, PhD  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:51
English to Italian
+ ...
Unlikely I know but what if... Jun 27, 2010

it were an intentional mistranslation... just to stir up things a little bit.
After all (some) English fans taunt the Germans chanting "2 World Wars and 1 World Cup"... and the tabloids wouldn't pass up such an opportunity to twist Franz's words and pander to such feelings...


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TandIBusiness
United States
Local time: 15:51
Several more World Cup Translation Blunders Jul 8, 2010

You can check out several more World Cup Translation blunders at The International Business Edge!, including the insult to Slovenia and Maradona's allegedly misinterpreted question from the press.

That post also links back to this thread to give credit to Thomas Pfann for the blunder he identified above.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
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I must admit... Jul 9, 2010

I might well have made the same mistake with "dummerwise", and I've been translating German for over 20 years.

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George Hopkins
Local time: 00:51
Swedish to English
Lost in translation Jul 11, 2010

People who think thay know english good, or any other foreign language for that matter, are often a pain.

Apropos Germany, one of my off-subject favorites:
According to Mark Twain, 'Wagner's musik is better than it sounds'.


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