Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Off topic: Personal names that are involuntarily funny/horrible/inappropriate in a different language
Thread poster: Daniel Frisano

Daniel Frisano
Monaco
Local time: 13:43
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Sep 21

Know any names in your language that would sound highly inappropriate in some other language?

Example 1: I had a friend in Italy who for some reason was named Asco, and I sincerely hope that he'll never travel to any Spanish-speaking country.

Example 2: Former Slovenian-Italian basketball player Gregor Fučka, who never made it to the NBA (perhaps for fear that they'd miss the "strešica").


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
How about names that are funny in their own country? Sep 21

Eugène Poubelle was the administrator who made the use of the dustbin compulsory in Paris in 1884. Since then, "poubelle" has meant "dustbin" in France. Hence, you'll find a few Mr and Ms Dustbin in France.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Raffi Jamgocyan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 14:43
Member (2012)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Goethe Sep 21

Well, Goethe was lucky for not having lived in Turkey, the pronunciation of his name means "to where the sun don't shine" in Turkish.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:43
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Prof. Bogorov Sep 21

At BBC Monitoring I heard a talk by a Professor Bogorov (stress on the last syllable). Due to the Russian pronunciation of an unstressed "o" like an "a", his name sounded exactly like "Bugger off".
If asked his name in English, his reply would not sound at all polite.

Also remembered from BBC Monitoring:
A lady called Dr. Vagina. Pronounced with the accent on the first syllable and a hard "g" (VARgina), I didn't even notice anything about it when I heard it, but seeing it in print, it looked a bit odd.

[Edited at 2017-09-22 13:09 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
The Misha
Local time: 07:43
Russian to English
+ ...
There's at least one such name here, on ProZ Sep 21

I am not going to name any names (no pun intended) but the gentleman seems to be based in Hong Kong. I wonder if he is even aware that his last name sounds outright indecent in my native Russian, and in combination with his fairly presumptuous first name becomes an absolute outrage for me as an American. Not that he should care, of course. He is neither in the US, nor in Russia.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:43
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Cacá Sep 21

One of the first childish "loves" of my daughter was the Brazilian football player Cacá. And there was no a way for her to tell anyone outside Portugal 'I love Caca' - with accent or no accent, it still sounded too weird to love the thing.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Various Sep 22

“Kok” is a Dutch surname, and I’ve even met one of them whose first name was “Dick”.

Many Thai women have “porn” in their names.

The former Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker hardly needs any introduction. They went bust in 1996 after their business nosedived, so in a sense they were literally f***ed. Apparently the company had become rudderless. You can’t just wing it in that industry.

[Edited at 2017-09-22 00:05 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How about Justin Trudeau Sep 22

Sounds in French like "juste un trou d'eau" [just a water hole]

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 13:43
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Dreikant Sep 22

This is the surname of the German lady I knew in the USA.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Sarah Lewis-Morgan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:43
Member (2014)
German to English
UK/US differences Sep 22

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

“Kok” is a Dutch surname, and I’ve even met one of them whose first name was “Dick”.



[Edited at 2017-09-22 00:05 GMT]


Dick is not an uncommon first name in the UK, as an abbreviation of Richard. It is not viewed as offensive in the way it is in the US.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:43
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
That Sheikh ... and the Russian ballet Sep 22

Some years ago, much in the news during OPEC talks was one Sheikh Yamani, all too appropriately named.

I also remember yonks ago an anthology of articles from the New Yorker by the American journalist/humourist Robert Benchley and the duo of Russian ballet stars he invented - Serge Pantz and Tamara Tumbleova - fictional, I know, but funny.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:43
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Fuchsia and f***** Sep 22

Apparently the prudish Queen Victoria decreed that this should be pronounced "fiuscia" because to pronounce it correctly would cause embarrassment.

I used to work, in Italy, with a guy called Facchinetti. I advised him never to visit London.

The water closet was invented by Thomas Crapper, a perfectly innocuous name at the time....

[Edited at 2017-09-22 09:17 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Barbara Pozzi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:43
German to Italian
+ ...
Purcell Sep 22

Some years ago I went to Ireland and one of the first people I met was Mr. Purcell. In my dialect "Purcell" means "pig".

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Viesturs Lacis  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 14:43
Member (2014)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Latvian examples Sep 22

A couple of Latvian (both source and target, mostly sports-related) examples:

1) Andris Šics and Juris Šics, two Latvian olympic medalists. English-language broadcasters usually pronounce their surname as "six", since the diacritical marks are often not displayed in the TV captions. However, Latvian "š" is properly pronounced like the English "sh" and "cs" sounds similar to "ts", thus... you get the picture.

2) Felix Loch, the most successful currently active male luger. In accordance with the Latvian grammar rules, non-native digraphs (such as "ch") are adapted and an "s" is added to his surname to make it fit the Latvian system of noun endings. Thus, his localized surname becomes Lohs - a widespread Latvian slang word meaning roughly "fool, idiot, blockhead".

3) The German Olympic champion swimmer Ines Diers has a surname which caused Latvian-language publications to derogate from the otherwise solid and standardized system of German name adaptation, as the result would have differed from a rude slang word meaning "arse" only by a single diacritical macron.

4) Apparently, Pimpis is an ordinary Lithuanian surname. However, I'm aware of at least two examples when a Soviet-era public announcer has stammered over the name and deliberately mangled it, as the Latvian word is a crude reference to the male sex organ.

5) Not a personal name, but the Peugeot car brand has caused some private amusement to many a Latvian - by pronouncing it according to French rules, but with a final "a" rather than "o", one gets possibly the most popular vulgar slang term for the vagina.

6) Tyson Gay is a famous American sprinter. His English surname has the same pronunciation and (modern) meaning in Latvian. This being the former USSR, with its considerably lower public awareness and media coverage of gay issues, at least one well-known sports journalist insisted on pronouncing the surname as "guy", which has no meaning (taboo or otherwise) in Latvian. Even after he started to pronounce it properly, one would sometimes hear an ever-so-slight hesitation before the surname. IMHO a nice example of how a different cultural context influences such things.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:43
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
To Jenny & Tom Sep 22

Another fictional Russian ballerina is Sonya Yetsova.

I also thought the verb to crap came from Thomas Crapper's invention, but I have since discovered that the verb is much older than the sanitary engineer.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Fernanda Rocha[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Personal names that are involuntarily funny/horrible/inappropriate in a different language

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
PDF Translation - the Easy Way
TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation.

TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation. It also puts your translations back into the PDF to make new PDFs. Quicker and more accurate than hand-editing PDF. Includes free use of Infix PDF Editor with your translated PDFs.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search