Translating Hindi in European languages via English
Thread poster: Binod Ringania

Binod Ringania  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:46
Member (2009)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Aug 29, 2009

Hi,
I want some information for my article. In Hindi a teacher call his student as 'tum' (you) and the student calls his teacher as 'aap' (you) showing respect. In English in both the cases 'you' is used. I want to know how this is translated in European languages. For example, How would you translate these sentences in your language (Spanish, French, German etc.), 'You are my student', 'You are my respected teacher', 'You sit here, sir.', 'My son, you sit here.' I just want to know if different forms of 'you' and 'sit' are used as in Hindi and most Indian languages or it is the same as in English.
Binod Ringania
India

[Edited at 2009-08-29 12:14 GMT]


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Albert Golub  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:16
English to French
here's the rule for French Aug 29, 2009

French has two different words for you: tu and vous. In English, the second person subject pronoun is always you, no matter how many people you're talking to, and whether you know them or not. In French, these distinctions are very important - you must understand when and why to use each of them. Otherwise, you may inadvertantly insult someone by using the wrong you.

Tu is the familiar you, which demonstrates a certain closeness and informality. Use tu when speaking to one
friend
peer / colleague
relative
child
pet
Vous is the formal and plural you. It is used to show respect or maintain a certain distance or formality with someone. Use vous when speaking to
someone you don't know well
an older person
an authority figure
anyone to whom you wish to show respect
Vous is also the plural you - you have to use it when talking to more than one person, no matter how close you are.

same system for Spanish
First, here is a chart showing the various ways of saying "you" as the subject of a sentence:

Singular informal: tú
Singular formal: usted

and Russian
informal ti
formal voui


[Edited at 2009-08-29 12:59 GMT]

and Italian
informal tu
formal lei

[Edited at 2009-08-29 13:01 GMT]


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Binod Ringania  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:46
Member (2009)
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 29, 2009

Thanks to you (vous!) Albert.

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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:16
Russian to English
+ ...
A personal cross-cultural anecdote Aug 29, 2009

In the early 1960s I was a US soldier stationed in Germany. Once while on a field exercise a young boy -- if memory serves, he was about 12 -- climbed into my truck, and we started a conversation. In those days it was still common for German children to ask GIs for chewing gum. Seeing him as a child, I addressed him using the familiar "du." He got very insulted, instructed me that I should use the formal "Sie" with him, and said very firmly, "Ich bin schon ein Mann!"

[Edited at 2009-08-29 18:13 GMT]


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:16
Spanish to English
My two bits Aug 30, 2009

Spanish also has a distinction because formal or respectful and informal or affectionate.

And as anyone familiar with the King James Bible can attest, English used to have two different forms too, having "You" as the respectful/formal style of address and "thou" as the affectionate form of address.


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Binod Ringania  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:46
Member (2009)
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 31, 2009

Thanks, Lesley. Could you cite any example when somebody subtitling foreign movies through English did awkward mistakes.

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Anodien
Local time: 07:16
German to English
+ ...
My experiences Sep 9, 2009

In German we also have a distinction (as already mentioned), i.e. "Sie" as the formal one and "du" the informal one.

"Sie" is used for example when addressing:
- adults you don't know or don't know well
- often at work with colleagues unless both agree to say "du"
- to persons of respect (e.g. supervisors but also to teachers)
- in business issues
- to older persons …

In general the "Sie" is used with all (adult) persons you are not familiar with or that have not offered you the "du". Also children use it when addressing to adults, who are no family members or did not allow them to use the "du". As from a certain age the teacher asks in class, whether he or she may continue to say "du" to the students. If they refuse, the teacher afterwards addresses them with "Sie". I think that happens at the age of 13 or 14 or at least was so when I was at school.

"Du" is used amongst friends, when speaking to children, within the family and with relatives or if an adult has offered the "du" and both agreed to use it. In some companies all colleagues say "du" to each other but that strongly depends on the company and the sector and is then often a corporate policy.

I for my part expect the "Sie" in daily life from everyone being not part of this group and would find it strongly insulting if someone would say "Du", e.g. in a shop or a restaurant.

Saying "Du" to someone of the "Sie" group is often considered as rude, insulting and even provoking (and often also meant so, in particular when coming from teenagers towards adults they don't know), except this happens with small children that do not know this distinction. In the latter case the adult would explain to the child that he or she should say "Sie" instead.

The same way it is rude to address a teen you don't know and who seems old enough with "Du", although this is often made by older people and sometimes by adults in general (conscious or not) what may lead to a reaction as described above as it shows a certain disrespect for the counterparty.


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Binod Ringania  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:46
Member (2009)
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 9, 2009

Thanks, Anodien

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Anodien
Local time: 07:16
German to English
+ ...
In this context… Sep 10, 2009

I have just found today an article on the Stern website (German magazine), speaking about a case in Berlin, where a police officer was sentenced to pay a libel damage of EUR 150,00 after having said "Schieb deinen Arsch raus! Hau ab!" (Move your ass out of here! Buzz off!) to an older man, who was alone on a playground and suspected to be a child abuser (he was not).

The judge declared that the first sentence is already a calculated insult not because of the word "ass" that is just an unpleasant word, but because the police officer addressed the man with the unfamiliar "Du". This is considered to be an insult.


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