náměstíčko jako dlaň

English translation: pocket-sized square

11:43 Nov 1, 2009
Czech to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Tourism & Travel
Czech term or phrase: náměstíčko jako dlaň
Dear fellow translators,

I am currently translating a Czech tourism text that is highly poetical and abounds with metaphorical expressions. There is one, in particular, that I find rather challenging to translate into English: "náměstíčko jako dlaň". The wider context of the expression regards a description of a tourist site, a Jewish quarter to be more specific.
I would be very greateful for any suggestions on this matter.

Thank you!
With my best wishes,

Myska
myska
Local time: 21:41
English translation:pocket-sized square
Explanation:
Depending how poetic you want to be...

Compare, for example, "pocket-sized village", "pocket-sized village green" etc., where the idea is often "small and picturesque" - a "little jewel", if you like.

... a pocket-handkerchief (of a) square, perhaps, but "pocket-handkerchief" is often used with reference to gardens, plots of land etc., in the sense of "excessively small".

The Poldauf dictionary gives "microscopic, the size of a postage stamp" for "jako dlaň", but I think that's overstating it.

I'm sure there are plenty of other pcituresque words and expressions, for instance "lilliputian" - it depends very much on the style of the surrounding text.



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Note added at 23 hrs (2009-11-02 11:21:28 GMT)
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Well, briefly: before Fronek, there was Poldauf. It was the most comprehensive CS-EN dictionary available when I started learning Czech. I have the 1996 edition (apparently an electronic version was forthcoming at the time). It isn't the easiest dictionary to use - it isn't as clearly set out as Fronek - but it's sometimes useful for out-of-the way or outdated words. I'm not aware of an online version.
Thank you for your comments.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 days23 hrs (2009-11-04 10:50:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

If you grew up with those two languages, you're lucky! My contact with them began later, but once I was drawn in, I found them fascinating.
Selected response from:

Dylan Edwards
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Grading comment
I'd like to thank you all for your suggestions and support. As you all know, translation is a highly subjective matter and thus my choice only represents my own preference in a given context.
Thank you, Dylan, for your translation. It proved to be of a great help and one that liked most.
My best wishes,
Myska
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +2quaint little square
Scott Evan Andrews
4 +1a square so small you could hold it in the palm of your hand
Ivan Pavlicek
3 +2pocket-sized square
Dylan Edwards
3tiny, palm-size square
Rad Graban
3postage-stamp size square
Maria Chmelarova
3tiny little square
Michal Zugec
3cosy little square
Sarka Lhotak
3teensy square
Ivan Šimerka


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a square so small you could hold it in the palm of your hand


Explanation:
Well, I'm not a poet but this would be my go...

Ivan Pavlicek
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SlovakSlovak

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  S P Willcock (X): This is the best suggestion so far, I feel - it's a lot longer than the source phrase but without knowing how you need to fit it into a sentence structure, i can't t hink of anything better.
8 hrs
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
tiny little square


Explanation:
-:) Ak sa nenajde nic lepsie

Michal Zugec
Slovakia
Local time: 22:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Slovak
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
cosy little square


Explanation:
Another option

Sarka Lhotak
Canada
Local time: 13:41
Native speaker of: Native in CzechCzech, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
postage-stamp size square


Explanation:
Prof. I. Poldauf - slovnik - "velmi maly jako dlan" - microscopic, the size of postage-stamp

from intr: " the fact that the house has a postage-stamp size yard " ; (The Seattle Times Company- Real Estate)

dalsi moznost


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2009-11-01 15:12:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

postage-stamp-size, zistujem ze sa vyskytuje castejsie ako sa
zda na prvy pohlad
- "postage stamp-size room, felt like a college dorm" (Portland Square Hotel, N.Y.)
- "The postage stamp size cafe boasts" Cityguide.aol.com (los Angeles)
- " to live peacefully in the postage stamp-size apartment, " www.dwell.com
- " in Hawaii, where everybody is living in a postage-stamp-size house, " archives.starbulletin.com
- " and sometimes even postage-stamp-size backyards" www.boston.com
www.heraldnews.com

Maria Chmelarova
Local time: 16:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Slovak
PRO pts in category: 4
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
teensy square


Explanation:
...

Ivan Šimerka
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:41
Native speaker of: Native in CzechCzech
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
tiny, palm-size square


Explanation:
Another option.

Rad Graban
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Native speaker of: Native in SlovakSlovak
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1 day 45 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
quaint little square


Explanation:
no need for verbatim or body part equivalents, but brevity is necessary... it is always an uphill battle because English naturally "writes" longer than Czech... The meaning is that it is something...cosy, like Sarka said, or quaint...A perfect example would be Stramberk's square.


    Reference: http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/18888816.jpg
Scott Evan Andrews
United States
Local time: 22:41
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sarka Lhotak: I like "quaint". It is perfect in this context.
10 hrs

agree  Gerry Vickers: HOWEVER, some people (esp. in UK) see this as being a bit old-fashioned or backward - but that is their problem - quaint is good and is the one I would select.
2 days 1 hr
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
pocket-sized square


Explanation:
Depending how poetic you want to be...

Compare, for example, "pocket-sized village", "pocket-sized village green" etc., where the idea is often "small and picturesque" - a "little jewel", if you like.

... a pocket-handkerchief (of a) square, perhaps, but "pocket-handkerchief" is often used with reference to gardens, plots of land etc., in the sense of "excessively small".

The Poldauf dictionary gives "microscopic, the size of a postage stamp" for "jako dlaň", but I think that's overstating it.

I'm sure there are plenty of other pcituresque words and expressions, for instance "lilliputian" - it depends very much on the style of the surrounding text.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 hrs (2009-11-02 11:21:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Well, briefly: before Fronek, there was Poldauf. It was the most comprehensive CS-EN dictionary available when I started learning Czech. I have the 1996 edition (apparently an electronic version was forthcoming at the time). It isn't the easiest dictionary to use - it isn't as clearly set out as Fronek - but it's sometimes useful for out-of-the way or outdated words. I'm not aware of an online version.
Thank you for your comments.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 days23 hrs (2009-11-04 10:50:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

If you grew up with those two languages, you're lucky! My contact with them began later, but once I was drawn in, I found them fascinating.

Dylan Edwards
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
I'd like to thank you all for your suggestions and support. As you all know, translation is a highly subjective matter and thus my choice only represents my own preference in a given context.
Thank you, Dylan, for your translation. It proved to be of a great help and one that liked most.
My best wishes,
Myska
Notes to answerer
Asker: Dear Dylan, thank you so much for your suggestions. I very much like your 'pocket-size' alternative. The Czech expression "jako dlaň" suggests smallness. It is used with abundancy in the Czech language. It appears in a source text that is highly poetical. The author is very expressive and uses meny metaphorical expresions and idioms. The excerpt is taken from a passage that talks about a Jewish Quarter, describing its cosy alleys, small houses etc. and that is where the 'pocket-sized square' appears. Can I ask, what is this Poldauf dictionary that you mention as having the English translation for the Czech expression 'jako dlaň'? Is it online based? I have supposedly the largest Czech-English dictionary compiled by Fronek however, no translation of this expression can be found there. I am always on the lookout for new resources that I could use in my translation :o). I am a beginning translator currently studying MA in Translation at the University of Bristol. I am fascinated by the fact that you translate from Czech and Greek. Both of these are languages very close to my heart (Czech is my native language and Greek is my second language). Moreover they represent two of the most difficult langauges around. May I ask why have you chosen these two as your source language? Thank you so much for your help!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Charles Stanford
10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Charles!

agree  Ivan Pavlicek: Yes, very nice options. I'd go for "a little jewel of a square" too, making it even more poetic :-)
3 days 21 hrs
  -> Thank you
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