Holy Mother

English translation: Holy Mother of God (and sweet Jesus Christ)! / ¡Virgen Santa! - Hail Mary! - Good God!

15:19 Aug 4, 2018
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
English term or phrase: Holy Mother
Author uses 'Holy Mother' (santa madre) as a verbal outburst by a harried and frightened submarine captain. Wouldn't 'Mother of God' (madre de Dios) be more appropriate, or can someone suggest something better?
Albion Land
Spain
Local time: 10:01
English translation:Holy Mother of God (and sweet Jesus Christ)! / ¡Virgen Santa! - Hail Mary! - Good God!
Explanation:
Santa Madonna!

I love the expression "¡Madre del amor hermoso!", mentioned my Charles. My Mom used to say it to.

And of course "Mare de Deu de Montserrat!" (la Moreneta).

¡Madre del Divino Verbo! was another one...

If the novel has to have the Argentinean flavour, then, leaving the expression in Spanish-Argentinean, might be in order.

Short of that, one could also use some of the Captain Haddock's

http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/lists/curses.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Haddock

I love, "Blistering Barnacles!" but that probably would not cut it here.

Probably "¡Santa María!" o "¡María Santísima!" could be options.

"¡Virgen Santa!" is used in Argentina.

Example (from CREA)

HERMANA. Mi marido me dejó, María.

MARIA. [***]¡Virgen Santa! [***] ¿Y por qué?

HERMANA. Por verguenza, sabés. Hacía meses que no conseguía una changa.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

AÑO: 1983
AUTOR: Daneri, Alberto
TÍTULO: La cita
PAÍS: ARGENTINA
TEMA: 07.Teatro
PUBLICACIÓN: Santana (Buenos Aires), 1983


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Note added at 14 hrs (2018-08-05 06:19:08 GMT)
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By the by, "Madonna mia!" could be a good option (given the Italian influence in Argentinean), and it has already being in use in English.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/madonna_mia

Good luck!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day 11 hrs (2018-08-06 02:51:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Albion, for the feedback. It is always good to have as much input and context to be able to give the best answer we can suggest.

Checking further,
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Holy Mother of God

As you note, the cadence by adding "... of God", improves the flow, although, in the middle of the situation that skipper might not particularly be careful with his alliterations and rhythms! ;-)

It is always a pleasure to contribute to these literary questions...

I thought of "Holy Mackerel!" as another option, but if you are happy with "the Holy Mother of God"... "¡Alabado sea Dios!" (God be praised! ;-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 days 3 hrs (2018-08-06 19:14:25 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I was just listening to an audio English novel, with the action happening in Spain, and some of the dialogue is in original Spanish (even if with a parenthetical translation).

So, in case this is something like "la puta que los parió: ¿por qué tardan tanto?". That expresión "la puta que los parió", can be found in CREA, if you select only Argentina.

Leaving the "original" expression could be a good option in my view. (Even with a parenthetical humorous explanation: "expletives we dare not to translate" or some such.

The other thing, is if the action is in the nineteen century or so... Then it could be different...

Anyhow... (a bit more of contextual data always helps to help... ;-)
Selected response from:

JohnMcDove
United States
Local time: 01:01
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 -1Holy shit!
Monica Colangelo
4Holy Mother/Mother of God
Terence Jeal
4Good Heavens/Lord/God
Posted via ProZ.com Mobile
Juan (JP) Campaya
3Holy Mother of God (and sweet Jesus Christ)! / ¡Virgen Santa! - Hail Mary! - Good God!
JohnMcDove


Discussion entries: 27





  

Answers


19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Good Heavens/Lord/God


Explanation:
What about these alternativities? It actually depends on the captain's tone but if he/she doesn't frequently use bad words, they may be a good choice.

Juan (JP) Campaya
Argentina
Local time: 05:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Gracias, Juan. See my response to Terence.

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43 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Holy Mother/Mother of God


Explanation:
It depends on the sub captain's nationality and religious beliefs and has much to do with the way the character has been developed by the author, and the type of event that is provoking the verbal outburst.
Perhaps an Irish Catholic would say "Holy Mother", while an Argentine Catholic might say "Mother of God", but for authenticity, they would both probably need to be Catholic.
"Good heavens/Good Lord/Good God" - the captain would probably need to be British. :)
"¡Hostias!" if he's Spanish.
"WTF" for everybody else. :D

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 55 mins (2018-08-04 16:15:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

+ My God!
+ Sweet Jesus!
+ Jesus Christ!
...and so on.
If the book is well-written, the character himself will tell you what he would say.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2018-08-04 16:29:04 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Looking back, I'm trying to decide if you are translating the book or editing it, and in which language.

Terence Jeal
Spain
Local time: 10:01
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: The captain is Argentine and, as an old salt in fear of his life, is likely to use the saltiest language here. Unfortunately I know nothing more about him, as the officer has given no details.

Asker: I am editing a book written in English, by a Welshman who doesn't know Spanish and probably picked up his 'Holy Mother' in a Dublin bar. :>)

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1 day 16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
holy mother
Holy shit!


Explanation:
I've just read it was uttered by an Argentinean captain. Believe me, he meant "holy shit" and it's not related to the Virgin, of course.

Monica Colangelo
Argentina
Local time: 05:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  JohnMcDove: Okay, but what would that be in Spanish? /./ You're most likely right, but I fail to see how "Holy shit!" would fit on something like ‘What in the name of ___ is taking them so long?’ I would go for ‘What the DEVIL...?’ Or some such, rather.
9 hrs
  -> He doesn't need a Spanish equivalent, John.

disagree  Oliveira Simões: No way. Huge register mismatch. The original expression is not profane.
3 days 2 hrs
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14 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Holy Mother of God (and sweet Jesus Christ)! / ¡Virgen Santa! - Hail Mary! - Good God!


Explanation:
Santa Madonna!

I love the expression "¡Madre del amor hermoso!", mentioned my Charles. My Mom used to say it to.

And of course "Mare de Deu de Montserrat!" (la Moreneta).

¡Madre del Divino Verbo! was another one...

If the novel has to have the Argentinean flavour, then, leaving the expression in Spanish-Argentinean, might be in order.

Short of that, one could also use some of the Captain Haddock's

http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/lists/curses.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Haddock

I love, "Blistering Barnacles!" but that probably would not cut it here.

Probably "¡Santa María!" o "¡María Santísima!" could be options.

"¡Virgen Santa!" is used in Argentina.

Example (from CREA)

HERMANA. Mi marido me dejó, María.

MARIA. [***]¡Virgen Santa! [***] ¿Y por qué?

HERMANA. Por verguenza, sabés. Hacía meses que no conseguía una changa.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

AÑO: 1983
AUTOR: Daneri, Alberto
TÍTULO: La cita
PAÍS: ARGENTINA
TEMA: 07.Teatro
PUBLICACIÓN: Santana (Buenos Aires), 1983


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs (2018-08-05 06:19:08 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

By the by, "Madonna mia!" could be a good option (given the Italian influence in Argentinean), and it has already being in use in English.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/madonna_mia

Good luck!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day 11 hrs (2018-08-06 02:51:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Albion, for the feedback. It is always good to have as much input and context to be able to give the best answer we can suggest.

Checking further,
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Holy Mother of God

As you note, the cadence by adding "... of God", improves the flow, although, in the middle of the situation that skipper might not particularly be careful with his alliterations and rhythms! ;-)

It is always a pleasure to contribute to these literary questions...

I thought of "Holy Mackerel!" as another option, but if you are happy with "the Holy Mother of God"... "¡Alabado sea Dios!" (God be praised! ;-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 days 3 hrs (2018-08-06 19:14:25 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I was just listening to an audio English novel, with the action happening in Spain, and some of the dialogue is in original Spanish (even if with a parenthetical translation).

So, in case this is something like "la puta que los parió: ¿por qué tardan tanto?". That expresión "la puta que los parió", can be found in CREA, if you select only Argentina.

Leaving the "original" expression could be a good option in my view. (Even with a parenthetical humorous explanation: "expletives we dare not to translate" or some such.

The other thing, is if the action is in the nineteen century or so... Then it could be different...

Anyhow... (a bit more of contextual data always helps to help... ;-)

JohnMcDove
United States
Local time: 01:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 8
Notes to answerer
Asker: John, this is the first time I have asked rather than answered a question on Kudoz, and all of you have made it a delightful experience. I think you and Terence haved nailed it with your (Holy) Mother of God. Just to expand on what I said earlier, we have an Argentine submarine skipper in the middle of war terrified that a helicopter gunship is about to sink him while he's still in port and is frantically waiting for the engine to be fixed so that he can try to make a run for it. The actual sentence, which he shouts in exasperation and fear, is: ‘What in the name of the Holy Mother is taking them so long?’ I like the cadence we get by adding '... of God'.

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