Topfschlagen

English translation: pin the tail on the donkey

14:32 Jan 2, 2007
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / teenage novel
German term or phrase: Topfschlagen
I know what the term means but I don't know whether there's an English equivalent. I was thinking about using "hunt the thimble" as an also slightly old-fashioned alternative. Is this played in Germany too?

"Wir können ja noch was mit ihm spielen", schlug Tibor vor, und ihm fiel Blindekuh oder Topfschlagen ein, und Mara meinte, dass man so was vor fünfzig Jahren gespielt hatte, und da kam schon Dennis' Mutter."
Rachel Ward
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:02
English translation:pin the tail on the donkey
Explanation:
Kim is definitely right if you want a direct translation.

A potential "equivalent" would be "pin the tail on the donkey", which would only be possible if the game is not relevant to the larger story and if you are looking to anglicize it.

I imagine the remark about such games being old-fashioned has more to do with the fact that German children no longer play the games we used play in our childhood.
Selected response from:

Henry Schroeder
United States
Local time: 20:02
Grading comment
Yes, this is played in the UK. The fact that it's played blindfold gives it the edge and I think it could get pretty noisy!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
2 +4pin the tail on the donkey
Henry Schroeder
4 +1hunt the thimble
Alison Schwitzgebel
3hit the pot
Kim Metzger


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
hit the pot


Explanation:
'Topfschlagen' (Hit the Pot)
In Germany, small children play a game called Topfschlagen (Hit the Pot). It is a lot of fun. One person is it and has to close his eyes. Somebody else puts a little present under the pot and hides it somewhere in the room.
The person who is it has to take a cooking spoon, get on the floor and look for the pot. He has to keep banging the cooking spoon on the floor. When he finds the pot, he can take the present, and someone else is it.

http://www.topics-mag.com/edition11/games-toddlers.htm


Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 19:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 213

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  jccantrell: The closest equivalent I could think of for Southern Cal would be a 'Pin~ata' but whether that would be understood by people in Austrailia or Canada is questionable. I do not think "Hit the Pot" would be understood at all without explanation.
31 mins
  -> Yes, it wouldn't work if Rachel prefers to use an equivalent, but surely the reader will know the novel is about German kids and the next sentence makes it clear that it's an old fashioned game.

neutral  Steven Sidore: with JC, accurate but doesn't convey any real meaning or nuance
36 mins
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +4
pin the tail on the donkey


Explanation:
Kim is definitely right if you want a direct translation.

A potential "equivalent" would be "pin the tail on the donkey", which would only be possible if the game is not relevant to the larger story and if you are looking to anglicize it.

I imagine the remark about such games being old-fashioned has more to do with the fact that German children no longer play the games we used play in our childhood.

Henry Schroeder
United States
Local time: 20:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 88
1 corroborated select project
in this pair and field What is ProZ.com Project History(SM)?
Grading comment
Yes, this is played in the UK. The fact that it's played blindfold gives it the edge and I think it could get pretty noisy!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jccantrell: Would go with this if target audience is USA (maybe ever farther afield).
26 mins

agree  Paul Cohen: What a blast from the past, Henry. I haven't played pin the tail on the donkey in years. A very popular game where I grew up in southern California. Would UK readers understand it, Rachel?
40 mins
  -> Yeah, it was popular in New York, too, but I don't have any idea what the situation is in the UK, let alone Australia and Canada. It made me laugh, too, Paul, a ridiculous game, take care!

agree  sappho: An appropriate equivalent. I played it as a child in the UK, both games are old-fashioned and involve being blindfolded. Henry, believe me, children are still playing 'Topfschlagen' in Berlin
44 mins
  -> Ok, sappho, personally I don't have any idea what's going on in Germany, but the mother of my lover says the children nowadays don't want to play these kinds of games.

agree  Annette Urbschat: This game is definitely played in Canada, mostly at birthday parties, as is 'Topfschlagen' as I remember.
4 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
hunt the thimble


Explanation:
Is the closest I can come up with (as also suggested above). It's certainly still played in our village!

One child is blindfolded and has to crawl round the room on hands and knees banging with a wooden spoon. The other children shout directions. When they hit the top with the spoon, the win and get whatever small prize is under the pot.

I don't think that "pin the tail on the donkey" quite entails the same noise level (children screaming and wooden spoon banging) and I think Kim's suggestion - although highly accurate - is a bit too literal for this translation of a novel.

FWIW

Alison

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Note added at 1 hr (2007-01-02 15:47:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

"Hunt the thimble" per se is unknown here (in the Middle Rhine Valley).

Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 02:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alan Parsons: I prefer this rather than 'donkey' as the sentence flows a bit better then
19 hrs
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