Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Extremely useful information

I'm always a little irritated when people try to translate untranslatable proverbs and the like into another language, word-for-word. Way too awkward. "Neither fish nor meat." What? Probably the best approach is to say "There is a Russian (French, etc.) proverb meaning ......" That gets rather long-winded, though.

Perhaps there's a reason why the people from the translation agency never called me back about the job!

In the meantime, I'm going to break my own rule and translate a Russian proverb, just for fun.

"Назвался груздем-полезай в кузов."

Since you've called yourself a (particular kind of) mushroom, now climb into the basket.

See what I mean about awkward? The meaning relates to putting your words into action.

Such are my deep thoughts for the day.


  1. Мне кажется, что нужно подыскивать похожие пословицы в языке, на который осуществляется перевод. Хотя, может оказаться, что их там не придумали :)

  2. Похожие пословицы можно предлагать, и отмечать, что перевод не совсем дословный. Если нет аналога, можно просто объяснить другими словами, но опять же- недословно будет.

  3. Now, I think the fun thing would be to use that in my daily speech, and keeping a straight face watch others' reactions!

    Oh, dear! I'm in that mood today....

  4. Ha ha! Annie, I would love to see you tell someone to "get in the basket!" :) There are a lot of Russian proverbs like that, which is why I think it is so absurd when they are translated word for word as if they will make sense in another language! And I'm sure our proverbs wouldn't translate very well, either. Although, of course, there is overlap, especially if they are from the Bible.


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