Tuesday, February 4, 2014

lost in translation

“The particular problem between French and English derives from the meager quantity of insults in French and the abundance of them in English,”

Take that at face value, eh.

Shout out to tywkiwdbi for the heads up on this, who shouted out Harper's for the original article.

Hennyway, translation in question stems from an exchange between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a French dude. When Sarkozy reached out to shake the man's hand, the man replied, “Casse-toi alors, pauvre con! ”

After some debate and a bunch of boring text about how that translates into English, "Fuck off (or get lost) asshole/dumbass" was kinda decided on.

What I found interesting was, as a typical American-centric asshole, the different subtleties of a phrase, sentence, word that go into translating from one language to another. Something as seemingly simple and black and white as "I crapped on your face" may mean something totally different across the globe. And in Japan, I'm sure it can have hundreds of varied sexualized meanings, and that comes mainly from my experiences streaming porn.

We've probably all taken foreign language classes and it seems we get caught up in learning the foreign equivalent of an exact word or sentiment. I know I have. Yeah, there's usually a direct equivalent for most nouns, and many verbs, but often times we fail to think about the context. A different language is essentially a diff'rent way of thinking.

Anyway, the hyperlinked articles above present those intricacies in an interesting way.

The takeaway here is that America didn't invent thinking, English, language, or communication, but I'm cool with giving us credit for inventing cats.

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