10 June 2010

Suspicious Translations

One of the joys of living in another country is seeing how people translate their language into yours. In Paris, approximate English is something of a local sport. Something great is "top"; someone who goes on and on about themselves "raconte sa life"; when a French person says his "planning" is full, he means his schedule, and if you are pretending to be offended by something you might say "I am shocking!" (I've tried pointing that this has the opposite of the desired meaning but no one seems to care.)

Of course there are these sorts of abuses of the French language in English too. "A la mode" certainly doesn't mean with ice cream, au naturel has nothing to do with being naked, an entrée is an appetizer, and a début (as in first performance) in French is actually called a première.


My favorite though is the ways menus and signs are translated, like this gem I found near metro Rome in the 17th arrondisment. Oh good, alcool (a cool dude named Al?) and stranger wine. I usually buy the kind of wine I share with friends, of course, but you never know when you might need some to give to a stranger. Problem solved!

11 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Hilarious! Here people do the same with English (it's called Frenglish/franglais)...

Cheers,

Rosa

Olivier SC said...

Realy great ! As you said : too much (?) !!!

Hopie said...

Rosa - I've always heard it called "franglais" but "frenglish" is pretty good too! Have a good weekend!

Olivier - Ah "too much" is a good example, une traduction directe de "c'est trop", mais qu'on ne dirait pas en anglais ! Je vois que tu es adepte du franglais déjà :-)

Elettrix said...

Really funny this post! Unbelievable :P

Julie said...

Hi! I've had a long week at work and your post gave me much needed comic relief! Thanks!

Hope all is well in your world.

Mes elféebulations said...

Et en anglais ne dirait-on pas "fruit and vegetables" or I'm wrong ? lol
Bonne journée elfique

Hopie said...

Elettrix - Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming by!

Julie - Happy to help :-) I hope you have a good relaxing weekend!

Mes Elféebulations - hihi, effectivement. En fait, cela me fait penser que le mot "legume" existe en anglais, mais cela correspond plus à féculants en français (des haricots, etc.). Encore une example ! Il y a en a tellement !

Ivy said...

Hilarious. You shouls see the Greeklish :)

Hopie said...

Ivy - You should post about it!

croquecamille said...

Stranger wine. That's great. Ypu forgot to tell about the lawyer salad, though... ;)

Hopie said...

Camille - Lawyer salad! But of course! How silly of me. That's such a good one.