Archive for Found in translation

Illustrated translations of the untranslatable

"Beautiful Illustrations of Words with No English Equivalent",Twisted Sifter 5/16/2015.

As usual, many of the translations seem to be somewhat more specifically evocative than the words they translate.

Thus Spanish duende is rendered as "The mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person", whereas the WordReference dictionary gives simply "spirit, magical creature; elf, imp, goblin; magic, charm", and the Collins dictionary gives "goblin, elf; imp; magic; gremlin".

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Forbidden Lawn

This afternoon at the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is around the corner from where I'm living for the next couple of months:

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Scoop the poop

Photograph of a sign in Taipei, Taiwan sent in by Chuck Cook:

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Smartisan T1

Video for a new Chinese electronic watch, submitted by Stephen Hart:

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New, blue, not tea

A few days ago, next to a Salon de Thé in Bercy Village in Paris, I saw out of the corner of my eye a large poster showing a seriously blue young man labelled as "THE AVENER".

My first thought was, hmm,  interesting that French yuppies are so seriously into the personification of tea. But then I read the notice in the lower left-hand corner: a new album is available under the name "THE WANDERINGS OF THE AVENER".

I quickly figured out that this is not a new tea promotion, it's a French musician, originally Tristan Casara from Nice, who's adopted an English name for himself and for his first album, which his web site describes as "a sophisticated electro manifesto in the spirit of St Germain and his Boulevard’s nu-jazz sampling, reconciling the styles of Moby and Wankelmut, King Britt and Cassius…"

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Colorado cuisine inspiration

I'm in Paris for a few days, and walking a few hundred meters to dinner with friends last night I happened to pass a couple of indications of the influence of American culture on vernacular food in France. One was a small sandwich shop offering "hod dogs", and another was this illuminated sign on the side of a bus-stop shelter:

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Look correct

From reddit, a road sign in Leopardstown that translates English "Look right" to something like Irish "Look at correct":

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Expendables 3: World Series

There are some intriguing features about this Japanese poster for Expendables 3:

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All work and no play

Richard W sent in this photograph of the packaging for a keyboard / case that he recently bought to go with his iPad:

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Triumph of bilingual labelling

[h/t Jonathan Lundell]

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You extraterrestrial tease, you

From Tal Linzen — Google Translate renders Hebrew "Please return to me" as "Please me like an alien creature":


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Oh my melon!

Bryan Van Norden is a Visiting Professor at Wuhan University this semester, and he ran across an interesting bit of language play. Below is a still (taken with his cell phone) of a television commercial currently running in the PRC. It is for a watermelon juice drink. As you can see, the tag line is a bilingual pun, substituting guā 瓜 ("melon") for "God."

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