Not… until just now

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"Frazz", Sept. 4, 2013:

"Not… until just now" in the second panel here poses the same type of tense / aspect challenge to English –> Mandarin translators as "It wasn't" in the "Zits" cartoon discussed in "'It wasn't' in English and Chinese".

But this one is a little bit more complicated because the question is in present tense, whereas the answer is in an implied past tense: "Not" < "did not" < "didn't" < "it didn't".

[Thanks to John Rohsenow]

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8 Comments »

  1. Robert Coren said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 10:24 am

    Meanwhile, I liked the fact that Mallett didn't feel it necessary to tell his readers who Max Scherzer is, and i was especially amused because this strip appeared the day after I had been to a game in which the Red Sox defeated Scherzer in a tight pitchers' duel.

  2. MaryKaye said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    I can vouch for the fact that the strip works if you have no clue who Max Scherzer is; all you need to be able to do is deduce that "throw sliders" is some kind of baseball pitch, and then guess that Scherzer is some kind of famous pitcher. (But I did hesitate over "throw sliders" –> "serve small hamburgers" first.)

  3. Nuno said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    I suggest "不…本来不" as a translation.
    Another sentence that might be interesting to translate into Chinese is James Joyce's “Love loves to love love”.

  4. Faldone said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    It certainly works if you know baseball enough to know what a slider is even if you were not previously familiar with Max Scherzer. I had no thought of small hamburgers.

  5. Jamie said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

    It works even if you don't know what baseball or a Scherzer is. You can quickly deduce that Scherzer is someone primarily renowned for his "sliders" (whatever they are; I assumed it was probably a sporting reference).

  6. Denny said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    I just discussed it with a couple of Chinese friends, and they suggested:

    你这么一问,我就痒了
    (you-like this-ask, I-then-get itchy)
    "It's itching now that you've asked"

    Staying a little closer to the English, how about:

    "现在才…"
    (Now-only…)
    "It's only now (starting to itch)"

  7. JS said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

    ^ So at this point I'm no longer sure I know what it means for such a joke/remark to "work."

  8. JS said,

    September 5, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

    it seems that to preserve any semblance of the joke you need some unnatural inversion like "不痒… 本来…"

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