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To ask about how possibly rude words in one language or translated into others?

(39 Posts)
hellokittymania Sat 04-Nov-17 20:08:45

I am learning Greek, and for example in Malaysia that you have the streets of Malacca, but in Greek, Malacca is an asshole. So I was trying to find how the streets of Malacca would be translated into Greek

I know that Spanish coger isn't used for books sold in Argentina if the actual meaning of the word is to take. I'm just wondering from all the linguists out there how things are done.

I never even thought about this before, but even with English words like fag in the UK. I don't think I've ever read it in a book, but would it have a footnote for American readers?

And I'm visually impaired and use dictation, I know that the Greek word Malacca is written with a K, so different spelling, but I'm just wondering.

hellokittymania Sat 04-Nov-17 20:10:27

Sorry, the straits

RicottaPancakes Sat 04-Nov-17 20:12:04

Sometimes you just have to use an equivalent. It's the same with sayings and expressions :-)

Liara Sat 04-Nov-17 20:13:08

You just use them. The argentina example is different, as it is spanish in both cases, just that in the local argentine dialect some words are used differently.

Liara Sat 04-Nov-17 20:13:54

Obviously if you have a handy equivalent you use that instead, but you wouldn't change a place name!

hellokittymania Sat 04-Nov-17 20:14:58

But if it's an actual place name? Or an actual name that could be offensive in another language? I remember reading the gossip girl books in French and Blair was Isabel in French.

I've been looking around trying to find the Malacca straits in Greek, but I can't find it anywhere.

Sometimes, speaking several languages can be quite fun. Ha ha ha

elQuintoConyo Sat 04-Nov-17 20:15:28

'Tens foc' in Catalan means 'have you got a light' (literally: have you got fire). Sounds like tense fuck grin i used to enjoy saying it to fit blokes when i was free and single and smoked.

Is this the kind of thing you mean op?

hellokittymania Sat 04-Nov-17 20:16:28

Leora, thank you, you answered before I had a chance to post. It really had me thinking.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 04-Nov-17 20:22:20

You'd just refer to it as Streets of Malacca in Greek. It wouldn't change because that's its recognised name.

Argentina has a very broad linguistic palate made up from Spanish origin, Arabic origin, Quechan (Incan) and German (to name but a few)and as such has a varied lexicon.
It's not unusual for words from one language to be similar phonetically to a word from another language. Most countries have cases of this.

If 'Fag' was written in a UK book it wouldn't be footnoted. In an American edition of the same book it would likely be edited out and another suitable word meaning the same would replace it unless it was integral the plot.

malika54 Sat 04-Nov-17 20:22:50

I'm French. The word for seal in French is phoque, and I remember when taking my son to the natural history museum and telling him the word when he was little was met by some shocked looks before they worked out I was foreign grin

allegretto Sat 04-Nov-17 20:30:30

Really there is no one single answer. Sometimes when British books are published in the US, changes are made to make them more understandable for the market e.g. Harry Potter and the Philospher's/Sorcerer's Stone. Sometimes the original might seem more attractive. As regards place names, they change too - both in the original and in the translation. And trends are always changing, so now there is more of a trend to keeping the original language place name whereas in the 19th century, foreign place names were often anglicized e.g. Livorno in Italy was referred to as Leghorn.

Longdistance Sat 04-Nov-17 20:30:52

Sajt means cheese in Hungarian, and is pronounced as shite.

allegretto Sat 04-Nov-17 20:33:25

To answer your question though - Malacca is the same in Greek as you can see from the wikipedia page!

hellokittymania Sat 04-Nov-17 20:45:53

OK thank you, and Malika, my mother is friends and I remember laughing over phoque as well. Are used to cry when she spoke French when I was little so I only learned it when I was in high school I think, but I really did laugh.

LinoleumBlownapart Sun 05-Nov-17 07:43:38

Phoque is foca in Spanish and Portuguese, we lived in Chile and Brazil and I don't remember where but I remember one of my children saying the teacher told a disruptive class that were clapping to stop behaving like focas.
Fome is hungry in Portuguese but fome in Chilean Spanish means boring, rude or unpleasant. That could result in an interesting misunderstanding grin. I know with Brazilian and Portuguese books the translations are altered, so cu for example in Brazil means asehole and is very rude, but in Portugal it just means bum.

toomuchtooold Sun 05-Nov-17 08:07:09

German's great for these. There's an area in Bern called Wankdorf, but it doesn't have a "cleaned up" translation in English.

There's also a furniture shop near us here owned by a guy called Willy Dick. There's a man who was completely unfazed by the implications of Brexit for his business expansion plans...

tiredbutFINE Sun 05-Nov-17 08:20:00

Malaka is used differently throughout even Greece and Cyprus, in some places it’s hardly worse than saying idiot and others it’s more like saying wanker and fairly offensive. Also it depends on how it’s delivered.
Although I find, like in English, if one word sounds like something else in a different language people tend to just whisper/giggle and find it amusing.

LinoleumBlownapart Sun 05-Nov-17 08:33:51

toomuchtooold as places in the UK like Scratchy Bottom, Ugley, Shitterton and Twatt don't have cleaned up versions, it's only fair they don't change their name either grin.

Urubu Sun 05-Nov-17 09:27:08

"Trainee" means slut in French, trainée to be correct. So kind of funny to see someone with a badge saying trainee for a French person grin

BarbaraofSevillle Sun 05-Nov-17 12:46:32

Whereas the word slut in Danish means something very innocuous. There are stickers with it on on buses and shop doors. It might be exit.

FatPeopleAreHarderToKidnap Sun 05-Nov-17 13:24:59

It’s like Rolls Royce and the Silver Shadow, was originally going to be called “Silver Mist”, but mist in German is manure (at it’s most clean translation), so the manufacturers had a rethink grin

FatPeopleAreHarderToKidnap Sun 05-Nov-17 13:27:25

And my daughter’s name means something rather rude in Greek - might not be holidaying there for a while...

hellokittymania Sun 05-Nov-17 13:37:01

Vietnamese friend of mine lives in Denmark now and speaks very good Danish so I will have to ask her what that means.

I know a dentist in the Philippines his name is Pipat, in friends pet is fart. Also I used to know a Kia from Slovenia, and Kia in Malaysia and Singapore is something you put on bread. Again, using dictation so it didn't spell it right,. Volos The city in Greece means a single hair in Russian, and somebody told me that they told a Russian they were from Volos and the Russian looked at them like they were crazy.

hellokittymania Sun 05-Nov-17 13:38:10

Sorry, dictation messed it up. The dentist's name is Pat, like pet the dog

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Sun 05-Nov-17 13:43:50

I remember reading an American book as a teenager and being really perplexed by the 'fanny pack' one of the characters wore. I was leaning towards it being some kind of 'bum bra', but then my mum told me it was a bag, the kind we would have called a bum bag. But thinking about it, Americans would find the concept of a bum bag rather odd too.

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