Year 3, week 44: Lost in Translation

There is a lovely Chinese translator of ‘BabyBarista and the Art of War’ who has been asking some excellent questions. But some of them have also raised a smile, not at her expense but at the risk of bits of the book being lost in translation if we’re not careful. Here’s a summary of a few of them:
“What does more edges than a broken [chamber] pot mean?”,
“Who is Robin Reliant”?
“Does the name Arthur Daley have a special meaning?”
 “Who is Flashman?”
“Why is Slough unglamorous?”
“What is Toad Hall?”
What is a “New Labour’s New Britain”?
Who is “Alan Clark”?
Could you give some info of the song “It wasn’t me”?
“Do not pass go, do not collect £200”?
Is “This Morning” a TV Show every morning or a movie?
Meaning of “fisherman-like tales”?
What is the meaning of “Git orrrf ma land” – some kind of modal particle?!
“What do you mean by ‘cut of her thigh’?”
…and my personal favourite: ““When you say ‘Batman outfits for barristers and Robin ones for solicitors’, are you referring to Robin Hood?”

July 27, 2009 · Tim Kevan · 4 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

4 Responses

  1. abigail - July 28, 2009

    Why is this? Sun Tzu is translated into English without any problem.

  2. Andrew - July 29, 2009

    How do you know, did he write a blog about the translation process?

  3. Curious Black Cat - July 30, 2009

    I suppose there are some English idioms which simply do not exist or the equivalent cannot be found in different languages…
    I find this interesting though. English really is a tough language to learn for non-speakers!

  4. Lloyd - July 31, 2009

    English is full of idioms and even funnier translations are Korean when they translate from English to Korean and the explain what it says in English. While in Korea there were my favourites. An adverts for a chocolate similar to a lion bar its name was – cr*p. For the ladies, a bra that lifts the busts was advertised with the slogan. Shoot up the b**bies !! The mind boggles !