Archive for the ‘Translation’ Category

No te vayas de Zamboanga

June 1, 2017

My morning name on Sunday was Zamboanga, which I immediately recognized as a placename, for a city on the island of Mindanao, the southernmost large island of the Philippines. And I immediately understand why it was in my memory: it’s from a song in the music book I had in the 3rd or 4th grade (I’m not sure which — look, this is all from almost 70 years ago), a compilation of folk songs for children. Which included a song about Zamboanga.

The original of the song was in Spanish — “No Te Vayas de Zamboanga” — or possibly in the Mindanao creole called Chavacano or Chabacano, but we sang it in English, probably in the widespread mistranslation “Do Not Go to (Far) Zamboanga”. (A more accurate translation is “Do Not Go from Zamboanga” or “Do Not Leave Zamboanga” — Zamboanga being both a place of great physical beauty and the home of the singer’s beloved.)

The mystery in all this is why this particular childhood memory surfaced on Sunday morning.

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My tongue broke out in unknown strains

November 28, 2016

Yesterday, shapenote singing (Sacred Harp, Denson Revision 1991) in Palo Alto. The Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend (in the U.S.), so songs of thanks (there are a great many of these). And the first Sunday of Advent, so songs with come significantly in the text (pretty many of these) and, looking forward, Christmas songs (there are tons of these); meanwhile, we are now firmly into the commercial and cultural Christmas season, so of course Christmas songs. But we wandered onto other church holidays: Easter Anthem #236, and the passionate Pentecost song Conversion #297:

  (#1)

In the events alluded to here, on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, a group of very early Christians (among them, the Apostles and Mary, the Mother of God) are possessed, enraptured, by the Holy Spirit, manifested as tongues of flame that descend upon them, granting them God’s grace and so transforming them, making them new, and, in addition, giving them the ability to speak in all languages (earthly or divine), to speak in tongues, as this ability came to be known.

So Pentecost is one of a small set of linguists’ holidays (up there with Hangul Day in Korea and an assortment of invented occasions like National Grammar Day).

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Sex in the shadows

March 6, 2016

(There will be stuff about music and some incidental stuff on translation, but there’s also crude mansex in very plain language, so this is certainly not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The latest Daily Jocks ad, with a caption of mine (one you can sing!):

Randy Handy stands in the shadows
While his johns walk in the light
You see the rich guys shine in brightness
But their stud hustler’s out of sight

Randy is prime meat in his rentboy stable, so a 50%-off sale is a real money-saver, guys.

Some background notes on the fantasy in the caption, then lots of words on the source of the caption (meanwhile, think “Mack the Knife”).

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Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus

November 25, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, so we’re about to embark on the official season of Christmas songs and Christmas shopping (though both have been upon us for some time, and Christmas decorations have been up for some time as well — at the restaurant Reposado in Palo Alto they went up right after Halloween). Periodically I post about about Christmas music, especially weird stuff; my daughter Elizabeth, grand-daughter Opal, and other friends feed me great stuff. In 2012, among my Christmas music postings was “The multicultural Christmas playlist, mostly Jingle Bells”, where I mentioned in passing the Latin translation of the song that I learned in high school, nearly 60 years ago. The part I still recall is the chorus:

Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus
O tantum est gaudium dum vehimur in trahā

(There are other translations into Latin out there.) Now to look at the Latin.

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Follow-up: Heino

November 1, 2015

In my posting on things Rosamunde, I provided a video of the German singer Heino performing the hymn to beer-drinking “Rosamunde”. Now more information about the man, from Wikipedia:

Heino (born 13 December 1938 as Heinz Georg Kramm) is a German singer of popular music (Schlager) and traditional Volksmusik. Having sold a total of over 50 million records, he is one of the most successful German musicians ever.
Known for his baritone voice and trademark combination of light blond hair and dark sunglasses (which he wears due to exophthalmos [bulging eyeballs, from Graves’ disease]), Heino resides in the town of Bad Münstereifel, where he owned a cafe until June 2012. His interest in music started when his mother gave him an accordion in 1948, although his family could barely afford it.

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The racy ATM

January 19, 2015

From the BBC site in October (the 28th), this cash machine story:

A cash machine outside Tesco Express in Aberystwyth has been promising customers “free erections” after a translation error.

Above the ATM at the new store in west Wales it said “codiad am ddim” which would translate colloquially as “free erections.”

A more correct version would have been “codi arian heb dâl”.

The Welsh noun codiad translates as ‘rise, increase’ in a number of senses, including the rising of the sun, and is not in itself racy (the plural is codiadau, by the way); am ddim is ‘for nothing, for free’. But apparently in colloquial usage codiad can also be used for a penile erection.

The BBC story’s version, codi arian heb dâl, translates roughly as ‘raising money/cash without charge’; codi arian am ddim would have done, or even just arian am ddim ‘cash for free’.

(The story was picked up by a great many sites. The BBC version came to me through Sim Aberson.)

Once more on background knowledge in the comics

October 10, 2014

Two of today’s cartoons — a Bizarro and a Zippy — bring us back to recurring questions on this blog: what do need to know to make sense out of what’s going on in a cartoon, and then what do you need to know to see why it might be funny? It’s all about background knowledge.

(#1)

(#2)

#1 brings back the clowns from an earlier posting on background knowledge. #2 is more intricate.

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In style

June 4, 2014

This morning’s Bizarro:

The diner is asking for eggs in one of the handful of standard named American styles — scrambled, poached, fried (over or sunny side up), boiled (hard- or soft-) — and not in some “fancy” style, whether in French (eggs/oeufs à/a la Florentine), in English with postposed modifier (eggs Florentine style, eggs Florentine), or in English with preposed modifier (Florentine-style eggs, Florentine eggs).

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Two cards

May 29, 2014

On Tuesday, Ned Deily and I were investigating the workings of my scanner, after it had behaved  oddly for me on several occasions (garbage on scanning some black-and-white images, very odd colors when scanning some Jane Austen colored cards). The problem was traced back to some scanner settings I hadn’t known were there, so we re-set those and tried scanning one card of each type, using items I’d gotten in the mail (from Chris Ambidge). Herewith the results.

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A Zippy Czech

October 12, 2013

Today’s Zippy continues the traditional Czech triplecoat theme from here:

Though there’s an asterisk on that bit of Czech, suggesting that there’s a translation somewhere, I haven’t found it (though Oh, bože is ‘Oh, God’) — but a commenter on the Zippy site suggests ‘freak’ as a translation of śilenec, and Google offers ‘madman’. So, roughly: ‘Oh God, a crazy!’