Friday, July 25

Lost in Translation....

No matter how well you speak a foreign language, there are certain things that simply get lost in translation. This usually happens when there is a cultural element involved. But there are words that just can't be literally translated. I have spent painful moments reading Portuguese subtitles that were totally misinterpreted when they were translated. What could have been a very funny comedy moment for the public here is trampled by the 'lost in translation'.
Examples of Brazilian/Canadian lost in tranlation moments. The Brazilian versions are really funny in daily vernacular, yet in English they fall flat..
1. Pagar o mico./ Pay the monkey.
In Brazil, to 'pay the monkey' means to be in an embarrassing situation in front of others. ie. Meu tio pagou mico na casamento da Marcia quando ele dancou na mesa/ My uncle paid the monkey at Marcia's wedding when he danced on the table.
2. O mala./The suitcase.
A person who is basically a pain in the butt. Think of Chandler's girlfriend Janice on Friends, when she always runs into him at inoportune moments. Chronically late, unorganized and horrible to travel with. Has spawned more superlative expressions such as
2a. O mala sem alca/The suitcase without a handle
2b. O mala sem alca,sem rodinhas/the suitcase without a handle, without wheels.And my favorite,mala sem alca,sem rodinha,feito de papelao,largada na chuva,cheia de tijolos/A suitcase without a handle, without wheels, made of cardboard, in the rain, full of bricks. In other words, MAJOR pain in the butt all around.
3. Maria Chuteira/Mary Soccer Cleats. A woman that goes out with soccer players. The Queen of the Maria Chuteiras is Victoria Beckham.
4. Maria Parafina/Mary Surfing Wax. Females who chronically date surfers.
5.Explique que um nariz de porco nao e tomada/Try to explain that a pigs nose is not an electrical outlet. Used when dealing with stubborn people that have a set mind, that cannot see the other person's viewpoint.

Thanks to the world of hair removal, the word Brazilian has more than one meaning.
* noun
A person who is a citizen of the country, Brazil. Examples of famous Brazilians: Pele, Santos Dumont, Giselle Bundchen.
• noun
a style of waxing a woman's pubic hair in which almost all the hair is removed, with only avery small central strip remaining.

1 comment:

Cait Wolfe said...

What about: Tudo acaba em pizza? I saw this horribly mis-translated once in the English version of an article for TAM's in flight magazine. The article was about a new wave of trendy pizzerias in Brasilia, and the Portuguese side, clearly joking about the uselessness of the Brazilian government said something like 'Dizemos que tudo acaba em pizza em Brasilia... mas tudo realmente acaba em pizza!' The English version? 'We say everything ends in pizza in Brasilia, but everything really does end up in pizza!' Turns out, you have to speak Portuguese just to read the English articles too! ;)