Spiegel online on translation / Zwiebelfisch zu Übersetzungsfehlern

The Spiegel column by Bastian Sick has turned to common translation errors.

I have complained about the trivialization of translation before. Sick, in an article on false friends, looks at the old chestnuts Silikon / Silizium, Billion and sensitiv, and a few other terms too. Well, for those who like this kind of thing, this is probably the kind of thing they like.

The column is called Zwiebelfisch, literally onion fish, a term meaning WF (wrong font) and similar to widow or orphan (both Schusterjunge – cobbler’s boy – in English, I believe – but what is Hurenkind?)

8 thoughts on “Spiegel online on translation / Zwiebelfisch zu Übersetzungsfehlern

  1. Wie immer ist der Artikel von Bastian Sick unterhaltsam zu lesen.

    Ich finde, dass Übersetzungen für Laien unheimlich schwierig sind – und muss dabei an die “Reihen und Kolonnen” meines Studienkollegens denken. Gemeint waren die Zeilen und Spalten einer Matrix.
    Er war wohl auch im “Übersetzungsfieber”.

  2. I was misled by one of the links I looked at to believe that Schusterjunge meant both widow and orphan, but your link is better and shows it doesn’t – thanks!

    Claudia – graulieren zum Jahrestag des Blogs!

  3. The meaning is easy enough to remember in English: a widow (no ‘line’ in my experience) has no future (what a strange idea!), whereas an orphan has no past. Thus on the page linked by Trevor, Hurenkind would be orphan (which makes sense). However, I read that opinions are divided as to which is which. Normally you only read about both at once (‘avoid widows and orphans’). The Jewish Ethicist, otoh, says we should consult the Torah: The Torah tells us, “Don’t cause anguish to any widow or orphan” (Exodus 22:21).

    I’ve rolled the dice and decided to believe this.

  4. incredible respect, lol.

    why didnt you raise the point of a real legal argument….unless she was extemely good looking, I bet she lost respect, thats cheesy lawyering. clearly she doesnt care for clients, job, or tradition as much as she should. do your job right and people will respect you

  5. While the etymology of the phrase eludes me at this time, as an American “Comes now…” has a distinctly Southern sound to it. Perhaps it started out as “Here comes now a plaintiff, one John Doe…”

    Shortened over time to “Comes now.” Imagine, if you will, a court bailiff or secrectary announcing the next case, “Comes now one John Doe …”

    In that context it sounds reasonable, at least to my experience.

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