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Switch Blayde

I was reading the thread on English as a second language and thought about this. In my novel, I needed the Russian to say "Fuck you" in Russian. And I didn't want to use the Russian alphabet. I found one site that had it so that's what I used.

But I was chatting with someone from Iran the other day. She said the translators don't translate curse words. So I used Google to translate a curse word from English to Farsi. She said it meant something totally different and was not a swear.

So I went to sites that specifically had swear words. They were in the Farsi alphabet so I copied and pasted them and sent them to her. Again, they weren't what the English swear words were. Not even close.

So how do you do what I needed in my novel? (And I wonder what I actually had the Russian saying.)

robberhands
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

(And I wonder what I actually had the Russian saying.)

Thanks! That one really made me laugh.

Eta: My quick research for 'Fuck you' in Russian produced 'Yebat' tebya' as translation in Latin writing.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

My quick research for 'Fuck you' in Russian produced 'Yebat' tebya'


And the site with the Russian curse words gave me "Po'shyol 'na hui"

REP

@Switch Blayde

So how do you do what I needed in my novel?


Find someone who speaks the language and have them give you the words.

Alternatively, use a Russian sentence in dialog and provide the translation. Then define that future conversations in Russian will only be presented in English.

FSwan

@Switch Blayde

My wife is Russian so I have a little experience with the language. So, FWIW, keep in mind transliteration from Russian Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet of an European language is variable. I once saw three ways Khrushchev (English) was transliterated into French and German. Also, idioms don't necessarily translate word for word. The meaning of "stop pulling my leg" is translated into Russian as "don't hang macaroni on my ear."

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

This is more than just a translation issue, it's a cultural issue. What we would call a swear phrase in English is not always a swear phrase in another language, and that's also true for many sayings.

Each culture and language has a few phrases they regard as swear words and swear phrases due to associations from within the culture. While a few odd ones do cross the barrier, most don't.

Take German where two of their most common swear phrases translate into English as pig dog and thunder and lightning which sound like nothing to us English speakers when in English but don't expect smiles if you use the German words while talking to a native speaker of German. Likewise the French swear phrase that translate as sacred blue.

The best you can do is to speak with a person who speaks the language, present the situation, and ask them what would be said in that language in that situation, then use that.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

Take German where two of their most common swear phrases translate into English as pig dog and thunder and lightning which sound like nothing to us English speakers when in English but don't expect smiles if you use the German words while talking to a native speaker of German.

I am a German and live in Germany. The last who used 'Schweinehund' or 'Blitz und Donner' when swearing was probably Master Sergeant Schultz in Hogan's Heroes.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

I am a German and live in Germany. The last who used 'Schweinehund' or 'Blitz und Donner' when swearing was probably Master Sergeant Schultz in Hogan's Heroes.


Could be, but I heard them from a teacher of German in Australia a few years prior to seeing Hogan's Heroes. I don't have any interaction with Germans today, so i don't know what's current.

That reminds me that swear phrases change with time. In English one of the bad ones used to be to say By Our Lady but you never hear it today, while the reduced slurred version of bloody has only a small fraction of being bad the original had over 100 years ago.

In the 1980s I worked with a Frenchman who frequently said Sacre Bleu or Merde when something went wrong on him. I wouldn't know if they're common today.

Replies:   robberhands  sejintenej
robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

The world is shrinking. When you visit Germany today, you'll be just fine cursing in English; everyone will understand you, and the main swears in German are the same as in English, Spain, or French.

BlacKnight

I have a friend from Quebec whose primary swears translate literally to "chalice", "tabernacle", and "host".

REP

When I first arrived in Australia, I was told to not use the word 'root' and to not use the 'thumbs up' sign.

In America, 'root' means to cheer. In Australia it means to have sex with someone.

I was told that in America, the 'thumbs up' sign means the person you gave it to did a good job, and in Australia, it meant fuck you (i.e., what Americans mean by a raised middle finger).

StarFleet Carl

@Switch Blayde

I needed the Russian to say "Fuck you" in Russian.


Yob Tvoyu Mat is Fuck your mother in Russia.
Ee dee Nah Hooy is Fuck you! - and you'd say it with emphasis.

Go to YouSwear.com for some other words. I took several years of Russian in college. Don't remember much of it, hated the Cyrillic language, but for some reason some of the words just sort of stuck. (Like learning how to say, where's the bathroom? I can do that in 5 different languages.)

Switch Blayde

@StarFleet Carl

Ee dee Nah Hooy is Fuck you!


On the YouSwear.com site, there were 3 Russian expressions for "fuck you."

One was: Poshyol ty'
I had: Po'shyol 'na hui

That looks sort of similar. So maybe mine was correct.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

I was told that in America, the 'thumbs up' sign means the person you gave it to did a good job, and in Australia, it meant fuck you


Whoever told you that was having a go at you - thumbs up in Australia means the same as in the USA.

Replies:   AmigaClone  REP
BlacKnight

@REP

In America, 'root' means to cheer.


I dunno, in my book, "root", as a verb, means "to illicitly gain unrestricted access to a computer system".

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
Vlad_Inhaler

@BlacKnight

"root for"?

Replies:   BlacKnight
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


So how do you do what I needed in my novel? (And I wonder what I actually had the Russian saying.)


When I was using a lot of foreign dialogue in "The Catalyst", I ran into this a lot. Your best option is Fivrr, where you can hire native-language translators for virtually any language. Automated translators are notoriously terrible! $5 a pop isn't onerous, and it's worth the expense just for the security of knowing the translations are reasonable.

Also, if you're using Russian for dialog in a story, it's more effective using the native alphabet, as it's a visually stronger reminder that they're not speaking English. I used that for Vietnamese, Russian and Arabic, and it works well.

There are a few things to remember, when using foreign languages, you need to stick with the 16-bit languages, ad 32-bit (ex: Chinese and Japanese) won't render well on most Western computer browsers. The other is to always code in UTF-8 character set, and to render the foreign language in html (rather than supplying the straight text. This is simple for me, since I use Dreamweaver, as I can copy the text from the code window and paste it into the 'display' window and it'll automatically convert it so it'll always display properly. (Hint: if you don't want to fork out the cash for Dreamweaver, send me the phrases and I'll convert them and sent them back so you can cut-and-paste them into your html code.)

AmigaClone

@Ernest Bywater

In Brazil thumbs up can mean several things depending on the context. The Okay sign on the other hand is equivalent to giving someone the finger in the USA.

Switch Blayde

@StarFleet Carl

Go to YouSwear.com


Thanks for that site. I sent the Farsi translations for "fuck you" to my friend in Iran and she confirmed they were correct.

Ernest Bywater

@AmigaClone

The Okay sign on the other hand is equivalent to giving someone the finger in the USA.


I know of many cultures where the circle formed by the thumb and forefinger with the other three fingers spread is an abusive sign. It's usually done with the palm facing the ground and accompanied by the forefinger of the other hand being moved in and out of the circled fingers. The US is the only culture I've heard of where they use the finger / thumb circle to mean OK, but they usually do it with the spread fingers straight up and the palm to the person being signed to

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The US is the only culture I've heard of where they use the finger / thumb circle to mean OK, but they usually do it with the spread fingers straight up and the palm to the person being signed to

When in doubt, simply drop your trousers, whip out your dick and jerk it off until the police arrive, then there's never any doubt of your intent! 'D

Switch Blayde

@AmigaClone

The Okay sign on the other hand is equivalent to giving someone the finger in the USA.


And I believe in sign language, you're calling someone an asshole. At least that's what happened in the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus."

REP

@Ernest Bywater


Whoever told you that was having a go at you


Perhaps. I was stationed in Perth in the late 60's. The person telling me that was a fellow serviceman. Maybe he was misinformed or possibly it was a regional meaning.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

In the 1980s I worked with a Frenchman who frequently said Sacre Bleu or Merde when something went wrong on him. I wouldn't know if they're common today.

I heard (and used) merde often enough; I would translate that as oh bother! when something goes wrong. I never heard Sacre Bleu outside older books. Another one is ta geule which seems to approximate to fuck you (ta being a bit forward in most cases)

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

The US is the only culture I've heard of where they use the finger / thumb circle to mean OK, but they usually do it with the spread fingers straight up and the palm to the person being signed to

also means OK when using scuba

BlacKnight

@Vlad_Inhaler

"root for"?


I'm a computer professional in my day job, and I give zero fucks about spectator sports. The computer security meaning is far, far ahead of the athletic supporter meaning in my daily usage.

For that matter, the "dig around for something" meaning is far ahead of the athletic supporter meaning in my daily usage, and I hardly ever use that one.

As a noun, "the administrator account on a Unix system" is probably even ahead of "the bottom bit of a plant" in my usage.

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