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Kakashi Chan ([personal profile] horusporus) wrote in [community profile] linguaphiles2010-02-22 10:53 am
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Super-literal translations is an easy attempt at humour

But I love them anyway.

So! I'm crossposting this from my own journal, because I figure there may be people here who are interested. The subject of this post is this fake letter from a broken-hearted guy. The joke is that he, as a native Malay speaker would tend to do, is writing an overly flowery farewell letter to a girl... except he's translating the Malay proverbs literally.

The list, as below:

- In front of Wati - Ke hadapan Wati - it's just a fancy way to say, 'to', or more literally, 'addressed to';

- but I have been clapping with one hand - bertepuk sebelah tangan - when one's feelings is not reciprocated;

- your becoming-day party - harijadi - super-literal translation of 'birthday' XDXD (ie 'the day of your existence');

- I'm from a difficult family - keluarga yang susah - 'susah' does mean difficult but what it means here is a family of not wealthy means.;

- there was a prawn behind the rock - udang di sebalik batu - a hidden intention that makes the action dishonest or insincere. (popular bastardisation for this proverb is 'udang di sebalik mee' or 'prawn under the noodles');

- How my liver hurt - hati - because in classic or metaphorical Malay, the liver is the seat of emotions, not the heart. Though I've been hearing Indonesian lyrics that is using 'jantung' now so it translates directly to heart and that just weirds me out... XD;;

- hornbills with hornbills, sparrows with sparrows - enggang dengan enggang, pipit dengan pipit (iirc) - roughly akin to 'birds of a feather flock together' but more in the sense of class and rank, not interests. Thus you often find this proverb in 'rich girl/boy and poor girl/boy' situations;

- Let me now bring myself - biarlah aku membawa diri - I'll just leave now, on my own; lit. let me now carry myself awayyyyyyyyyy (wah so drama...);

- the Satan-water talking - air setan - alcohol! HAHAHAHAHAHA.;

- You dropped my face-water and scribbled charcoal all over my face - menjatuhkan air muka dan menconteng arang di muka - dropping face-water, ie losing face, ie loss of dignity, is bad enough, but dissing the guy in public? WHOA COLD....;

- the banana to fruit two times - pisang berbuah dua kali - history to repeat itself;

- my liver-fruit - buah hatiku - my love, my darling, my one and only;

- a pick-up brother - abang angkat - a foster/adopted brother. If you're familiar with Japanese it's akin to 'sempai';

- we ate the wind at Lake Gardens - makan angin - strolling along; sightseeing. Kinda like being a flaneur? But it applies to places you're not familiar with as well;

- planting sugarcane at your lips - menanam tebu di bibir - sweet talk;

- honey had been extracted, the husk was thrown away - habis madu, sepah dibuang - whoa... was this guy a virgin?? Er, obvious meaning is obvious no? "I GAVE YOU EVERYTHING!";

- still plays in my ear - bermain di telinga - is echoing in my mind;

- Your fish-hook is so small, don't try to contend with the ocean! - Kail yang kecil jangan memancing di laut - uh, you be a small-time playa, ain't no match for the big leagues... dawg;

- inside the mosquito-net - di dalam kelambu - back in the old days, one's sleeping area is covered by a mosquito-net to keep out various insects at night, so it's a synecdoche for the bedroom which is private. Dude... this guy IS a virgin hahaha;

- my education is not as tall as yours - bukan setinggi kamu - not as high/great/advanced;

- still have self-price - harga diri - I still have my pride, roughly. More like self-esteem or self-worth though.


Hopefully that provides some laughs for today. :)

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