Archive for the ‘Sonderling Sunday’ Category

Sonderling Sunday – For Kristen!

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

It’s Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books!

This week’s installment is dedicated to my niece, Kristen, who recently learned that she gets to spend her Sophomore year of college in Heidelberg, Germany!

Heidelberg Castle

During my ten years living in Germany, we were only about 30-45 minutes from Heidelberg, and it was one of my favorite places to bring visitors. I hope I’ll get the chance to go visit Kristen while she’s there!

And now for Sonderling Sunday. This week, I was asked to step in at the last minute to be a Cybils panelist for first-round Middle Grade Speculative Fiction! What this means is that I probably shouldn’t spend much time on Sonderling Sunday until after the end of the year — I should be reading! (And I *love* that I can legitimately say “I should be reading.”) However, it’s been a long time since I posted, and last week, I spent an hour on a post — and then lost it in a fluke (I hope) WordPress accident. When it got to where it was taking me as long to try to recover it as it would to rewrite it, I decided to stop. But it’s still eating at me that I want that section done!

For Kristen — I like to think of Sonderling Sunday as a sort of phrasebook, with translations you won’t find in ordinary phrasebooks, but which are clearly useful, since they have been used in a children’s book, for goodness’ sake!

This week (and last week), I’m back to Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-fish, by the illustrious James Kennedy, whom, it turns out, also knows a lot about Star Wars.

Last time — or anyway, the last time I managed to post — we left off on page 216 in the original English edition, and Seite 273 auf Deutsch. I have to start with the reply to the last line I posted.

“Knitting? I’ll knit you!”
= Stricken? Ich werde dir gleich zeigen, wie man strickt!
(“Knitting? I will you the same show, how one knits!”)

“awkward pause” = verlegene Pause

“snorted” = schnaubten

Here’s hoping you will never ever need to use this phrase, but just in case:
“a rotting face smiling inches from her own”
= ein verrottetes Gesicht, das nur wenige Zentimeter vor ihrem eigenen grinste

“murmuring just beneath human hearing”
= das unterhalb der Hörschwelle des menschlichen Ohres schlug
(“that below the hearing-threshold of the human ear struck”)

“throat” = Schlund

This is mellifluous:
“ruby-lipped” = mit dem rubinroten Lippen

“with all the noise and fury of an oncoming train”
= mit dem Lärm und der Wucht eines heranrasenden Zuges

“sharp lights were stabbing behind her eyes”
= stechendes Licht flammte hinter ihren Augen auf

“Jo was left treading water.”
= Jo blieb zurück und strampelte im Wasser.
(“Jo stayed back and struggled in the water.”)

“hopelessly lost”
= hoffnungslos verirrt

“her body” = ihre Leiche (“her corpse”)

“a concrete shelf near a sewer pipe”
= einem Betonvorsprung in der Nähe eines Abflussrohrs

“Ian kicked open the sewer grate”
= Ian öffnete das Gitter des Abflusskanals mit einem kräftigen Tritt
(“Ian opened the gate of the outflow-channel with a powerful kick”)
— That one gains something in translation.

“humming city” = summenden Stadt

Interesting. This time through I noticed a little stitching up in the German. Nick and Jo are outside the sewers, and it said nothing about bringing Nick out. But as they’re talking, the English then jumps to describe the cut across Nick’s brow. The German covers that, but first inserts, Sie gingen zurück, “They went back.”

Speaking of Nick’s brow:
“There was a nasty cut across Nick’s brow”
= Nicks Stirn zierte eine hässliche Platzwunde
(“Nick’s brow graced an ugly gash”)

“wig” = Perücke

This is definitely longer in German:
“familiar jeweled key”
= vorkommenden juwelenbesetzten Schlüssel

But this one’s shorter:
“half running, half walking”
= im Laufschritt
(“on the run-step”)

And here’s another one I hope Kristen will never use:
“dragging around an unconscious girl”
= ein bewusstloses Mädchen herumschleppten

“front parlor” = Empfangsalon

“Jo suddenly realized what must have happened.”
= Jo begriff plötzlich, wie alles zusammenhängen musste.

“Unscramble the letters”
= Schüttle die Buchstaben… durcheinander

“nursing the lump on her head”
= betastete die Beule auf ihrem Kopf

“deathly croak” = heiserem Krächzen

“sleepily mischievous” = verschlafen-mutwillig

“shyly hopeful” = zaghaft hoffnungsvoll

“petty” = albern

“East Squeamings” = Ost-Heikel (“East-Delicate”)

“Nora’s head would explode”
= dann platzt Nora der Kragen
(“then bursts Nora the collar”)

“every last thing”
= die kleinste Kleinigkeit
(“the littlest littleness”)

“garish” = grelle

“the buttery glow of the moon”
= das gelbliche Glühen des Mondes

And to finish off Chapter 17 with a sentence I hope Kristen will have many occasions to use:
“They took the long way home.”
= Sie nahmen den längeren Weg nach Hause.

Until next time!

Sonderling Sunday – You Need a Schnauch!

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.

This week, I’m going to dive back into Der Lorax, von Dr. Seuss! Last time, we left off when the Einstler had just seen die Bäume! Die Trüffelabäume!


And here’s where we can see how Dr. Seuss’s use of made-up words actually makes a rhyming translation easier:

“And, under the trees, I saw Brown Bar-ba-loots
frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits
as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits.”

= Im Schatten der Bäume sah ich Braunfelliwullis.
Die hüpften in ihren Braunfellipullis
auf puscheligen Braunfellifüßen
und naschten von den Trüffelanüssen.

(“In the shadow of the trees saw I Brown-felli-wullis.
They hopped in their Brown-felli-pullovers
on puscheligen [?] Brown-felli-feet
and nibbled on the Truffula nuts.”)

As suspected, kräusligen is also made-up, from sich kräuseln, “to ripple.”

“From the rippulous pond
came the comfortable sound
of the Humming-Fish humming
while splashing around.”

= Vom kräusligen Teich
stieg ein wohliger Klang,
wo der Summerfisch summte
und planschte und sang.

Oh, alas! The first two lines of this are lovely, but the next two lines? Well, it’s a noble effort, but the German lines don’t have the same rhythm as the original.

“But those trees! Those trees!
Those Truffula Trees!

All my life I’d been searching
for trees such as these.”

Doch die Bäume! Diese Bäume!
Die Trüffelabäume!
Mein ganzes Leben lang wünschte ich mir
Bäume wie diese,
nun standen sie hier.

Really, it’s a challenge to translate rhymes like these:

“The touch of their tufts
was much softer than silk.
And they had the sweet smell
of fresh butterfly milk.”

= Der Tuff dieser Bäume,
zu meinem Entzücken,
glänzte so seidig
wie Schmetterlingsrücken.

(“The tufts of these trees
to my delight,
shone so silky
as butterfly backs.”)

(Notice they didn’t even attempt butterfly milk!)

And it just feels like we’re losing something:

“In no time at all, I had built a small shop.
Then I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop.
And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed,
I took the soft tuft. And I knitted a Thneed!”

= Am Mittag war alles schon ausgepackt,
ein Laden gebaut und ein Baum abgehackt.
Und schneller als schnell, den geschickt war ich auch:
Aus dem kuschligen Tuff strickte ich einen Schnauch.

(“By noon was everything already unpacked,
a shop built and a tree hacked down.
And faster than fast, skillful was I also:
From the cuddly tuft knitted I a Schnauch.”)

I like this page:

“The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Zump!
I looked.
I saw something pop out of the stump
of the tree I’d chopped down. It was sort of a man.
Describe him?… That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.”

= Und grad war ich fertig, da machte es plumpf!
ich schaute
und sah, etwas sprang aus dem Stumpf —
aus dem Baum, den ich fällte. Es war so ein Mann.
Ihn beschreiben? Ich weiß nicht, ob ich das kann.

The schimpfte und schnauzte line here makes up for a lot:

“He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
that was sharpish and bossy.”

= Er war kurz, braun und ältlich
und oben bemoost.
Er schimpfte und schnauzte
und machte auf Boss.

(“He was short, brown, and elderly
and over be-mossed.
He grumbled and snarled
and acted the boss.”)

They don’t do badly with this classic line:

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

= Ich sprech’ für die Bäume, den die können’s ja nicht.

(“I speak for the trees, for they cannot.”)

And I do like the Thneed description:

“I’m being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!
It’s a shirt. It’s a sock. It’s a glove. It’s a hat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that.
You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets!
Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!”

= Ich mache mich nützlich. Dieses Ding is ein Schnauch.
Und ein Schnauch ist etwas, was jedermann braucht.
Man nimmt ihn als Pulli, als Socke, als Kragen.
Ein Schnauch ist sehr praktisch, sozusagen.
Er geht auch als Teppich und Nackenstütze,
als Vorhang, als Kissen oder Fahrradsitzmütze.

(“I’m making myself useful. This thing is a Schnauch.
And a Schnauch is something, that all people need.
One takes it as a pullover, as a sock, as a collar.
A Thneed is very practical, so to speak.
It goes also as a carpet and neck-rest,
as a curtain, as a cushion or bicycle-seat-cap.”)

And I’ll finish off with some words with far too much truth:

“I laughed at the Lorax, “You poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy.”

= Ich lachte: Du Dummkopf, jetzt hör auf zu schnaufen!
Man weiß eben nie, was die Leute so kaufen.

That’s it for this week! In general, the translator, Nadia Budde, did come up with lines that still roll off the tongue.

Sonderling Sunday – Hinunter, Hinunter, Hinunter

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday – That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. This week it’s back to the delightful book that started it all — Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James Kennedy, otherwise known as The Order of Odd-fish.

Sonderlinge 2

Last time, we left off on page 210 in English, Seite 265 auf Deutsch. Jo and Ian have followed Nick past the Drehkreuz.

Here’s one of those rare phrases that’s shorter in German:
“crowded subway platform” = überfüllten Bahnsteig (Well, okay, just barely shorter. That means, essentially, “over-filled train-climb”)

“straggler” = Nachzügler (“after traveler”)

“tracks” = Gleise

Not as much of a ring to it:
“Down, down, down” = Hinunter, hinunter, hinunter

“cramped and filthy passageways” = enge, schmutzige Gänge

“darker, slimier, and rougher” = dunkler, schleimiger und primitive

“lantern” = Taschenlampe (“pocket-lamp” I wonder if the translator thought it meant a flashlight?)

This sounds even more repulsive in German:
“a wet hole” = ein feuchtes Loch

“slick, spongy moss” = glattem schwammigem Moos

I like this one:
“crawled headfirst” = kroch kopfüber

“which suddenly contracted and slurped”
= das sich plötzlich zusammenzog und ein schlürfendes Geräusch von sich gab
(“that itself suddenly together-moved and a slurping noise from itself gave”)

“warily” = mistrauich

“a sloppy, drooling mouth” = ein schlaffes, sabberndes Maul

One word for this!
“just to make sure” = sicherheitshalber (“for safety’s sake”)

“jealous” = eifersüchtig (“zeal-seeking”)

“tumbling and sliding” = rutschte taumelnd

“splashed” = platschend

“torches” = Fackeln

“their faces looked strange and red in the flickering fire”
= ihre Gesichter wirken im Licht der flackernden Flammen merkwürdig rötlich
(“their faces looked in the light of the flickering flames strangely red”)

“twinkling jewels” = funkelnden Juwelen

“elaborate arched passages” = kunstvoll gemeißelte Durchgänge

“dome” = Kuppel

“humbled by age” = vom Alter gedmütigt

“arranged in glimmering mosaics” = zu schimmernden Mosaiken angeordnet

“whistled” = pfiff

“snorts” = schnaubte

“tame” = zahm

“squids” = Kalmare

“scratched” = kraulte

“We’ll go for a ride.” = Wir machen einen kleinen Ausritt.

“falling off” = herunterfielen

“squeeze them with your legs” = klemmt sie euch zwischen die Beine

“grunting beasts” = grunzenden Tieren

“oozed” = sickerte

“the back of her head” = ihren Hinterkopf

This time English has the compound word:
“slingshot” = Schleuder

“hushed gibbering” = leises Schnattern

“monkey-like beast” = affenähnliches Tier

“bolder” = kühner

“the roar of a hundred tiny throats” = einem tosenden Brüllen aus Hunderten winziger Kehlen

“leaped” = griffen

“snarling shapes” = knurrenden Gestalten

“bursting out of the water” = aus dem Wasser auftauchten
(I like that. auftauchten is, basically, “out-dived.”)

“bucked and dived” = bockte und tauchte

“surface” = Wasseroberfläche

“That was close.” = Das war knapp.

“peevish” = ein bisschen gereizt

“with heavy irony” = troff von Sarkasmus

“a spot of tea” = ein Schlückchen Tee

And let’s finish up with a tremendously useful phrase:
“I understand that knitting is very soothing.”
= Ich habe gehört, Stricken soll sehr entspannend sein.

I find myself hoping my readers don’t have any occasion to say these things this week. May you not hear the leises Schnattern of any affenähnliches Tier, nor einem tosenden Brüllen aus Hunderten winziger Kehlen.

But if you do, you’ll know what to call them!

Sonderling Sunday – Der Lorax

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. And look what I found at Powell’s books in Portland! A copy of Der Lorax!


It’s been many weeks since I last did Sonderling Sunday. No, I’m not going to let it fall by the wayside. But I’ve had a busy summer, including a wonderful vacation in Oregon. And I haven’t posted on my website much lately, because this week my computer broke. But I’ve managed to restore the operating system, and I’m hoping to spend my Labor Day restoring files. And fortunately, I can post Sonderling Sunday without having my files back. While I was in Oregon, I visited my oldest son Josh, and we went to Powell’s Books in Portland. I had no idea they had a small German section — and I found Der Lorax.

Later, my younger son Tim and I had a marvelous time taking turns reading pages of the whole thing aloud. He reflected that it’s probably not as hard as you might think to translate Dr. Seuss — a lot of his words are invented, so just invent a word that rhymes as needed. You’ll see what he means….

And the translation is done by Nadia Budde.

I like the places where they had to put words in the pictures. “The Street of the Lifted Lorax” fits much more neatly than Weg des Entschwundenen Lorax.

I can’t resist giving you the entire first page and sentence:

“At the far end of town
where the Grickle-grass grows
and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
and no birds ever sing excepting old crows…
is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.”

Auf Deutsch:

Am Ende der Stadt,
wo das Mickergras steht
und der Wind fast versauert, wenn er langsam weht,
und außer den Krähen kein Vogel mehr kräht,
liegt der Weg des entschwundenen Lorax.

(“At the end of the city, where the Micker-grass stands
and the wind almost soured, when it slowly goes,
and except the crows no bird more crows,
lies the way of the vanished Lorax.”)

Here the meaning is changed slightly for rhyme:
“What was the Lorax?
And why was it there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere…”

= Was war der Lorax?
Warum war er dort?
Und wohin entschwand er? Denn jetzt ist er fort.

(That last line is roughly, “And to where did he disappear? For now he is gone.”)

This translation makes sense:
“Once-ler” = Einstler

Here’s a section that loses a little something in translation:

“You won’t see the Once-ler.
Don’t knock at his door.
He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store.
He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under the roof,
where he makes his own clothes out of miff-muffered moof.”

= Du wirst ihn nicht sehen
und klopfst lieber nicht.
Er haust ganz oben bei schummrigem Licht.
Er lugt durch die Ritzen. Im kalten Mief
näht er seine Lumpen,
vermuffelt und schief.

(“You will him not see
and knock better not.
He lives at the top in dim light.
He peeks through the cracks. In cold stale air
sews he his rags,
vermuffelt and crooked.”)
Hmm. She didn’t even try to translate “Lerkim.” Not as many made-up words, but it does give the feeling of the Once-ler’s Lerkim.

“And on special dank midnights in August,
he peeks
out of the shutters…”

= Doch an schwülen Tagen um Mitternacht
wird oben der Sehschlitz größer gemacht.

(“But on humid days at midnight
will over the see-slit bigger make.”)

“tin pail” = Eimer

“nail” = Zwecke

“the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail” = das Haus einer Ur-Ur-Ur-Uropaschnecke

Here you can see how it’s changed for the sake of rhyme:
“Then he pulls up the pail,
makes a most careful count
to see if you’ve paid him
the proper amount.”

= Dann zieht er den Eimer
hinauf unters Dach
und zählt seinen Lohn
noch hundertmal nach.

(“Then he pulls the bucket
up to the roof
and counts his reward
a hundred times after.”)

Again, I don’t think the translation has quite the same charm:
“Then he hides what you paid him
away in his Snuvv,
his secret strange hole
in his gruvvulous glove.”

= Dann stopft er das alles
hinein in sein Schmoch:
Im schnorrigen Handschuh
Ein seltsames Loch.

(“Then stuffs he it all
into his Schmoch:
In the schnorrigen glove
A strange hole.”)

“Whisper-ma-phone” = Flüsterfon

Down slupps the Whisper-ma-phone to your ear
and the old Once-ler’s whispers are not very clear,
since they have to come down
through a snergelly hose,
and he sounds
as if he had smallish bees up his nose.”

saust das Flüsterfon ran an dein Ohr.
Das Einstler-Genuschel kriecht mühsam durchs Rohr.
Hinab durch die Enge,
und aus seinem Mund
klingt es, als steckten ihm
Hummeln im Schlund.

rushes the Flüsterfon to your ear.
The Einstler-Genuschel crawls laboriously through the tube.
Down through the narrows,
and out of his mouth
sounds it, as if stuck him
Bumblebees in the throat.”)

Ah, and I like this page so much, I have to quote it:

“Way back in the days when the grass was still green
and the pond was still wet
and the clouds were still clean,
and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space…
one morning, I came to this glorious place.
And I first saw the trees!
The Truffula Trees!
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees!
Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.”

= Lang, lang ist es her, noch grün war das Gras,
die Wolken ganz weiß
und der Teich herrlich nass,
und die Schwippschwäne sangen, der Wind trug es fort.
Da kam ich an diesen herrlichen Ort.
Und ich sah die Bäume!
Die Trüffelabäume!
Hier schaukelten sie auf grüner Wiese
die knallbunten Tuffs in der Morgenbrise.

(“Long, long ago, still green was the grass,
the clouds all white
and the pond delightfully wet,
and the Schwipp-swans sang, the wind carried it away.
There came I to this glorious place.
And I saw the trees!
The Trüffela-trees!
Here swayed they on the green meadow
the brightly colored Tuffs in the morning breeze.”)

Well, it’s getting late, and I haven’t gotten very far. So I will save the rest for another day. May you experience grün Gras, weiß Wolken, und ein Teich herrlich nass.

Sonderling Sunday – Duddler Yarue

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. And my comments work again this time!

This week, it’s back to my stand-by, the book that inspired me to start Sonderling Sunday, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James Kennedy, otherwise known as The Order of Odd-fish.

Sonderlinge 2

Last time, we left off right around the halfway point, on page 208 in the English version, and Seite 262 auf Deutsch.

Just to set the stage, I’m going to write out the whole first paragraph of this section.

Jo and Ian searched the neighborhood, but they didn’t really know what they were looking for. It wasn’t clear what “Duddler Yarue” would look like, and anyway, the streets were almost deserted. After a half hour of wandering, Jo despaired of ever making any headway, and was ready to give up when they saw an effeminate boy smoking a cigarette on the corner. He watched Jo and Ian idly.

Auf Deutsch:

Jo und Ian suchten das ganze Viertel ab, aber sie wussten nicht einmal genau, wonach sie eigentlich suchen sollten. Es war nicht klar, wie dieser »Duddler Yarue« eigentlich ausschaute, und außerdem waren die Straßen beinahe vollkommen menschenleer. Nachdem sie eine halbe Stunde herumgeirrt waren, glaubte Jo nicht mehr daran, dass sie noch irgendetwas erreichen würden. Sie wollte schon aufgeben, als sie einen etwas affektierten Jungen an der Ecke stehen sah, der eine Zigarette rauchte. Er beobachtete Jo und Ian gelangweilt.

“suspicious” = Verdächtiges

“clue” = Spur (“trail”)

“to boil over” = die Beherrschung zu verlieren (“the mastery to lose”)

“rude” = unhöflich

“street wisdom” = Straßenweisheit

“some guy” = irgendein Bursche

“snapped his fingers” = schnippte mit den Fingern (I just like that one.)

“startled and a little pleased” = erschrocken und zugegebenermaßen auch ein bisschen erfreut
(“frightened and admittedly also a little bit pleased”)

“the sights” = Sehenswürdigkeiten

“secret places” = geheime Orte

“I wouldn’t want you to miss it.” = Ich möchte nicht, dass du das versäumst.

“rather enjoying Ian’s jealousy” = genoss Ians Eifersucht

“teetered back and forth” = zögerte unschlüssig (“hesitated indecisively”)

“turnstile” = Drehkreuz

“Ian bought three tokens and went through properly.”
= Der kaufte drei Münzen und warf sie ordnungsgemäß in den Schlitz.
(“He bought three coins and threw them properly in the slot.”)

And that’s it for tonight! A short one, but it’s nice to get back in the swing of it. After all, Ich möchte nicht, dass du das versäumst.

Sonderling Sunday – Hooray for the World Cup!

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. Think of it as a handy-dandy phrasebook of phrases as *actually used* to tell a story.

Today, in honor of Germany winning the World Cup (Woo-hoo!!!!), I’m going to look at the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where they witness the Quidditch World Cup. Because what phrases could be more appropriate?


Last time, we covered the Pregame Show. The actual Quidditch World Cup begins on page 106 in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Seite 113 in Harry Potter und die Feuerkelch.

The first sentence is an appropriate way to begin:
“‘Theeeeeeeey’re OFF!’ screamed Bagman.”
= »Looooooos geht’s!«, schrie Bagman.

They have a name for this:
“bridge of his nose” = Nasenwurzel (“Nose root”)

“slow motion” = Zeitlupe (“Time magnifier”)

“the noise of the crowd pounded against his eardrums”
= das Toben der Menge gegen seine Trommelfelle pochte
(“The roar of the multitude against his drumskins pounded”)

“Hawkshead Attacking Formation” = Falkenkopf-Angriff

“zoom closely together” = dicht nebeneinander dahinschwebten
(“close near-one-another there-in-floated”)

“ploy” = Täuschung

“who was dancing up and down, waving her arms in the air”
= mit schlackernden Armen umhertanzte

“lap of honor” = Ehrenrunde

“sulkily” = schmollend

“seamless” = nahtlos

“causing a thunderous tide of roars and applause from the green-clad supporters”
= was bei den grün gekleideten Fans eine wahre Springflut aus Jubelschreien und Händeklatschen auslöste

“scatter” = zerstreuen

“goal” = Tor

“gasped” = stöhnten

“parachutes” = Fallschirme (“Fall-umbrellas”)

“descent” = Sturzflug (“drop-flight”)

“huge groan” = markerschütterndes Stöhnen

“time-out” = Auszeit

“Firebolt” = Feuerblitz

“new heart” = frischen Mut

“scream of rage” = Wutschrei

“takes to task” = knüpft

“cobbing” = Schrammens (“scarring”)

“penalty” = Freiwurf

“referee” = Schiedsrichter

“looking mutinous” = rebellisch gestikulierten

“cruel-beaked bird heads” = Vogelköpfen mit grausamen Schnäbeln

“scaly” = schuppige

“deafening” = ohrenbetäubendes

“broom tail” = Besenschweif

“most exciting” = aufregendste

“had no idea” = war schleierhaft (“was veiled”)

“roared” = polterte

“tremendous force” = enormer Wucht

“horde” = Meute

“scoreboard” = Anzeigetafel

“brave” = tapfer

“surlier” = verdrießlicher

“team members” = Mannschaftskamaraden

“blared” = dudelte

“shrinking” = schrumpften

“forlorn” = elend

“shrugging” = achselzuckend (“armpit-twitching”)

“Quidditch World Cup itself” = Quidditch-Weltmeisterschaftspokal

“appreciatively” = anerkennend

“black eyes” = Veilchen

“bloody face” = blutunterlaufenen Gesicht (“blood-under-accumulated face”)

“slightly duck-footed” = watschelte ein wenig (“waddled a bit”)

“ear-splitting” = ohrenzerfetzendes

“hoarsely” = heiser

“twist” = Wendung

And that’s it for Chapter Eight: Irland gewinnt!

So, with these words you can relive the Fußball Weltmeisterschaft. You can talk about the Springflut aus Jubelschreien when Deutschland gewinnt. You can even discuss the memorable blutunterlaufenen Gesicht and the Tor in Overtime.

Sonderling Sunday – Get Ready for the Quidditch World Cup!

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.


Today, in honor of Germany advancing to the Semifinals in the World Cup (something they have done for consecutive World Cups since I lived in Germany), I thought it would be fun to look at the passage in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that covers the Quidditch World Cup. In fact, in hopes that Germany will advance to the Finals, happening next Sunday, I’m going to tackle the beginning of Chapter 8 this week, leading up to the World Cup, and cover the World Cup itself next week. Perhaps we’ll learn some words I heard when I watched World Cup soccer in Germany.

We’ll be looking at Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8, “The Quidditch World Cup,” which is Harry Potter und die Feuerkelch, “Die Quidditch-Weltmeisterschaft”.

I like beginning with the first sentence:
“Clutching their purchases, Mr. Weasley in the lead, they all hurried into the wood, following the lantern-lit trail.”
= Ihre neu erworbenen Schätze an sich geklammert folgten sie Mr Weasley den laternenbeschienenen Weg entlang in den Wald.
(“Their newly acquired treasures clinging to themselves followed they Mr. Weasley on the lantern-shined path along in the forest.”)

“The atmosphere of feverish excitement was highly infectious.”
= Die fiebrige Erregung war höchst ansteckend.

“talking and joking loudly” = laut redend und scherzend

“Muggle repelling charms” = Muggelabwehrzauber

“appointments” = Verabredungen

“dash away” = schleunigst fort

“Top box!” = Ehrenloge! (“Honor box”)

“goalposts” = Torstangen

“goal hoops” = Torringe

“blackboard” = schwarze Tafel

“scrawling” = krakeln

“advertisements” = Werbesprüche

“Anti-Burglar Buzzer” = Diebstahlschutz-Summer

“Mrs. Skower’s All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover: No Pain, No Stain!”
= Mrs Skowers Magischer Allzweckreiniger: Kein Fleck, kein Schreck!

“tea towel” = Geschirrtuch

“draped” = geschlungen

“shaking her head” = kopfschüttelnd

“taken aback” = bestürzt

“Freedom is going to Dobby’s head.” = Die Freiheit steigt Dobby zu Kopf. (“The freedom climbs Dobby to the head.”)

“blankly” = verdutzt (“puzzled”)

“muffled squeak” = ersticktem Piepsen

“gulped” = würgte

“frowning” = stirnrunzelnd (“forehead wrinkled”)

“replay knob” = Wiederholungsknopf

“velvet-covered, tasseled program” = samtgebundenes, mit Troddeln geschmücktes Programmheft

“team mascots” = Mannschaftsmaskottchen

“wand” = Zauberstab

“gabbling loudly and excitedly” = unter lautem Geschnatter (“under loud cackling”)

“blighters” = Mistkerle

“slim” = schlank

“nasty smell” = üblen Geruch

“It was a tense moment.” = Einen Moment lang herrschte äußerste Spannung.
(“A moment long was there extreme tension.”)

“had a fight” = geprügelt

“swept over” = schweiften über

“purebloods” = Reinblüter

“slimy gits” = Schleimiges Pack

“every corner of the stands” = jede Ritze der Tribünen

A 32-letter word! It’s a number word, so it’s almost not fair, but I have to include it!
“four hundred and twenty-second Quidditch World Cup”
= vierhundertundzweiundzwanzigsten Quidditch-Weltmeisterschaft

“The spectators screamed and clapped.” = Die Zuschauer kreischten und klatschten.

“racket” = Trubel

“Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans — A Risk With Every Mouthful!”
= Bertie Botts’ Bohnen aller Geschmacksrichtungen — Russisch Roulette für Ihre Zunge!
(“Bertie Botts’ Beans of all flavor-directions — Russian Roulette for your tongue!”)

“ado” = Brimborium

“absent-mindedly shredding the shamrocks on his hat” = zerpfriemelte geistesabwesend die Kleeblätter auf seinem Hut

“vests” = Schürzen

“tumultuous applause” = tosenden Beifall

“so fast it was blurred” = so schnell flog, dass sie nur verschwommen zu sehen war

“bird of prey” = Raubvogel

“referee” = Schiedsrichter

“Chairwizard” = Vorstandszauberer

“skinny” = hagerer

“completely bald” = vollkommen kahlköpfig

“speed dial” = Geschwindigkeitsknopf

“the scarlet Quaffle” = die scharlachrote Quaffel

“the two black Bludgers” = die beiden schwarzen Klatscher

“the minuscule, winged Golden Snitch” = den winzigen, geflügelten Goldenen Schnatz

And that’s it for the pregame show! When I have lived in Germany during the World Cup, it is true that die fiebrige Erregung war höchst ansteckend.

Next week, if all goes well, I will cover the finals of the Quidditch World Cup! Here’s hoping Germany will be competing in the Fussball Weltmeisterschaft the same day!

Sonderling Sunday – Harry Potter und die Heiligtümer des Todes

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Hooray! My Harry Potter in German collection is now complete!


My son got back tonight from a Study Abroad program in Prague, and he brought me back Harry Potter und die Heiligtümer des Todes, Harry Potter #7, the only volume I didn’t have the German version of. So today’s Sonderling Sunday, of course, will begin this book.

My son pointed out right away that the title, directly translated “Harry Potter and the Hallows of Death,” sounds better than the original English title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He’s right.

And I love the way Harry on the cover looks totally like a German teen!

I’m amazed that the new volume, in paperback, actually is smaller and thinner than my English hardback. They used thin paper and small print, and there are no pictures at the chapter headings. My English book has 759 pages, and the German book 767, so there are still more pages in German, but just barely.

The first chapter title is “The Dark Lord Ascending” = Der Dunkle Lord erhebt sich

And here’s the first sentence:
“The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.”
= Die beiden Männer kamen aus dem Nichts, erschienen wenige Meter voneinander entfernt auf dem schmalen, mondhellen Weg.

“wands” = Zauberstäbe (“magic-rods”)

“The best” = Hervorragende (“Excellent”)

“brambles” = Brombeersträuchern (“Blackberry shrubs”)

“hedge” = Hecke

“impressive wrought-iron gates” = imposante schmiedeeiserne Doppeltor (“imposing smith-iron double gates”)

“footsteps” = Schritte

“peacock” = Pfau

“strutting majestically along the top of the hedge”
= der majestätisch auf der Hecke entlangstolzierte

“Gravel” = Kies

“pale-faced” = fahlgesichtigen

“heartbeat” = Herzschlag

“handle” = Türklinke (“door-handle”)

“roaring fire” = prasselnden Feuer

“handsome marble mantelpiece” = hübschen marmornen Kaminsims

“the new arrivals” = die Neuankömmlinge

“gloom” = Düsternis

“snakelike” = schlangenähnlich

“a pearly glow” = ein perlmuttartiger Glanz

“nightfall” = Einbruch der Dunkelheit

“place of safety” = sicheren Aufenthaltsort

“others fidgeted” = andere rutschten unruhig auf ihren Stühlen hin und her
(“others slid restlessly in their chairs back and forth”)

“intensity” = Eindringlichkeit

“scorched” = versengt

“curved” = krümmte

“Confundus Charm” = Verwechslungszauber (“Confusion Magic”)

“wheezy giggle” = pfeifendes Kichern

“enchantments” = Zauberbannen

“squared his shoulders” = straffte die Schultern

“Curse” = Fluch

“Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement” = Leiter der Abteilung für Magische Strafverfolgung

A 23-letter word!
“Ministry departments” = Ministeriumsabteilungen

“high-ranking” = hochrangigen

“destination” = Bestimmungsort

I’ll finish tonight with this sentence:
“That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs.”
= Dass Potter noch lebt, ist mehr meinen Irrtümern zuzuschreiben als seinen Erfolgen

I’m finishing on page 6 of the English version, Seite 14 of the German (more front matter is counted). (Interesting — the German book is 8 pages longer than the English, and that might be the difference right there.)

It’s good to be back with Sonderling Sunday! Have a hervorragende week!

Sonderling Sunday – Momo Drittes Kapitel

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books, or, in this case, the English translation of a German children’s book.


Tonight I’m back to one of my very favorite children’s books, which was originally written in German. This copy of Momo, by Michael Ende, was my very first non-food purchase when I lived in Germany.

Last time, we left off at the end of Chapter 2, so now we are at the start of Drittes Kapitel, the Third Chapter. The German title is Ein gespielter Sturm und ein wirkliches Gewitter (“A play storm and a real thunderstorm”). The English title is only “Make-believe.” I wish they had translated the chapter titles more directly!

Here are the first two sentences:
Es versteht sich wohl von selbst, daß Momo beim Zuhören keinerlei Unterschied zwischen Erwachsenen und Kindern machte. Aber die Kinder kamen noch aus einem anderen Grund so gern in das alte Amphitheater.
= “Although Momo listened to grown-ups and children with equal sympathy and attention, the children had a special reason for enjoying their visits to the amphitheater as much as they did.”
(More direct translation: “Needless to say by itself, that Momo made no difference in listening between grown-ups and children. But the children had yet another reason to so love coming to the old amphitheater.”

“They were never bored for an instant.”
= Es gab einfach keine langweiligen Augenblicke mehr.
(“There were simply no boring moments any more.”)

“ingenious suggestions” = gute Vorschläge

“One hot and sultry afternoon” = Einmal, an einem schwülen, drückenden Tag

“stone steps” = steinernen Stufen

“shrugged her shoulders” = zuckte die Schultern

“first mate” = der Erste Steuermann

“a scientist” = ein Naturforscher

“scientific expedition” = Forschungsreise (Ah! A case where the German has one tidy word for it!)

“sailors” = Matrosen

“ship of the future” = Zukunftsschiff

“living memory” = Menschengedenken

“abounded with shoals, reefs, and mysterious sea monsters”
= wimmelte hier von Untiefen, von Korallenriffen und von unbekannten Seeungeheuern

“Traveling Tornado” = Ewigen Taifun (“Eternal Typhoon”)

“unpredictable” = unberechenbar

“mighty embrace” = riesenhaften Klauen

“Traveling Tornado” = Wandernden Wirbelsturm
(This time the German is using more variation — the trend here is that the original language is more creative! The first time, Ewigen Taifun was a description of the storm. Wandernden Wirbelsturm is its name.)

“adamantium, a steel as tough and flexible as a sword blade”
= blauem Alamont-Stahl, der biegsam und unzerbrechlich war wie eine Degenklinge

“special process” = Herstellungsverfahren

“an old salt” = ein Seebär von altem Schrot und Korn (“a sea-bear from old grist and grain”)

“cross-legged” = mit untergeschlagenen Beinen

“melodious” = wohlklingenden

“crow’s nest” = Ausguck

“rope ladder” = Strickleiter

“slippery” = glitschig

“dome” = Kuppeldach

“giant jellyfish” = Riesenqualle

“tentacles” = Fangarmen

“terrible embrace” = schrecklichen Umklammerung

“jolt” = Erschütterung

“limp and lifeless” = schlaff und kraftlos

“Danger’s our trade.” = Die Gefahr ist unser Beruf.

“rescue operation” = Rettungsarbeiten

“crew” = Besatzung

“paralyzed with fear” = in Ohnmacht gefallen

“stood foursquare” = stand breitbeinig

“composure” = Kaltblütigkeit (“cold-bloodedness”)

“shaft of lightning” = Blitzstrahl

“cables and stanchions” = Stahltrossen und Eisenstangen (“steel bunches and iron rods”)

I’m going to finish up with this paragraph, a bit more dramatic in German:
Blitz auf Blitz und Donnerschlag auf Donnerschlag! Heulender Sturm! Haushohe Wogen und weißer Schaum!
= “Flashes of lightning and peals of thunder followed one another in quick succession, the wind howled, and mast-high breakers deluged everything with foam.”
(“Lightning on lightning and thunderclap on thunderclap! Howling storm! House-high waves and white foam!”)

That’s it for tonight! Now you have some handy phrases for your next sea voyage, real or imaginary, on a German ship!

Sonderling Sunday – Kapitel Siebzehn

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

It’s time — at last! — for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books!

It’s been a *very* long time since I last posted. My blog had issues, and my life was busy, the most fun part of that being that I started dating someone! Juhu!

This week, it’s back to my standby, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-fish, by James Kennedy. We left off right at the halfway point, at the beginning of Chapter Seventeen.

I do enjoy starting with the opening sentence:

“Jo and Ian sat in a gloomy parlor, waiting for an old woman to speak.”
= Jo und Ian saßen in einem dämmrigen Salon und warteten darauf, dass die alte Frau sprach.

“dim and dreary” = dämmrig und trübselig

“ancient lace drapes strangled the sunlight” = alte Spitzenvorhänge hielten das Sonnenlicht fern
(“old lace curtains held the sunlight far”)

Here’s a useful sentence:
“Jo couldn’t stop her leg from jiggling.”
= Jo konnte nicht verhindern, dass ihr Bein wippte.

“the whole enterprise” = diese ganze Angelegenheit

“insulting” = beleidigend

“the last of his enthusiasm vanished” = der letzte Rest seiner ursprünglichen Begeisterung verpuffte
(“the last remnant of his original [ancient-sprung] enthusiasm evaporated [puffed out]“)

“She was a withered noodle of a woman.” = Sie war eine vertrocknete, dürre Frau
(“She was a dried-up, withered woman.” Pooh! Lost the metaphor there.)

“thick dark veils” = dichten, dunklen Schleier (That’s kind of fun to say.)

“incredulous disdain” = ungläubiger Verachtung

“icy silence” = eisiges Schweigen

“tightly controlled rage” = mühsam beherrschter Wut
(Google translates that as “tedious dominated rage.”)

“She hooted, gurgled, and shrieked” = Sie heulte, gurgelte, und kreischte

“Hoo nelly, that’s rich!” = Nie und nimmer, das ist ja köstlich!
(“No way [Not and never], that is expensive!”)

“Oh, you can’t make this stuff up!” = Oh, so etwas kann man sich nicht mal ausdenken!

“moldy cake” = muffigen Kuchen (Oo, can’t you just see the “muffigen” cake?)

“guided” = manövrierte

“a rattling cackle” = ein schrilles Keckern

“threatening letters” = Drohbriefen

[Incredible! At this point, I finished the post -- and then WordPress ate the last part of what I posted! Urgh! I will now try to reproduce it.]

“joke quests” = albernen Aufgaben

“clouds of dust” = Staubwolken

“make my death swift and merciful” = gewähren Sie mir einen schnellen und gnädigen Tod

“villainous” = schurkischen

“Sincerely” = Mit vorzüglicher Hochachtung

“smelling salts” = Riechsalz

That’s it for tonight!

I have to add that I recently saw “Muppets Most Wanted,” and one of the funniest things (to me) was when Kermit was mistaken for a criminal mastermind frog and captured in Germany. The headlines screamed about the “Evilen Froggen”! Readers of Sonderling Sunday will know the correct translation is Böse Frosch, but of course how to translate English to German is just to stick “en” on the ends!

And look at the useful phrases we’ve learned tonight! Now if you travel to Germany and get pulled over by police, you know how to say, “Gewähren Sie mir einen schnellen und gnädigen Tod!”

May your week be the opposite of dämmrig und trübselig!

Mit vorzüglicher Hochachtung,

Sondra Eklund