Sonderling Sunday – Lost in the Sackgassen

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, creating the phrase book you never knew you needed!

This week, we’re back with the lovely bizarre phrases of James Kennedy‘s The Order of Odd-Fish, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge.

(Though does James Kennedy still exist?!? His latest blog post leaves some doubt.)

Last time, we left off on page 189, Seite 238 auf Deutsch.

I like this better in German, somehow:
“actors in costumes” = Schauspieler in Kostümen

“her eyes blazing” = ihre Augen glühten

“stalked off” = marschierte dann steifbeinig (“marched then stiff-boned”)

“glumly” = mürrisch

“babbling” = herausgesprudelt (“here-out-bubbled”)

“sneaky” = hinterhältig

“crowds” = Menschenmenge

“caught in snarls of traffic” = blieben häufiger im Verkehrsgewühl stecken

“baffled” = verblüfft

“suspected” = argwöhnen

This must have been fun to translate!
“Snoodsbottom” = Bilgental (“Bilge Valley”)

“hewn” = hineingehauen

“luminous fungus” = schimmernde Pilze und Flechten (“shimmering mushrooms and lichen”)

“gloomy” = dämmrig

“long lean man” = groβer, schlanker Mann

“dead end” = Sackgasse (“sack-alley”)

“frustrating circles” = frustrierenden Kreisen

“She silently fumed” = Sie kochte vor Wut, blieb aber stumm
(“She cooked for anger, but stayed silent.”)

“Jo’s mood had soured” = Jos Laune gelitten hatte

“crammed” = überfüllte (“overfilled”)

“convoluted” = unübersichtliche (“un-oversightly”)

“creepers” = Kriechpflanzen (“creep-plants”)

“sweaty, dismal heat” = schweiβtreibenden, widerlichen Hitze

“spiced with heavy incense” = von Weihrauch geschwängert (“from incense pregnant”)

I love the way in German this looks like a normal word:
“lizard-dogs” = Echsenhunden

“cobbled street” = Pflastersteine (“plaster-stones”)

“runners” = Kufen

“bounding past” = vorbeihetzten

“almost running them over” = sie fast umrempelten

“barking and howling” = bellend und heulend

“crouched” = kauerte

“shuddered” = fröstelte

I’m going to finish with this dramatic sentence:
“just as a horrible moistening sound came from behind her and a boneless arm wrapped itself up her leg.”
= Im selben Moment hörte sie hinter sich ein schreckliches schmatzendes Geräusch und ein knochenloser Arm schlang sich um ihr Bein.

May you have no occasions to cook for anger this week!

5 Responses to “Sonderling Sunday – Lost in the Sackgassen”

  1. “Bilge Valley” for “Snoodsbottom”! Holy canneoli! That’s great. And “She cooked for anger, but stayed silent” is top-notch too! These transliterations back into English are just as pleasurable as the German translations. And I too like how in German Echsenhunden looks like a real word. Great installment!

    • Good, James, you’re still with us! :) Your blog post made me sorely tempted to look up the translations — you always use choice phrases. What, I wonder, is the German translation of an SUBLIMELY UNHOLY GESTALT or SERAPHIC ARCHWRAITH ?

      • I’d love to know the German for those too! (Although “gestalt” is already German . . . ? Sounds German, at least.)

        The Lemony Snicket event went well, but I had to follow him, instead of opening for him, and to follow Daniel Handler (instead of opening for him) is to set oneself up for failure. But I managed to soldier my way through it, and puzzle some children.

        • Yes, indeed Gestalt is German, meaning “shape” or “form.” So for SUBLIMELY UNHOLY GESTALT, Google gives me “erhaben unheilige Form.” For SERAPHIC ARCHWRAITH, Google can’t cope. Go figure.

  2. [...] Last time, we left off on page 193, which is Seite 244 auf Deutsch. We ended with a fairly dramatic sentence, so this week let’s begin with the next one, also dramatic: [...]

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