Sonderling Sunday – Dithering and Smell-Songs

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.

Sonderlinge 1

This week, we’re back to James Kennedy‘s Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-Fish

Last time, we left off on page 226 in the English version, Seite 285 in the German edition. The very next paragraph begins with a lovely sentence for translation. Why isn’t this in every phrasebook, anyway?

“Sir Oliver showed them around his observatory, packed with telescopes, star charts, and whirring machines.”
= Sir Oliver führte sie durch sein Observatorium, das vollgestopft war mit Teleskopen, Sternenkarten und surrenden Apparaturen.

(I like “packed” = full-ge-stuffed, I mean vollgestopft.)

“first-rate dithering”
= erstklassig sinnlose Arbeiten (“first-class senseless work”)

(Why am I not surprised that German doesn’t have a word for “dithering”?)

Another good sentence to know:
“I keep all the equipment broken, so I can fiddle with it for hours.”
= Ich sorge zum Beispiel dafür, dass die Instrumente alle kaputt sind, damit ich stundenlang daran herumdilettieren kann.

Oh, here’s a word for dither:
“dither” = tändeln

“exploring” = herumzustreifen

“crawlspaces” = Kriechräume

“peephole” = Guckloch

I like the way this uses English:
“matching pajamas” = Partnerlook-Pyjamas

“sly look” = schelmische Miene

“homemade” = selbst gebaute (“self-built”)

“rubber tubes” = Gummischläuchen

“a wild, looping jig” = eine wilde, hüpfende Gigue

Don’t you think you’ll need to say this if you’re ever in Germany?
“huffing and snorting with gusto” = voller Genuss keuchte und schnaubte

“attempts” = entpuppten

“smell-songs” = Duftliedern

“scales” = Tonleiter (“tone-ladders”)

“clumping up the stairs” = die Treppe hinaufstampfte

“embarrassing and strange” = peinlich und seltsam

And I will finish that section with:
“the picture of happiness” = die Verkörperung von Glückseligkeit

One Response to “Sonderling Sunday – Dithering and Smell-Songs”

  1. Loving this series! And especially loving that German doesn’t have a word for “dither.” Of course not!

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