Sonderling Sunday – into the Dome of Doom

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 book that started it all, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, otherwise known as The Order of Odd-fish, by James Kennedy.

Sonderlinge 1

Last time we left off on page 254 in the English edition, Seite 321 auf Deutsch. So you see, we are now significantly past the halfway point.

As usual, I’m hoping that seeing James Kennedy’s unusual turns of phrase in bits and pieces will entice you into reading the book — tantalizing rather than spoiling, even though we’re pretty far along into the story.

(Ian is playing pool:)
“Ian returned to his shot.”
= Ian knozentrierte sich wieder auf seinen Stoß.
(“Ian concentrated himself again on his impact.”)

Here’s a useful word to know!
“prig” = Moralapostel (“moral-apostle”)

“his arms crossed” = und verschränkte die Arme
(“and folded his arms”)
I have to wonder if verschränkte meaning “folded” has anything to do with the fact that a Schrank is a large cupboard for clothes. So if you’re folding something you’re For-Schranking it. (Even if that’s not where it came from, it’s a good way to remember it.)

“dreadful electricity” = schrecklichen Spannung
(Google Translate: “terrible tension”)

“bashful” = verschüchtert

“judgmental” = abfällig

“invincible” = unbesiegbar

“you get in some mess” = steckst bis zum Hals in der Klemme
(“stick up to the neck in the terminal”)

“and I have to clean it up for you”
= und ich soll die Sache für dich ausbügeln
(“and I should the matter for you iron out”)

“Shut up!” = Haltet die Klappe!

Interesting translation variant:
“I’m sick of your arguing, both of you!”
= Eure Streitereien gehen mir auf die Nerven. Ihr beide geht mir auf die Nerven!
(“Your quarrels go on my nerves. You both go on my nerves!”)

“warehouses” = Lagerhäusern

More picturesque language is interesting in translation:
“The rain bucketed down, churning the puddles into mist”
= Es regnete wie aus Eimern, so stark, dass die Pfützen schäumen
(“It rained like out of buckets, so strong, that the puddles foamed”)

“splashed down the unlit streets” = durch die unbeleuchteten Straßen wateten
(“through the unlit streets waded”)

“heaps of scrap metal” = Schrotthaufen (“scrap heap”)

“unmarked door” = unauffälligen Tür

“squished noisily” = quietschten laut

“assembly line” = Fließband (“flow-band”)

“put on a brave face” = tapfer zu wirken (“bravely to act”)

Sadly, not as much of a ring to it in German:
“the Dome of Doom” = der Dom des Todes

We’ll leave Ian and Jo in the Dome of Doom for this week.

Bis später!


  1. “prig” = Moralapostel (“moral-apostle”)! That’s delicious! I would never want to give up the pithy power of “prig” but “Moralapostel” is deliciously damning. Love this series!

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