Sonderling Sunday – Sonderlinge Kapitel 19

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I look at the German translation of children’s books and devise a Useful Phrasebook for Very Silly Travelers.

This week, it’s back to the book that started it all, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James Kennedy, The Order of Odd-Fish.

Sonderlinge 2

After years of doing this, we are up to Chapter 19 in the book (out of 28). I can safely say that I have not given spoilers. I see the sentences I choose as teasers. Who can possibly resist wanting to read a book containing such choice and useful sentences?

For example, have fun imagining a scenario where you would need to know the translation of the very first sentence in the chapter:
“The next month it was Jo and Ian’s turn to groom the ostriches.”
= Im nächsten Monat fiel Jo und Ian die Aufgabe zu, die Strauße zu pflegen.
(“In the next month fell Jo and Ian the assignment to, the ostriches to maintain.”)

“nested” = nisteten

“came and went as they pleased” = sie kamen und gingen, wie es ihnen gefiel

“banking and swooping raucously over the water”
= wo sie genüsslich über dem Wasser kreisten, hinabstießen und wieder aufstiegen
(“where they pleasurably over the water circled, came down and again went up”)

“their armor glittering in the sun”
= Ihre Rüstungen glitzerten in der Sonne.

“nasty, smelly work” = widerliche, stinkende Arbeit

“embarrassed” = geschämt

“dirty plumage” = schmutzigen Gefieders

“ragged feathers” = zerrupften Federn

“prune their talons” = ihre Krallen reinigen

Perhaps you shouldn’t use this to describe a friend:
“proud, stupid eyes” = stolzen, dummen Augen

“colorful regalia” = bunten Insignien

Hmmm. I would have thought this was straight from the German.
“fledgling” = flügge

“cranky personality” = leicht reizbaren Persönlichkeit
(“slightly irritable personality”)

“slightly offended” = ein bisschen beleidigt

“sparkling, foamy sea” = funkelnde, schäumende See

“zigzagging through the maze of buildings”
= im Zickzack durch das Labyrinth der Gebäude

And who knows when you might need to say this?
“racing wild pterodactyls in the fens outside of town”
= lieferte sich mit den wilden Flugsauriern in dem außerhalb der Stadt gelegenen Sumpf Wettrennen
(“delivered herself with the wild Fly-osaurs in the outside of the city lying swamp races”)

“rambling farmhouses” = verstreute Bauernhöfe

“tidy fields of crops” = ordentliche Getreidefelder

Of course Germans have a word for this:
“half-collapsed castle” = Schlossruine

I found a missing phrase in the translation! In the sentence, “When it got too hot in the city, Jo, Ian, and Nora would climb on their ostriches, Audrey would hold on to Ian’s back, and they would fly out to a deserted beach where a river streamed out into the ocean, near a decaying mansion overgrown with weeds.” It’s missing the phrase “near a decaying mansion overgrown with weeds.” Here’s the translation:
Wenn es in der Stadt zu heiß wurde, stiegen Jo, Ian und Nora auf ihre Strauße. Audrey setzte sich auf den von Ian und hielt sich an ihm fest, und so flogen sie hinaus zu einem verlassenen Strand, wo ein Fluss in den Ozean mündete.

“chasing the crabs” = jagten Krabben

And may you find a need to use this sentence:
“Those days were close to perfect.”
= Diese Tage waren nahezu vollkommen.

“specter” = das Gespenst

“keep at bay” = in Schach halten (“in check [chess] keep”)

“just by immersing herself in everyday life”
= indem sie sich einfach nur um ihren Alltag kümmerte

“crowd” = Menschenmenge

“thinnest piece of tissue” = hauchdünnen Papierwand (“hint-thin paper-wall”)

That’s all for tonight! May it be said of you this week, Diese Tage waren nahezu vollkommen.


  1. Sondra! Good gravy, it has been years, hasn’t it? And it now looks like the end is actually in sight! It’s pretty amazing that you’ve come so far, and found so many choice phrases to share…. and uncovered the occasional error (that missing sentence!) I do love that the Germans have a word for “half-collapsed castle.”

    1. Yeah, Schlossruine is a word I’m completely familiar with, since during the 10 years I lived in Germany, I “collected” castles — counting the ones I touched. I got 167 (not all German, but mostly). Really, the translator should have used “Burgruine,” because “Schlossruine” is more “Palace ruins” than “Castle ruins,” and the sign you see next to your basic half-collapsed castle says “Burgruine,” but it’s close enough to not really be an error. I usually don’t choose the phrases I know well, but that word’s an old familiar friend. Of course, you *could* have said “castle ruins” rather than “half-collapsed castles,” but I think the latter suits your style better. Maybe the translator was just going with style, too. 🙂

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