Sonderling Sunday – Inside 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 we’re continuing the saga found in Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, otherwise known as The Order of Odd-fish, by James Kennedy.

Last time, we left Jo and Ian at the entrance to the Dome of Doom, on page 256 in the original English version, Seite 325 auf Deutsch.

We’ll continue just looking at some interesting and handy phrases to know. I think of this as an extremely silly traveler’s phrasebook, and hope to tantalize you into reading the original books as well. (Such juicy phrases are found in James Kennedy’s writing!)

This one rolls off the tongue in German:
“a great spherical arena” = eine riesige runde Arena

This one is interestingly brief:
“cage of iron grillwork” = Gitterkäfig (“grill-cage”)

“gaps” = Lücken

This is almost onomatopoetic:
“dim and seedy” = dämmrig und schmuddelig

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but still enjoy it:
“centipede” = Tausendfüßler

And here’s a word I challenge you to use in a sentence:
“eelmen” = Aalmänner

“rougher” = rauer

“queasy feeling” = unbehagliche Gefühl

“grimaced” = verzog die Lippen (“twisted the lips”)

“Knock yourself out” = Bedien dich ruhig (“Help yourself calm”)

“a gloved fist” = eine behandschuhte Faust

“ferocious man” = wild dreinblickenden Mann

“ornate” = prunkvollen (“pageantry-full”)

“slumped” = plumpsen

“gangster” = Ganove

Oops! I caught a quote attributed to the wrong speaker!
“‘Ah, a connoisseur,’ said Jo.” is translated as:
»Ah, eine Genießerin«, bemerkte Ian.

And Germans are even more violent in wishing luck:
“Break a leg” = Hals- und Beinbruch (“Neck-and leg-break”)

“sleazy and glamorous” = schmierig und glamourös

“criminals, spongers, and addicts” = Kriminellen, Schmarotzer und Süchtigen

“jinxjuice” = Hexensaft

“marigolds” = Ringelblume

Here’s a nice long word:
= Meinungsverschiedenheiten

“crash of cymbals and gongs” = Scheppern von Becken und Gongs

And I’ll stop just as the fighting begins, with a sentence where it’s interesting what they don’t translate:
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the DOME OF DOOM!”
= Wilkommen, ladies and gentlemen, im Dom des Todes!

1 comment

  1. “jinxjuice” = Hexensaft! That’s a very felicitous translation! But I wonder if “und Beinbruch” (“Neck-and leg-break”) has the same meaning as “break a leg” in English, or if it’s just a transliteration? In any case, well done catching the misattribution of »Ah, eine Genießerin« !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *