January 30, 2013

"A man is only as old as the woman he can feel inside of him trying to express herself."

A translation of the French that was itself a translation of "You’re only as old as the woman you feel" — an old Groucho Marx joke — which had been given as an example of an untranslatable sentence.

41 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Reminds me of a favorite one-panel comic. Two guys at a café table, and one is saying "Do you not be happy with me as the translator of the books of you?"

Fprawl said...

I enjoyed the interaction with the lab Technician from Belarus in the research lab yesterday.
She thought I was there to see her papers (safety records) but was pleased when I told her I was there to roust the lab next to her.
“She was off the hook.”
We had a great time pantomiming to the point where she figured out she was the fish that got away.

ricpic said...

La plume de ma tant ecrit merde.

EDH said...

A man is only as old as the woman he can feel inside of him trying to express herself.

"Let's back up... Why did you put your finger in my ass?"

NSFW.

edutcher said...

In either case, sounds like Madonna.

David Davenport said...

France24 sez::

30 JANUARY 2013 - 10H34
More housework, less sex for married men: study

A man lights a gas stove on January 6, 2009. Husbands who spend more time doing traditionally female chores -- such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping -- reported having less sex than those who do more masculine tasks, according to a study in the American Sociological Review.
AFP - The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say: the more housework married men do, the less sex they have, according to a new study published Wednesday.

Husbands who spend more time doing traditionally female chores -- such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping -- reported having less sex than those who do more masculine tasks, said the study in the American Sociological Review.

...


http://www.france24.com/en/20130130-more-housework-less-sex-married-men-study

Shouting Thomas said...

The Groucho line came up last night, as edutcher, Inga and I were conducting an insult clinic.

I don't think Groucho was trying to interpret the French.

I suspect he was being quite literal, if funny.

Baron Zemo said...

I once saw a French version of "Braveheart."

When William Wallace was in front of his army and said "Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!"

The French translated it as "I surrender."

Paul said...

"You’re only as old as the woman you feel"

Ever thought that means as old as the woman YOU are feeling up?

I mean, lots of old geezers like to date young women!

Shouting Thomas said...

Before you go off half cocked, read Fred's advice for old geezers who like to date young women.

Ignore the spelling errors. Apparently, Fred doesn't use a spell checker.

chickelit said...

Pure translation is hard to keep straight and feels the yaw, pitch and roll of linguistic friction.

Tibore said...

If the woman is inside of him, then he's doing it wrong.

... wait. What?

Inga said...

My first reaction too..... Huh, whaaaat?

Chip S. said...

Ever thought that means as old as the woman YOU are feeling up?

By any chance, are a translator?

Surfed said...

Absolutely no comment.

Strelnikov said...

That does sound like the French. Particularly their military.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Mr. Marx must have had a prostate in fine fettle to be so optimistic.

Chip Ahoy said...

This me interest big.

Starting off, was the problem that he didn't have enough fish-related words in his French vocabulary to match the fish-related words used in the book? The problem wasn't clear to me other than there being a lot of fish and the author not liking fish so much. Were puns the problem?

¿Qué hacen los peces?

*shrugs* Nada.

My first joke, isn't it cute? What do fish do? Nothing / they swim. It's a first grade level thing.

ASL does not use "to be" verbs so essential in other languages. Did I mention this already the other day? I was thinking about that. Stop me if I did.

So when a person says "Are you okay?" Right off the use of the word "are" indicates they do not speak ASL but rather put English directly into signs, and it's going to be a very long slog. It appears overly fancy and amusingly archaically redundant. Are, am, is, was -- all very silly.

Seems that's a very hard bump to get over because I see it all over the place.

"Was" and "will" are used as markers at the beginning of the sentence. Like the Spanish upside down question mark. The signs mean "past" and "future", flip flip over the shoulder means "okay now this happened in the past" and then you proceed in present indicative, and the karate chop past the ear and forward means "will happen."

If someone were to translate my English, they'd would probably start at fixing all the carelessly mismatched tenses. I do this in English too, start out in the past and switch to present, it's how I see it so it's how I say it, and that's wrong in English.

If you said literally "was" the word for that is a "W" at the lips pulled away to an "S," then that falls into the category of going directly from fancy English and not visualizing and speaking ASL, you're automatically the special case that everyone has to slow down for.

There are signs for those "to be" words, but to speak about them not to use them, because they are not useful. They actually are redundant. <-- just like it is in that sentence. In English, you'd be underlined in green for a verbless sentence and yet the verb is contained in the action of the sign "same" for the English word "redundant" or in the sign "again" for the English word "repeated" for the corresponding phrase in ASL "they true same," the word "same" is a repeated movement: this "Y" that "Y".  Y Y   boink boink, as well as in the sign for "again."

So if started in ASL to put that in English, what would you do? You do not interpret that "sameo-sameo" movement literally, but improve it as the author said. You have to reach for and provide the English word "redundant." Because you would not ever see that spelled out in ASL, not when you have the motions for "again" and for "same" and those correspond with the concept expressed by the English word "redundancy." Come'on, make your guy look good.

Crunchy Frog said...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

I originally read this as "The road to hell is paved with good intercourse".

This may or may not be true, depending upon the circumstances.

traditionalguy said...

The scent of a woman was what Al Pacino said he wanted. But Groucho has a better aphorism.

I am sorry to hear that most Chinese young men have no Chinese young women available for them to touch today.

The old style Mormons did the same thing to their young men.

Jaske said...

The Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.
The Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Crunchy Frog said...

"You’re only as old as the woman you feel"

Ever thought that means as old as the woman YOU are feeling up?

I mean, lots of old geezers like to date young women!


Duh. If you're still getting it on with 20-year-olds, it doesn't matter what it says on *your* driver's license.

Clyde said...

Obviously this was what Tim Mathieson (the domestic partner of Australian PM Julia Gillard) had in mind the other day when talking about finding a "small, Asian female doctor" to do your prostate exam. He had to subsequently apologize (or "apologise") for his politically incorrect statement, of course.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Lost in translation. Not just a joking term. Anyone who has had to read technical manuals or technical financial analysis that has been translated from Japanese (for example) knows the pain of trying to figure out what they are trying to say.

Sometimes it is hilarious...other times is is just "wut???"

Dust Bunny Queen said...

it is. not is is. Derp.

Chip S. said...

Clyde, I think what he had in mind was a happy ending.

urpower said...

Similar to a 1960s formulation: "The woman most desperately in need of liberation is the ‘woman’ every man has locked up in the dungeons of his own psyche." -Theodore Roszak

Clyde said...

There's probably a Sen. Menendez angle here, too. I just read that the FBI supposedly raided the Florida clinic of a doctor connected to the alleged Menendez underage-hookers-in-Dominican-Republic story. when I read that story, I wondered if it was the same one that A-Fraud and the other baseball players were allegedly using to get HGH and other PEDs.

Menendez's story appears to be another cautionary tale about not being a cheapskate, like the Secret Service guys who were busted when they didn't give their hookers all of the money they were promised. In the Menendez story, the women were allegedly promised $500 apiece and only given $100 each. I read once that prostitutes are not just paid for providing sexual favors, but also to go away quietly afterward. "Stiffing" them on payment greatly reduces the chances of the latter.

whoresoftheinternet said...

There's no translation for leftism into logic, either.

The leftist world is one best described by Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets, in describing how he draws women so well in the novels he writes:

"I think of a man. Then I remove reason, and accountability."

No wonder women love leftism. It's completely right up their brainless alleys!

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The films of Denys Arcand from Québec are full of great puns, completely untraceable. I remember watching his Invasions Barbares (2004, Academy Award, Best Foreign Film) with my two sons here in Kansas.

They were raised in Québec with French as their primary language. People kept looking at us as we laughed uproariously over puns and jokes that never came through in the subtitles.

One example from this Roman-themed film. There is a scene in Late Republic Rome when the power-hungry protagonist dies at the most intense moment of fellatio.

Of which his friends said -- and the subtitles are particularly miserable here -- Il voulut être César, mais il ne fut que pompé. "He wanted to be Caesar, but was only Pompei." Except "pompé" means to have a blow job: pompé = pumped.

Shouting Thomas said...

Nothing is funny in whore's universe!

Saving the world is a hell of a chore.

bagoh20 said...

Thanks EDH. People at work are asking what I'm laughing about. "Nothing."

Baron Zemo said...

First of all it is homophobic to refer to woman at all.

Get with the program.

Inga said...

ST, it's tough hard thankless work waiting for decline!

Baron Zemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clyde said...

@ EDH

If the Amazon purchase of the day ends up being the Lucky Louie DVD, that would be me. Somehow I missed it back in 2006...

Sam L. said...

Translation, she no work so good to me.

Basta! said...

Althouse, thanks for the link, both the article and many of the comments to it are amusing.

Bart Hall, on the untranslated (untranslatable?) pun of pompé-Pompei vis-à-vis Caesar. That's a scream, I would never had caught it on my own.

Bob R said...

I'm sorry, but a bad doublebablefish doesn't mean the sentence is not translatable. If a translation exists it is a pun about sex that plays on a familiar French aphorism about age. A "good" translation isn't bound by the English aphorism and certainly isn't bound by the double meaning of "feel" in English. Translating jokes is always nonlinear.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm sorry, but a bad doublebablefish doesn't mean the sentence is not translatable."

The essay is not about mechanized translations, but real people trying to translate books. The author teaches a course in translation.

I think it's unlikely Babelfish would have produced that translation.

Craig said...

The only way to translate Finnegan's Wake into English is by teaching your ear to hear it in an Irish brogue. You have to make sound sense and sense sound kin again. Can that be done with Chinese characters?

Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Tibet and Mongolia all use Chinese characters. But they don't really sound much like Mandarin. And if it could be oesterized into something readable, what would it tell the Chinese about Ireland's history?