Polish-English translation competition #2 (closed)

It goes without saying that our first PL-EN translation quiz did a roaring trade with Polandian readers, who rose to the challenge and guessed almost all the phrases. Some of the contestants are still picking up the pieces after the shock they suffered last week, others had sleepless nights waiting for the next round, but everyone can now try their luck in the endless translation struggle.

In the comment thread of the first competition our readers raised some questions and suggestion concerning the methodology and rules of the quiz. To dispel any doubts, I’m once again laying out the formula.

First I pick ten peculiar English words, phrases or idioms and find their Polish equivalents, then I ask you to guess what the original word is. Many of your translations might be correct, as the example of the multitude of words to describe a drunk person shows, but the additional difficulty is that you have to hit the word I have in mind. I know, I’m just checking if you know.

Now to the point…

When dealing with Poles you might sometimes come across some creatures with weird traits that may get you worked up a bit. The best way to relieve the tension* is to get everything off your chest. This method of solving the problem usually involves two phases. Before you come to blows, there’s the first phase, the foreplay, when you exchange pleasantries or, in other words, call each other names. Here are some suggestions for both Polish and English readers for words that may prove useful…

1. ciamajda – duffer (zarazek)
2. oszołom – crank (zarazek)
3. kapuś – sneak (zarazek)
4. dziwoląg – oddball (zarazek.)
5. wałkoń – loafer (zarazek)
6. mięczak – wimp (Arturwarrior)
7. babsztyl – fishwife (daa)
8. partacz – bungler (DeCoy, with little help of some machinery)
9. obibok – layabout (zarazek)
10. kurdupel – midget (Piotr)

* treat the advice above with a pinch of salt…

This time one of the contestants (take a look at the list above and guess who…) beat me with my own dictionary (to which I hadn’t resorted). In the second round it took our readers (sounds inept?) two days to get all ten words right. The foregone conclusion is that the next competition must be more challenging and dictionaries should prove helpless ;)

I congratule all winners and thank all participants. The next round shall come out on 26 May.

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34 thoughts on “Polish-English translation competition #2 (closed)

  1. DeCoy says:


    My efforts using a combination of an online translator and my internal translator in my head to then figure out what the online translator actually meant:

    1. Ninny
    2. Don’t know…
    3. Snitch
    4. Monstrosity
    5. A waster (person)
    6. Mollusc
    7. Jade
    8. Bungler
    9. Lazy-bones
    10. Don’t know…

  2. Bartek says:

    grrr… if an online translator coped with one out of ten (8) it must be too easy…

  3. Piotr says:

    1. ciamajda – flappy hands
    2. oszołom – nut case
    3. kapuś – rat, snitch
    4. dziwoląg – weirdo
    5. wałkoń – bum, lead swinger
    6. mięczak – softie (amer. could be diesel)
    7. babsztyl – tom boy
    8. partacz – bungler, botcher
    9. obibok – lazybones
    10. kurdupel – midget (not as derogatory but fits the bill with an f… in front)

  4. island1 says:

    3. kapuś – If it’s not ‘snitch’ how about ‘weasel’ or ‘stool pigeon’ ?

  5. Beata says:

    Here’s my interpretation:

    1. ciamajda – clumsy, all thumbs

    2. oszolom – insanity

    7. babsztyl – hag

    10. kurdupel – shorty

    Great fun, Bartek. Thanks!

  6. Bartek says:

    I could agree with most of the suggestions, but you managed to hit only the last one

  7. Bartek says:

    how about trying harder? it’s akin to ‘snitch’…

  8. Bartek says:

    all thumbs could be good as mający dwie lewe ręce

    glad to hear it ;)

  9. arturwarrior says:

    2. oszołom – nutter(Nick Clegg’s description of Law and Justice party :I), freak

  10. arturwarrior says:

    4. dziwoląg – could have been “freak” too.

  11. arturwarrior says:

    7 – babsztyl (old)cow

  12. arturwarrior says:

    6. mięczak – wimp

  13. TomekPoptart says:

    1. ciamajda – klutz
    2. oszołom – nutcase, lunatic
    3. kapuś – snitch
    4. dziwoląg -weirdo, wacko
    5. wałkoń – slacker
    6. mięczak – wimp
    7. babsztyl – hag
    8. partacz – screw-up
    9. obibok -loafer
    10. kurdupel – shorty

  14. scatts says:


    BTW – didn’t we have the hag before?

  15. Agnieszka says:

    OK I’ll give it a go, even though I’m a translator and not a mind reader :-)

    1. ciamajda = klutz (although the politically correct term would be someone who is dyspraxic :-)), butterfingers, numbnuts
    2. oszołom = nutcase, bigot, Jesus freak (I guess this one’s the equivalent of ‘moherowy beret’ :-))
    3. kapuś = snitch, tattletale
    4. dziwoląg = weirdo, freak
    5. wałkoń = drone
    6. mięczak = pussy (or ‘wuss’ if you want to be more polite)
    7. babsztyl = battle-axe, harpy, shrew
    8 – someone else got it
    9. obibok = slacker, couch potato
    10 – again, someone else beat me to the draw

  16. Bartek says:

    nobody got the babsztyl right, hence I repeated the query…

  17. Bartek says:

    some nice suggestions, this one is right ;)

  18. Bartek says:

    thanks you for all contrubutions, and please don’t repeat what someone else has said and what is not on the constantly updated list.

    Snitch is OK, weirdo as well, but it ain’t that simple…

  19. dangoth says:

    1. klutz
    2. nutjob
    3. tattletale

  20. wildphelps says:

    3. kapus – narc or fink?
    4. dziwolag – freak
    5. walkon – lazy bones
    7. babsztyl – bitch

  21. Bartek says:

    Some of your suggestions are spot-on, e.g. slacker, lazy-bones, freak, yet they’re not the ones I’m angling for… ;)

    To ease your pain, some hints:
    – you gueesed one of the words, but it didn’t match the correct Polish word,
    – third and ninth are very similar to the ones you’ve already mentioned
    babsztyl has something to do with an animal living in water
    – first, second and sixth words begin with one of first six letters of alphabet

    Hope the hints made it even more complicated.

  22. zarazek says:

    Here are my guesses:

    1. ciamajda – duffer, slouch, lemon, booby
    2. oszołom – crank, loony
    3. kapuś – sneak
    4. dziwoląg – oddball, oddity
    5. wałkoń – idler,
    7. babsztyl – if it’s not cow, then I don’t know
    9. obibok – skiver

  23. Kuba says:

    In case anyone is interested or knows someone who is there is a group PMI (Polish Media Issues) that fights for the correct reapresentation of the Poles in the war.

    Point them at http://www.supportpoland.org/PMI.html or give them my e-mail address.
    Jan Niechwiadowicz

    Polish Media Issues fights for making sure the Poles are correctly portrayed in history
    and articles.


  24. daa says:



  25. Bartek says:

    four hits, I’m speechless

  26. Bartek says:


    the correct answers come in staggering pace…

  27. zarazek says:

    Me too. If anyone wants, I can recommend a good dictionary :)

  28. zarazek says:

    Is loafer the word you’re looking for for obibok?

  29. zarazek says:

    Grrr. no, not obibok. I meant wałkoń.

  30. zarazek says:

    So, once again:
    wałkoń – loafer

    and one more guess:
    obibok – layabout

    Am I correct?

  31. Arturwarrior says:

    9. obibok – deadbeat

  32. Bartek says:

    Is it the same dictionary as the one on the picture above? I looked up the words I had chosen and to my amazement, almost all translations all in PWN Oxford. What a blunder…

  33. zarazek says:

    Yeh, PWN Oxford, only I use the computer version.

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