Category Archives: LANGUAGE

Polish-English Translation competition #9 (closed)

The heat(ing) is on, the new President has been sworn in, holiday period is drawing to a close. Life provides us with plenty of situations when we can we hear some drivel. To help deal with this and overcome the absurdities let’s tackle another dose of linguistic puzzles.

1. świrować – to go bananas (EM)
2. opowiadać duby smalone – to taletell (-)
3. wyzionąć ducha – to give up the ghost (Name)
4. opowiadać dyrdymały – talk bilge (Island1)
5. na haju – spaced out (Steve)
6. bujda na resorach – a cock-and-bull story (EM)
7. coś diabli wzięli – to go up in smoke (Island1)
8. trajkotać – to jabber (Steve)
9. w granicach rozsądku – within reason (Steve)
10. bez ładu i składu – without rhyme and reason (EM)

I’m sure the list above was compiled bez ładu i składu…

Enjoy anyway!

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Polish-English translation competition #8 (closed)

Ladies and Gentlemen…

The expression above is surely not the most appropriate way of addressing you, as today’s competition revolves around impolite and foul language. The last competition, over the course of which some of the contestants were subtly insulted, blended with the recent dress code post have conjured up a really explosive mixture. Don’t bridle at some of the phrases below please and enjoy the quiz!

1. gumka – johhny (Littleivory)
2. zadupie – back of beyond (Kasia)
3. puszczać pawia – to break wind (arturwarrior)
4. farmazony – double Dutch (Littleivory)
5. zasadzić komuś z bańki – to headbutt (arturwarrior)
6. odwal się – drop dead (Littleivory)
7. mieć coś w nosie – do not give a damn about sth (arturwarrior)
8. wyżerka – blowout (daa)
9. obcyndalać się – to doss about (Steve)
10.wyżej s*a niż d*pę ma – toffee-nosed (Steve)

Good lack!

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Polish-English Translation Competition #7 (closed)

I recently read some official PL->EN (mis)translations (guess if they were drawn up by a native speaker) and wondered if it would be advisable to run at least one competition in which instead on colloqialisms we would focus on lingo – financial, legal, etc. At the moment I am wary of this stillborn idea. Besides, I would be glad to get any feedback from you on what you make of running next translation competitions. I am not short of more-or-less challenging words and idioms, but as I observe, the popularity of translation competitions is on decline.

Anyway, the leitmotiv of my second competition was “calling people names” or something like this, I’m too lazy to check it right now.  Given the abundance of expressions languages have to describe miscellaneous types of weirdos, we would have to hold at least a dozen contests to cover them exhaustively. But today let’s try to find translations of only next 10 such phrases. Here we go!

1. ćpun – junkie (Maggie)
2. kanalia – scum (Michael Dembinski)
3. zołza – hog (scatts)
4. popychadło – doormat (Maggie)
5. niezła d*pa – a (fine) piece of ass / arse (PMK)
6. pirat drogowy – road hog (Decoy)
7. bachor – brat (PMK)
8. równy gość – regular guy (scatts)
9. stary piernik – (old) fogey (Maggie)
10. grafoman – scribbler (Maggie)

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Polish-English Translation competition #6 (closed)

Hey, this time you can’t tell me election fever is not yet on the wane!

I have mixed feelings about the fifth competition. I fully realised it would be difficult to guess most of the idioms, but I didn’t expect it would turn out to be that ghastly. I concede it was really challenging, but on the other hand this is what the translation competitions are all about – there’s no fun when one contestant guesses five out of ten words and the competition is closed after two days.

I’d be glad if you told me what you make of it. My own conclusion is that when I pick phrases I should strike a balance between complexity and simplicity.

The sixth round also abounds in colloquialisms and is a follow-up of the fifth one, but this time it’s going to be a tad easier. As Wildphelps suggested, I some phrases are supplemented with a context in which they should be used. Maybe this move will help ambiguity disappear…

1. czuć się jak nowonarodzony – to feel like a new man (Steve)
2. baby z dziadeM brakuje (used to describe a place) – everything but the kitchen sink (ella)
3. żyć ponad stan (might refer to individuals, governments, social groups) – to live beyond one’s means (Steve)
4. mieć psi obowiązek coś zrobić – to be duty bound to do sth (Steve)
5. w stroju Adama (used to describe a man) – in one’s birthday suit (Kasia)
6. bez groszA przy duszy (British and American variants possible)  – without a penny / cent to one’s name (Steve)
7. dawać komuś fory – to give sb a head start (arturwarrior)
8. połknąć bakcyla – to get into the spirit of sth (-)
9. pępek świata (it’s not a place) – the hub of the universe (Maggie)
10. rusz głową! – use your nut (island1)

Have fun!

Note: Internet says one thing about pepek świata, the most reputable dictionary by PWN says another… Gnash…

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Polish-English Translation competition #5 (closed)

Election fever is on the wane, things are getting back to normal and Polandian hits you with the next bi-weekly set of puzzling phrases.

Learners of both Polish and English surely have reached, or are going to reach, a certain level of fluency in a foreign language where basic communication is not the main thing that matters. At that stage in order to move ahead you need to get to grips with colloquialisms, understand puns and, sometimes, read between the lines.

In everyday situations we often want to express ideas that can be easily conveyed in informal language, but we realise this can be hardly ever learned at school — we are on the spot and communication breakdown is imminent.

Today’s set includes ten very colloquial phrases that you might hear (as a foreigner) or might want to use (as a Pole) in a casual conversation.

I hope you’ll find the idioms below particularly useful.

1. pilnuj interesu! – mind the store (Filip)
2. wikt i opierunek – board and lodging (Maggie)
3. złożyć coś do lamusa – consign sth to the dustbin (Maggie)
4. kupować na kreskę – to buy sth on account (Maggie)
5. odcedzić kartofelki – to take a leak (Filip)
6. kaktus mi wyrośnie – I’m a Dutchman (ella)
7. jechać po bandzie – not pull any punches / pull no punches (Maggie)
8. wypluj to słowo – perish the thought (ella)
9. robić coś na spontan – to play it by ear (Maggie)
10. odpicowany – spick and span (ella)

Good luck

PS. None of the phrases was used in Dom Zły…

That was a rough ride…

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