Sunday, August 31, 2008

I want to break free

Today, my friend Astrid told me, on Yahoo messenger, that she is going home to, literally, "eat littles". To an unaccustomed ear, this may sound odd; yet, a person with the sense of humour who also speaks Romanian language, will know that she went home to eat "mici", or "mititei" - literally, "littles". These are sausage-shaped hamburgers one would eat with mustard and bread, and water them down with beer. They are called "littles" most likely in the same spirit as the Spanish "bocadillas". The history of the "littles" reminded me of my childhood, when my sister and I were trying to translate Romanian expressions as "word by word" as possible and - consequently - as out of context as possible. "Bataie de joc" was being translated as "beating of game"; "L-a facut cu ou si otet" turned into "he made him with egg and vinegar"; "si-a dat arama pe fata" into "he gave his copper on the face". The opposite was valid, too; sometimes in the early 1990's, Divertis - a popular humour group - translated Queen's song, "I want to break free" into Romanian: "Eu vreau sa sparg liber", i.e., "I want to break things in a free manner". Well, here is a great list of song titles translated into Romanian:
Pretty fly for a white guy - O musca draguta pentru un tip alb
take a bow- ia un arc
Sugar, we're going down swinging - Zahar, ne ducem in jos balansandu-ne
Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For The Two Of Us - Miere, oglinda asta nu e destul de mare pentru noi doi
Scar tissue - Servetelul cicatrice
Champagne Super Nova - Dacia supernova cu motor pe sampanie