Monday, April 28, 2008

It was inevitable.

I had to look up the word awning.

Not because I have forgotten what it means, but because I suddenly thought that it also maybe meant idea or notion, as in the phrase "I have no idea" or "I haven't the faintest notion."

The reason is simple: The Swedish translation of those phrases would be ingen aning, which to my American mouth comes out sounding very much like the word awning. Well, the last part comes out sounding like awning.

And now I'm certain that I've been using the nonsensical English phrase I have no awning from time to time.

O, the shame.

It makes me worry that I'm losing my English while not really getting any better with the Swedish. Sure, after nine years I'm fluent and even comfortable with the Swedish language, but I still make mistakes, mistakes that I myself can hear almost every time I open my mouth.

I guess my brain has just reached its language capacity, it can't hold anymore. I can't insert anything more without taking something else away.

Dammit. It's such a little brain, all things considered.

Now, just because I'm feeling generous today, and intent on proving that my brain is still functioning full force, I'm giving you a separate Swedish phrase for the day, above and beyond what I've already given: på köpet. It means in the bargain.

- by Francis S.


mitch said...

Great post.I think all translators could have the same feeling at some point.In swedish translation or in any language there comes a point in time that we would be fed up from the words that we mistakenly used for conversational manner.Translation is still the most fascinating area to explore.

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