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Monday, March 30, 2015

It Will Go Horribly! | Mistranslation Monday

Now that final exams are over, and I am feeling a little more relaxed, it is time for another Mistranslation Monday!

This one goes back to November, when I was preparing to give my first presentation in German for one of my graduate school classes. The night before my presentation, my friend Sarah texted me.

Es wird schon scheif gehen!

Here is my literal translation of the above messages:

Sarah: Best of luck tomorrow! I am sure that it will go wrong.
Me: You are sure it will go wrong? I hope it doesn't go wrong...

I remember when I first read the message, I was seriously confused. She kind of contradicted herself when she said that she wishes me luck, but then says that it will go horribly. Maybe she forgot to put a "not" in that second sentence?

Luckily, Sarah quickly wrote back, explaining it is a common saying, similar to telling someone "break a leg" before they go on stage.

So, the next time you want to assure your friend that everything will be fine, just go ahead and tell them "Everything will go horribly!" If they look confused, just tell them it's a German thing.

7 comments:

  1. I would be totally confused by that as well! So often I get confused with Icelandic sayings when I take the direct translation from them.

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  2. Ha, that made me laugh... I said something similar to my husband once and he was soooo confused :) I love the little idiosyncracies of every language, don't you?

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  3. I like it! Glad you explained it because I definitely twerked an eyebrow at first over that text, too!

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  4. Happy to hear that a fellow non-native German speaker understands!

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  5. I am not sure about *love* but I do suppose they make learning a language more interesting...

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  6. Direct translations of sayings are always funny :) I heard a good one a while back and now I can't think of it! Damn!

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  7. so that's really like saying break a leg to them? Interesting.

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