Saturday, July 28, 2007

Some Idioms Do Not Translate

So, some twenty-twenty-twenty-two years ago, some Italian friends asked me to clue them in on a Ramones song. They understood English fairly well and consequently, my Italian never improved while I hung out with them. They wanted to learn all the nuances of "I Wanna Be Sedated" and I was happy to explain them as well as I could.

The thing that we all discovered together is that the song's title doesn't translate back into Italian, the idiom doesn't make any sense. Voglio essere sedato means "I want to be sedate," not "sedated." En Italiano, la canzone sarrebe "Voglio essere fuori" or, "I want to be out of it."

Remember though, there is no Italian translation for



Blogger angel said...

mwaaaaaaaahahahahahaaaa... thats hysterical!

Sat Jul 28, 03:32:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


: )

Sat Jul 28, 08:21:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bubs said...

Romantic languages are not meant to rock and roll. That's just how it is.

Although, interestingly, some Italian soccer team has taken the intro for "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes and turned it into a cheer.

Sun Jul 29, 06:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger jewgirl said...

I used to looooove that song. I still do. I can't believe it doesn't translate. well, I can. I just choose not to. is that denial?

Sun Jul 29, 03:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


The French do a fairly decent job in terms of inflection and intonation, but I couldn't tell you if they were spot-on, lyrically.

"Seven Nation Army" has the perfect beat to fire up the crowd. Not to mention, I'll be they're tired of singing



That's not denial. You'd think that with the drug culture of the sixties, that some idioms would change as a reflection of that movement.

Sun Jul 29, 05:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mister Mxyzptlk said...

ques que ce?

Sun Jul 29, 08:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


Je ne parle pas Francais o Englais.

Mon Jul 30, 08:12:00 AM PDT  

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