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Old 05-31-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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Thread For Translation Help

Hello my friends! I recently found a Spanish practice group that is both in my neighborhood, and meets weekly in a bar. So I am re-energized in my language practice, after losing my talk buddy a while ago. (He was maybe looking to help a young woman, and not an old man.) Also he has lived here for almost 10 years, and he was way ahead of me in mastery of English relative to my non-mastery of Spanish.

Our board has a number of native speakers and other very fluent speakers, of both Spanish and French and other languages. I believe we also have many Spanish learners, or hopeful learners. I have a French interest left from a couple years of study in university which has been rekindled by my recent acquaintance with a marvelous café, Le Pichet. Yesterday I was sitting at their zinc bar and chatting with some staff who were relaxing with drinks after a long busy Memorial Sunday, I ordered a Calvados which I unfortunately accented as if it were a Spanish word. They were so cool- a nice Boulard was poured and the bartender said “here is your Calvados”- pronouncing it in the unaccented French manner rather than my mispronunciation of Calvádos. I have been drinking this stuff and offering it to friends for several decades, and mispronouncing it all the while.

Incidentally, if any of you travel to Seattle, this is a super spot, wonderful food, nice wine list, good mixed drinks, fancy beers, and a very pleasant staff and ambience. And it is all quite nicely priced. Not dollar menu at Micky’s, but almost cheap. It is on the west side of the street on 1st Ave at Virginia, just a couple blocks north of the Pike Street Market

What I am hoping for is that someone might post a sentence (in whatever language), and try to say the same meaning in the target language. Or alternatively, if one is struggling with the meaning of a phrase or sentence in the target language, attempt to give a colloquial translation. In this way I hope that our experts will not feel abused by being used as unpaid translators.

I took out the garbage- I wondered how to say this is Spanish- so here goes-present (I take out the garbage) saco la basura. I took out the garbage-saqué la basura.

Thanks. I hope this thread proves popular. I plan to make a database of these usful phrases and sentences so I can know them once and for all.

Ha
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:16 PM   #2
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Tengo que hacer compras de comestibles. I have to do grocery shopping. I got this Sp translation from Bing translator, which does seem way ahead of the others I have tried at phrases- but I am still left wondering "would anyone really use this phrasing"? For me anyway, doubt about something is lethal to remembering it.

I posted this pronunciation site last week. http://www.oddcast.com/home/demos/tt...le.php?sitepal

I got to wondering how it works. Maybe some programmer can explain. I think it generates sound using some database of rules to interpret the written texts. I accicentally mispelled comestibles as momestibles, and sound pronounced the mom, which I do not think is a valid word. If this is how it works, I wonder how it can handle English- which if it has rules I still don't know them very well.

Ha
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:19 PM   #3
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In French:

Present tense: I take out the garbage: "Je descend la poubelle" (if living on an upper floor and the collective trash can is located on a lower floor) = I take the garbage down. "Je sors la poubelle" (if living on the ground floor or the collective trash can is located on the same floor) = I take the garbage outside.

Past tense: I took out the garbage: "J'ai descendu la poubelle" or "J'ai sorti la poubelle".

I have to do grocery shopping: "Il faut que j'aille faire des courses" = I have to go (grocery) shopping. "Grocery" is often left out as it is implied in this sentence.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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Merci monsieur.

Kind of fun to watch Juliette's toungue flash when she says J'ai sorti la poubelle.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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In Italian

Present tense -- I am putting out the garbage

Metto fuori la spazzatura

Past tense -- I put out the garbage

Ho messo fuori la spazzatura


Although I will bet there is a colloquialism of which I am unaware
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:22 AM   #6
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I believe the preferred word for groceries in Latin America (esp. Mexico) is abarrotes. I don't think I have ever even heard the word comestibles.

Spanish is very widespread but unfortunately, it is very regional. We tend to use the word alimentos for food here in Colombia. If a rental place or a hotels offers meals, they say it comes con alimentación.

I tend to ignore Spain's version of Spanish. They have dropped to third now in number of Spanish speakers, behind Mexico and Colombia.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:28 AM   #7
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Here is a big hint for those typing in a foreign Western language. Change your keyboard setting to US international.

This enables you to quickly type characters like: ñ, á, é, etc. (you just type apostrophe and then the character, for ñ you type AltGr and then the character). It takes forever using the standard US keyboard whereas you can include these extra characters at almost standard typing speed with US International.

How to use the United States-International keyboard layout in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, and in Windows XP
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:08 AM   #8
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Here is a big hint for those typing in a foreign Western language. Change your keyboard setting to US international.

This enables you to quickly type characters like: ñ, á, é, etc. (you just type apostrophe and then the character, for ñ you type AltGr and then the character). It takes forever using the standard US keyboard whereas you can include these extra characters at almost standard typing speed with US International.

How to use the United States-International keyboard layout in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, and in Windows XP
This is what I use. Very easy to setup.

Tengo que comprar alimentos? Tengo que conseguir alimentos? Voy a comprar alimentos? Como se dice este in Medellin?

Ha
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:18 AM   #9
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I don't really know, but wouldn't one use "debo comprar alimentos" to convey a sense of obligation. i.e. -- Although we literally mean I must go shopping, in English we tend to say I have to go shopping -- when there is actually no possession involved.
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:39 AM   #10
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This is what I use. Very easy to setup.

Tengo que comprar alimentos? Tengo que conseguir alimentos? Voy a comprar alimentos? Como se dice este in Medellin?

Ha
Hi Ha. Good to see you're picking up your spanish conversation again.

It's different throughout Latin America. Folks might say

Tengo que ir al mercado = I need to go to the grocery store
Necesito comprar comida = I need to buy food
Voy al mercado a comprar comida = I'm going to the grocery to buy food.

edit - My wife usually says - voy a hacer mercado or tengo que hacer mercado. I'm not sure if that is used elsewhere but is quite common in Venezuela.

Comestibles is more often used in technical writing. You can use alimentos instead of comida but it is not commonly used in that way.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:03 AM   #11
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Trying to blow dust off the particular memory chip needed here, but I think deber denotes something more like a moral obligation, an absolute imperative almost. Tener + que is somewhat less demanding as an obligation.

And I agree with whoever said that this may be one of those things that depends on the idioms in use in a particular country. My Spanish is more Mexican-y, often interspersed with Tex-Mex slang and Colombian or Dominican as well, so who knows. But the verb I would use would depend on what degree of obligation there is to go buy some groceries. If it was time to go do my regular shopping I would probably use necesitar. If the house was empty of groceries, and nobody was going to eat tonight unless I go shopping, I might use tener+que. If I had children to feed, or guests coming for dinner tonight, I would use deber. Those are roughly in order from recommendable action, to an obligation, and, finally to a (almost, at least) moral imperative.

Just to confuse things a little, I might say "necesito ir al supermercardo" (I need to go to the grocery store), but might add on, "Tengo que comprar vino" (I have to buy wine) because my weekend plans include having friends over for dinner and there is no wine in the house.

I'm totally unfamiliar with comestibles, and would probably use las comidas.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:10 AM   #12
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edit - My wife usually says - voy a hacer mercado or tengo que hacer mercado. I'm not sure if that is used elsewhere but is quite common in Venezuela.
Ah, good point about hacer in S. America. It's similar to the Cajun English expression "I have to go make the groceries". Which, I have been told, is a holdover from the French structure.

I had an informant who was from Argentina, who, in English, always used "to make" in place of "to do". My favorite use of this was when he tried to explain the stupid actions of his Colombian buddy Mauricio. "I don't know what to say sargento, p*nche Mauricio, he's always making the sh*t". Which meant something like "Mauricio is always doing something stupid." My dim recollection is that I learned that hacer meant to make, as in construct or create, but in many countries it had different meanings, "to do" being just one of them. You can use it to explain causation, in expressions about weather and time, etc.

Edit to add: Using a dictionary to translate can be a real mess because of all of the idioms (some in general use in most Spanish, and others particular to a single country or region). I remember watching a movie in Spanish and realizing that a double entendre had obviously been used, but totally missing it at first. It involved the use of the verb "tocar" which means to touch, but also means "to play" (as in play the guitar). Basically, the male speaker was asking a woman if she wanted him to play his guitar for her, but her reaction made it obvious that she first thought he meant, "do you want to touch me?"

Anyway, if you can't move to a Spanish speaking area (or find some native speakers who are willing to indulge your learning), the best thing is to study Spanish as it is used in everyday life. For beginners I would recommend Los Destinos, you can find the videos for free on the web at http://www.learner.org/resources/series75.html. Once you get comfortable with that you can move on to movies, television shows, newspapers and magazines. You have to spend some time with it, but you can pick up a lot of useful things that you'll never get out of a textbook or the typical Spanish course that is teaching the El Espanol del Rey. When I took the more advanced immersion Spanish course we had homework every night that always included translating a song, newspaper article, advertisements from TV/radio/magazines, etc. The rule was that you had to translate from idiomatic Spanish into idiomatic English (i.e., what does it really mean, not what do the words say). I remember trying to explain the lyrics from a popular song that included the refrain, "Tumba la casa", to the Cubana instructor. She was appalled that someone would sing a song calling for the destruction of someone's home. It took a while to explain the American idiom of "bring down the house" to her.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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I remember watching a movie in Spanish and realizing that a double entendre had obviously been used, but totally missing it at first. It involved the use of the verb "tocar" which means to touch, but also means "to play" (as in play the guitar). Basically, the male speaker was asking a woman if she wanted him to play his guitar for her, but her reaction made it obvious that she first thought he meant, "do you want to touch me?"
Quizas los dos?
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:32 AM   #14
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Proper use and common use are often different.

Also, there are big differences in meaning across Latin America - some words and terms that are common in one location but vulgar in another. Makes multi-region business meetings really interesting.

Edit - world cup coming up in 9 days. Univision will broadcast and their announcers are ok (my preference). In '06 we couldn't get univision HD so we set up a small TV next to the plasma, watched the games on ESPN HD but listened to the commentary on Univision...
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:35 PM   #15
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Proper use and common use are often different.

Also, there are big differences in meaning across Latin America - some words and terms that are common in one location but vulgar in another. Makes multi-region business meetings really interesting.

Edit - world cup coming up in 9 days. Univision will broadcast and their announcers are ok (my preference). In '06 we couldn't get univision HD so we set up a small TV next to the plasma, watched the games on ESPN HD but listened to the commentary on Univision...
I believe that within a generation futbol will be huge in America, not only among Latins, Africans and other non-Anglo populations but among all the US natives who now work with an international workforce. One of my sons and his wife have Seattle Sounders season tickets. There is big enthuiasm for this team among tech workers especially.

Ha
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:47 PM   #16
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This is what I use. Very easy to setup.

Tengo que comprar alimentos? Tengo que conseguir alimentos? Voy a comprar alimentos? Como se dice este in Medellin?

Ha
In Galicia, Spain: I´ve got to buy groceries. I´ve got to get groceries. I´m going to buy groceries.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:55 PM   #17
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Quizas los dos?
You sure it was his "guitar" what he said?
Now, seriously, you may have seen a reaction in the lady, that really wasn´t there. At least on account of that exchange, because, even in my very dirty mind, I can´t see the double entendre you mention. By the way, you´ve got a splendid Spanish!
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:47 PM   #18
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Thanks all for contributing!

Ha
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:45 PM   #19
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Jag tar ut soporna.
Jag tog ut soporna.
Jag måste köpa lite mat.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:59 PM   #20
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Thanks all for contributing!

Ha
I second that. I have learned a number of new things today.
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