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Short Polish<->English translations

gumishu 13 | 6,140
7 Nov 2015 #271
By transliteration I mean what it would sound like if it was said literally instead of after translation

what you call transliteration is actually literal translation - transliteration is a completely different thing
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,862
7 Nov 2015 #272
transliteration means when eg .a language with a different writing system has the words put into an understandable form for people who use a standard western alphabet..

eg 'Beijing' (used to be Peking, anyone remember? now they use a different transliteration method).
sorry I can never resist the temptation to be a smartarse..:)

Literal translation can be amusing though. Here in Wales, the literal translation for 'I have a son' is 'there is a son by/with me'. INteresting insight into different national mentalities. I digress though.

Does anyone know any little phrases like that in Polish , which literally translated show a different mentality?
harrysmith - | 12
7 Nov 2015 #273
Okay, thanks once again for pointing out my mistakes. Yes I meant literal translation, but on the third attemt could somebody please just answer the question?
Looker - | 1,134
7 Nov 2015 #274
Ja cię kręcę!

Literally it would mean something like:
I am spinning you!
bobbystand 3 | 9
7 Nov 2015 #275
That was my interprertation. A good English equivilent?
Looker - | 1,134
7 Nov 2015 #276
Maybe Jeez or Oh my gosh?
That's my interpretation since I'm not native English speaker.
Polonius3 994 | 12,367
7 Nov 2015 #277
English equivilent

Bl**dy hell, holy sh*t, what the f*ck, goodness me, oh my gosh, or how about this oldie: land sakes?!
Looker - | 1,134
7 Nov 2015 #278
Bl**dy hell, holy sh*t, what the f*ck

There are much better words for this than the 'ja cię kręcę' - this phrase isn't vulgar in Poland at all. Rather nobody says it in anger here.
7 Nov 2015 #279
on the third attemt could somebody please just answer the question?

Yes, your word for word literal translation of the phrase was correct, but as I explained earlier, heading down the route of word for word literal translations from Polish to English is a recipe for disaster. Many phrases can't be directly translated, and there are different meanings for words e.g ' na ' it doesn't always mean ' on '.

Maybe you have another reason for wanting a literal translation, but I can't imagine what it might be if you are not directly trying to translate from one language to another.
harrysmith - | 12
7 Nov 2015 #280
Dziękuję! I understand that translating things literally can lead to disaster, and I'll take that on board! I just had a curiosity as to what other languages' idiosyncrasies were, and how Poles think. English is my first and only language, so I find it difficult to grasp the concept that there isn't really a verb for "is wearing" and it helps to have it explained. Thanks once again!
7 Nov 2015 #281
I understand that translating things literally can lead to disaster, and I'll take that on board!

I'm only trying to save you from what I myself did, and it's a very difficult habit to get out of. I think it's quite a natural thing to want to do, but it just doesn't work I'm afraid!

If you are learning, take a look through the 'Language ' forum, there is tons of help available, and you will find the answers to most commonly asked questions for learners there.

Best of luck!
harrysmith - | 12
7 Nov 2015 #282
Thanks for the advice! Do you think it would be a wise move for me to just stop looking for a literal translation and just accept things for what they are?

that is:
"mężczyzna ma na sobie korszulę" = "The man is wearing the shirt"
as opposed to
"mężczyzna ma na sobie korszulę" = "(the) man has on him (a) shirt"

Edit: sorry if im posting in the wrong thread, I'll stop after this
Lyzko 45 | 9,430
7 Nov 2015 #283
Learning to THINK in another language, without "interference" from one's mother tongue's the hardest part, I find.

Example from a newspaper: "Kiszczak nie doczekał..", referring to his suspended prison sentence. Literally, the phrase says, "Kiszczak didn't wait...",which would sound weird in English within the context of the paragraph. It literally means, "Kiszcak didn't wait [to serve....."], but Polish expresses this concept differently from English. Polish has prefixes, as in "DOczekać", attached to the verb which alter its meaning.
harrysmith - | 12
7 Nov 2015 #284
I think that will be my downfall! I'm an adult now and I've only spoken English my whole life. I guess that's why I'm always looking for a literal translation, a habit which I'll have to break! I'm not sure how I'm going to learn this way of thinking, but thanks for the insight!
7 Nov 2015 #285
Do you think it would be a wise move for me to just stop looking for a literal translation and just accept things for what they are?

In a nutshell, yes. You will only get confused and disheartened from trying to translate literally. The most important thing is that you can understand the general gist of what a sentence is trying to convey, although this takes time when you are a new learner. Also, do not rely on Google Translate, it's more often wrong than right!

Get yourself a decent grammar book such as 'Polish in 4 weeks ' by Marzena Kowalska.
You should be able to get a copy on Ebay or Amazon.
It will take you much longer than 4 weeks ( months probably ) to complete it, but it will give you a very good grounding in Polish language, and things should become far clearer to you after reading it.
harrysmith - | 12
7 Nov 2015 #286
Thank you very much once again! I'll be sure to get my hands on a copy, I know that GT's a piece of trash, I've only really used it to find the infinitives of verbs and nouns, no phrases or grammar, you need only translate from English to English to see how bad it is!
7 Nov 2015 #287
Amazon have second hand copies for a couple of quid :)
Happy learning!
Lyzko 45 | 9,430
7 Nov 2015 #288
harrysmith, try also watching Polish movies with POLISH subtitles!! This might reduce the annoying need to "translate" and force you to begin to think in the language instead of using the eternal crutch of your native language:-)

I did this for many languages I've learned.
kpc21 1 | 763
7 Nov 2015 #289
Thanks for the advice! Do you think it would be a wise move for me to just stop looking for a literal translation and just accept things for what they are?

It depends on you. Sometimes by doing such literal translations, it might be easier to remember the specific phrase, especially when it still makes some sense, but sounds very funny in your language.

But it's just so that there are some words in one language which don't have equivalents in other languages and must be either explained in a descriptive way, or have some equivalents in form of commonly used phrases.

Try to translate the word "fun" to Polish. You may try to say "zabawa", "przyjemność", but it will be quite far away from the meaning of "fun". But to translate "to have fun" as "dobrze się bawić" (literally "to play well", which seems to sound nonsense in English) is much more accurate.

Going further:
to play - bawić się, grać (the last one in terms of playing a game)
to have fun - dobrze się bawić
bawić się - to play, to have fun (you usually say "dobrze się bawić")

Or the word "feature". It can be translated to Polish as "cecha", but the meaning of the word "cecha" is much narrower. "Feature" in English can mean also a function of a program or a device, and, I think, also other things, which aren't covered by Polish "cecha". As a result it happens that some people in Poland happen to say "ficzer" (pronounciation of "feature" spelled in a Polish way) - when they think about "feature" in the English language sense, not necessarily as "cecha", which is sometimes difficult to translate to Polish.

And there is many such examples. It's usually better to feel the meaning of the word than to know the exact translation. The exact translations are (almost) always inaccurate.

But to be able to do this you need to have some, at least small, knowledge of the language, to be able at least to try to understand anything. So at the beginning of the language learning there is no choice but to learn the word translations.
harrysmith - | 12
8 Nov 2015 #290
Is the example of "fun" not tranlating to "zabawa" because while both the noun and the verb of "fun" in English are synonymous, the same is not the case in Polish?

I'm really just guessing here, but would "zabawa" used in the case of a noun: "To jest zabawą", "It is fun" make sense? Or is there yet another way to say that?
8 Nov 2015 #291
"To jest zabawą", "It is fun"

To jest zabawne. An adjective does the job.
kpc21 1 | 763
8 Nov 2015 #292
I would say just "zabawne". Who always uses full sentences in such talks?
Polonius3 994 | 12,367
8 Nov 2015 #293

You can also say "ale ubaw" (what fun!) or "ale mieliśmy ubaw" (we sure had a good time, really had a ball!)
Lyzko 45 | 9,430
8 Nov 2015 #294
"DobrEJ zabawY!" = (literally) "of good play", colloquially translated into more natural language, of course: "Have fun!" aka "Have a good time!"

Scores of similiar examples - Dziękuję z góry! (lit. "I thank from mountain!") i.e. "Thank you in advance!", "Smacznego!" (lit. of tasty) i.e. "Enjoy your meal!" etc....

Often Polish phrases are more involved than English ones, for which sometimes no quick 'n easy equivalent exists, e.g.
"Happy Birthday!" Most Poles will simply wish "Gratulacja!" (Congrats), but most of the time, especially in cards, "Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji Twoich urodzin!" (lit. All of the very best on the occasion of your birthday!), a bit of a mouthful for first timers.
8 Nov 2015 #295
but most of the time, especially in cards, "Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji Twoich urodzin!"

I've never seen twoich in that sentence before, it's usually just " Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin "
You forgot Sto Lat! How you can mention Polish birthdays without sto lat ;)
Polonius3 994 | 12,367
8 Nov 2015 #296
of good play

It's "of" something or other only because the implied życzę (I wish) requries the genitive case.
Isn't German similar. It's Guten Tag not Guter Tag because the implied "ich wünsche dir" requires the accusative case.
kpc21 1 | 763
9 Nov 2015 #297
With Guten Tag it's interesting since in Polish it's not "Dobrego dnia", but "Dzień dobry" :)

But with "I wish" in case of "dobrej zabawy" - it's exactly as Polonius is telling.

And with "Smacznego", "Wesołych Świąt", "Wszystkiego Najlepszego" itd. it's exactly the same. You can add "Życzę..." ("I wish you...") before that and it will become simple and easy. "Życzę" demands the Dopełniacz. "100 lat" is here an exception. That confirms the rule. Do you say so (about an exception) in English? :) Anyway, you say "Sto lat", not "(Życzę ci) Stu lat", although the second one is more logical.

Most Poles will simply wish "Gratulacja!" (Congrats),

Never. If so, then "Gratulacje" (like "Congratulations"), but you tell it to someone who has won something, succeeded in something etc. Not for the birthday.
Polonius3 994 | 12,367
9 Nov 2015 #298

But (życzę ci) miłego dnia, szczęśliwej podróży, dobrego lotu. Time of day greetings are all in the nominative: Dzień dobry, dobry wieczór, dobranoc. (no dobre popołudnie!)

Moje gratulacje (my congratulations) or gratuluję
Sto lat nich żyje nam (so again it's not życzę ci stu lat).
Lyzko 45 | 9,430
9 Nov 2015 #299
Once again, usage determines convention.

I've heard "Gratulacja!", though perhaps only by someone being sarcastic:-) "Sto lat!", also after someone has sneezed!
Polonius3 994 | 12,367
9 Nov 2015 #300
someone has sneezed!

In Poland some Poles who know English well (translators, teachers, journalists) sarcastically say things like "moje kongratulacje" or calques such as "ciągniesz mnie za nogę" (you're pulling my leg).

In America when someone sneezes people say "gesundheit", not "bless you" as in the UK. That must be a Yiddish contribution.

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