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European Word Translator
March 29, 2014 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Enter a word in english to display translations on a map. via
posted by Brent Parker (52 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
This site gives me a definite feeling of topluluk.
posted by goethean at 12:13 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


"Tea" is always fun. Try to resist the urge to pick up Portugal and move it east, and WTF Lithuania & Poland are you the creepy private language twins of Europe.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:17 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Apparently the Swedish have no word for "poop," which explains their appealingly clean-lined design style.
posted by HeroZero at 12:26 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


3 comments in and were at poop. good work!
posted by wheelieman at 12:44 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]


It's interesting to try and find words that are very different in as many countries as possible. I always thought "bird" was pretty diverse, but maybe not all that much.
posted by tss at 12:53 PM on March 29


ghost dad across europe makes me laugh way more than it should.
posted by Ferreous at 1:02 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


It's interesting to try and find words that are very different in as many countries as possible. I always thought "bird" was pretty diverse, but maybe not all that much.


Your best bet are going to be words that are likely (1) non-Indo-European in origin, and (2) were borrowed into different languages at different times from other different languages and/or were developed at different times in different countries. So your best semantic fields are going to be things that you think of as old, basic things, but were likely developed sometime in the last couple of millennia. Household goods are good for this; ditto things like food.
posted by damayanti at 1:20 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


ghost dad across europe makes me laugh way more than it should.

I don't think "draugur" ghost, exactly, although they are dead....

I was relieved that if you just slur a little, you can probably get a cup of coffee almost anywhere in Europe.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:24 PM on March 29


WTF Lithuania & Poland are you the creepy private language twins of Europe

When tea was introduced in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in XVII century, initially as a medicinal herb, the language used to describe it was Latin. Thus it was called herba thea - tê herbs.
posted by hat_eater at 1:40 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


I always thought "bird" was pretty diverse, but maybe not all that much.

Butterfly is more diverse than I expected.
posted by desjardins at 1:42 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Privacy is an interesting one — because the exact concept doesn't necessarily exist in every culture, the translations are the closest available substitutes and revealing as such: intimacy in France and Spain, peace/quiet in Germany and Iceland, integrity in Sweden, secrecy in Greece, and confidentiality in Russia.
posted by AnimalKing at 1:44 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Banana banán банан muz?
posted by carsonb at 1:57 PM on March 29


Privacy is an interesting one — because the exact concept doesn't necessarily exist in every culture, the translations are the closest available substitutes and revealing as such: intimacy in France and Spain, peace/quiet in Germany and Iceland, integrity in Sweden, secrecy in Greece, and confidentiality in Russia.

Always take systran with a pinch of salt. Privacy in Greek would be «ιδιωτικότητα», not «μυστικότητα». Same root as idiot: from Greek idiōtēs, private person, layman, from idios, own, private; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots
posted by ersatz at 2:14 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Elephant is a good one.

There's only two main camps, elefant in the west and slon*, but then there's the weirdos:

Norsu** in Finnish, zilonis in Latvian, dramblys in Lithuanian, and then, very, very weirdly, it's fin** in both Icelandic and Turkish.

*Origin of schlong, or vice-versa?
**Did the Finns and the Norse historically call each other elephants?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:20 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


fin fil

Dammit. It was such a nice hypothesis...
posted by Sys Rq at 2:30 PM on March 29


(Also, I guess zilonis is pretty much slon, isn't it? C'mon, Latvia, learn to spell.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:39 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Butterfly is more diverse than I expected.

Foxtrot less so.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:41 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see that nations are sticking to their own roots for computer, since last century's Big Idea was handled with much greater uniformity.
posted by Jesse the K at 2:47 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Origin of schlong, or vice-versa?

schlong is from Schlange, snake, so if you're just looking at the trunk ....?
posted by benito.strauss at 3:26 PM on March 29


mobile
posted by grouse at 3:48 PM on March 29


*Origin of schlong, or vice-versa?

Unrelated. Most modern etymologists lean towards the theory that slon comes from Turkish and Tartar aslan. Which means 'lion', but since Polish wielbłąd (camel) comes from Gothic ulbandus which means... elephant (from Greek elephas), I guess the Slavs of yore did't care much about telling exotic animals apart.
posted by hat_eater at 3:52 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Bread
posted by chavenet at 4:02 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


It is helpful to remember that Google Translator has no telepathic interface yet - compare bear and a bear.
posted by hat_eater at 4:09 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Naive folk etymology of wielbłąd would be "huge mistake" - makes more sense than a Gothic origin to me, but etymology is not a logic puzzle right?
posted by Meatbomb at 4:11 PM on March 29


Simplifiedly: Finnish norsu was first a variant of mursu - walrus a loan from very old Sami. At first they were used in reference to ivory but as knowledge of elephants spread, norsu got the current meaning.
posted by Authorized User at 4:21 PM on March 29


Naive folk etymology of wielbłąd would be "huge mistake"

It would be called wielkobłąd then, judging by the other bigsomething compound words in Polish (wielkolud = a giant, wielkooki = big-eyed etc). The folk (and XIX cent. Bruckner) etymology for slon is that it got its name because of a widespread, if untrue belief that it can't lie, so to sleep, it leans against a tree (słania się). I suppose two cases of mistaken identity are less likely than one, but... I don't have a problem with that. "A big animal from far away south? It must be that famed beast the Goths kept talking about. They didn't mention the hump... Perhaps the sly Venetians sold us a defective ulbandus." "A huge ferocious beast from far away south? Yeah, I think the Turks said it's called aslan. File it under slon, we have to conserve drawer labels this quarter and we ran out of A's again."
posted by hat_eater at 4:31 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Finnish norsu was first a variant of mursu - walrus

"A huge grey beast with long white tusks and a thick layer of blubber - five letters."
posted by hat_eater at 4:37 PM on March 29


Hoser: Translation not available
Poutine: Translation not available
Toonie: Translation not available
Chinook: Translation not available
Ginch: Translation not available

What kind of translator is this?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:04 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]


> Most modern etymologists lean towards the theory that slon comes from Turkish and Tartar aslan.

Not really. Oddly, I was just discussing this on my blog today; as I wrote there:
People have plenty of ideas, but nobody knows. Vasmer rejects the usual (in his day) derivation from the verb sloniti as a folk etymology and says it might be from Turkic a(r)slan ‘lion’; Jakobson compares Tocharian kloŋ; Machek in his Czech etymological dictionary says it’s probably from *slop-n < *solopont, related to the Greek word [ἐλεφᾱς, elephas].
posted by languagehat at 5:09 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


The one word that's the same in every language, or so I've been told.
posted by stargell at 8:19 PM on March 29


Except Icelandic!
posted by stargell at 8:20 PM on March 29


Even fancy Icelanders are outliers.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 PM on March 29


Sorry, I don't understand. Can you translate it?
posted by psoas at 9:03 PM on March 29


Bazooka. (Origin.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:06 PM on March 29


Antitankgeweer! Hallo, Nederland!
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:35 PM on March 29


In addition to Finnish being rather different than everyone else (apart from Estonian) in regards to basic words like mother, wheel, bread, etc. it is interesting to note some fairly new technological words that were deliberately made up like radar and electricity.
posted by Authorized User at 9:39 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


King. Aside from Romania (that pocket of Romance), Bulgaria ("czar"; I suspect Google translate offers a list more accurate options), and Greece, there is a straight, neat line from Ireland to Albania separating the Latin R-kings from the K-kings, and another distinct (but less straight) line between Germanic K-g kings and Slavic K-l kings. Crown is pretty consistent outside of Turkey and Greece; throne, only slightly less so.

P.S. I really, really hope all public lavatories in Ireland are labeled FEAR and BEAN with no further explanation.

P.P.S. Salad.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:38 PM on March 29


Daffodil, from the Anglo/Basque/Icelandic family.

Dog, we're on our own.

Almost.
posted by Segundus at 12:43 AM on March 30


I just love the way that "knickers" is "knickers" in Basque!
posted by TrainStorm at 5:16 AM on March 30


Privacy is an interesting one — because the exact concept doesn't necessarily exist in every culture, the translations are the closest available substitutes and revealing as such: intimacy in France and Spain, peace/quiet in Germany and Iceland, integrity in Sweden, secrecy in Greece, and confidentiality in Russia.

I don't know that it's that the concept doesn't exist, but that there isn't always a noun that neatly maps to all uses of 'privacy' in English, which are two different things. The German translation is about privacy in a physical sense (seclusion, not being disturbed, etc.), though I'm not sure it's a great translation to begin with, which happens not to overlap word-wise with privacy in the confidential sense.
posted by hoyland at 6:04 AM on March 30


See, horse and dog, the two creatures essential to the English way of life; we need our own words for those.
posted by Segundus at 6:44 AM on March 30


Seconding hoyland. The translation for "privacy" in Spain is "privacidad" which means the same thing. Be careful of generalising from Google Translate. This site is more of a fun tool than something to base deductions on.
posted by vacapinta at 6:44 AM on March 30


I just love the way that "knickers" is "knickers" in Basque!

Yeah, I'm wondering if their Basque dictionary just defaults to English for words it doesn't have. I think kuleroen might actually be the word.
posted by Segundus at 6:50 AM on March 30


...and the basque for daffodil is actually nartziso.

Site's crap, basically.
posted by Segundus at 7:11 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


King. Aside from Romania (that pocket of Romance), Bulgaria ("czar"; I suspect Google translate offers a list more accurate options), and Greece, there is a straight, neat line from Ireland to Albania separating the Latin R-kings from the K-kings, and another distinct (but less straight) line between Germanic K-g kings and Slavic K-l kings. Crown is pretty consistent outside of Turkey and Greece; throne, only slightly less so.

I think you will like this then: Greek also has the word ρήγας, which derives from rex, and means king. As for crown, it may derive from Greek κορώνη. Kορόνα, a modernised spelling of κορώνα, is broadly used.
posted by ersatz at 7:17 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I just love the way that "knickers" is "knickers" in Basque!

Watch the asterisks. " * If Google Translate cannot find a translation, it simply shows the English word. This may be the case for the starred words on the map. "
posted by beagle at 7:19 AM on March 30


Even then, it's frustratingly inconsistent about untranslated words: Sometimes they'll be in ALL CAPS, sometimes Capitalized, sometimes given an asterisk*, but usually it won't have any indicator at all. That's entirely Google's fault. Seems the sort of thing they could get an intern to fix in a single afternoon, but, hey, why not just leave it crappy for years and years, right?

Also, this map dealy just grabs the first thing Google translate gives it, which is a pretty iffy thing to do. There are much better words for privacy than those, AnimalKing, as can be seen by going to the Wikipedia page for privacy and clicking on the different languages down the side: vie privée, privacidad, Privatsphäre, частной жизни, etc.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:23 AM on March 30


Ach. If I'd realised this was entirely based on Google Translate I wouldn't have wasted a moment's attention on it.
posted by Segundus at 7:25 AM on March 30


From the Ministry of Confusingly False Cognates: Apparently the Romanian word for 'ball' is 'minge'.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:05 AM on March 30


Shark.
posted by Zpt2718 at 3:05 PM on March 30


I've been wondering if hákarl and акула are related and it seems they are - like father and son.
posted by hat_eater at 4:03 PM on March 30


The one word that's the same in every language, or so I've been told.

In danish taxa is actually more common, although taxi is used as well.
posted by Sourisnoire at 3:05 AM on March 31


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