President Sarkozy is known for his temper. (Americans saw it first hand on 60 Minutes!) A recent explosion appeared the other day on the French news and is still on YouTube for all to see and hear. It’s not the explosion that I find interesting, though. It’s the difficulty of translating Sarkozy’s offense into English for Anglophones and then that translation back into French for Francophones interested in such things. The very article commenting on the challenge of these translations gets them wrong in both directions! Sarkozy loses his temper:The French article explained to Anglophone readers that “Casse-toi, pauvre con!” means “Fuck you, prick” in English. That doesn’t capture the “get outa here” part of “casse-toi.” The words “the hell” or “the fuck” would have to be inserted in “Get outa here” to carry the entire meaning: “Get the hell outa here” or “Get the fuck outa here.” But that’s not the shocking part. The incomprehensible errors appear when the journalist (Le Monde’s Vincent Truffy) translates “Fuck you, prick” back into French to demonstrate the translation problem. You wonder if he knows any Americans when he says the best English translation would be “Sod off, bloody idiot” (va-t-en, idiot sanglant). Huh?
He shows us again that he was not the person to write this article by explaining “Fuck you, prick” as “Je désire avoir des relations sexuelles avec toi, espèce de pénis” The English sentence doesn’t declare anyone’s wishes but is, rather, a command. And to catch the derogatory nuance of “prick” in French, you would need to switch genders to “con.”
Of course, the English for “con” would be more vulgar than the French original so I would use “ass,”
as he does suggest or, if more vulgarity is needed, a stronger word of your choice.
As for ‘sod off,’ I assume it means ‘fuck you’ am not sure. And I never understood how « bloody » could be considered vulgar. I just as confused by the French « gueule ». How can a word for mouth or snout be considered so vulgar?