Hindi translation mystery
June 15, 2015 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out the proper Hindi translation for "courage, dear heart". Google Translate gives me a few options, depending on whether I capitalize, add commas, etc, etc, and I'm trying to figure out the difference between them so I can figure out which is correct. I'd really like to get it right! Translations below the break:

Translation 1 is:
साहस, प्यारे दिल
(Sāhasa, pyārē dila)

Translation 2 is:
साहस, प्रिय दिल
(Sāhasa, priya dila)

As you can see, it's just the middle word that changes.... Why? Which one is correct?

posted by anoncanuck to Writing & Language (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pyare sounds the more likely to be used for dear in conversation. Priya is usually a proper name, which means beloved.

No one is actually going to call someone "pyare dil" though. So unless your original actually involves sometime speaking to their heart, you'll want a more idiomatic translation. Note: I speak Urdu, not Hindi. There is a lot of overlap, but they are by no means the same. Someone else may have a better answer.
posted by bardophile at 3:14 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Although I know not a work of Hindi, I'm willing to bet real money that neither one is "correct." If you want this to make sense, you need a human who knows both languages and also knows the "flavor" that using the phrase implies.

On preview: what bardophile says. One Urdu speaker's opinion is worth approx ten thousand times that of Google Translate plus any number of non-literate translation industry professionals.

Are you getting a tattoo? Giving a present to a native speaker? Please don't use machine translation at all.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 3:23 PM on June 15, 2015 [6 favorites]

I don't even know Hindi, but this is not usually the best way to use Google translate when you don't speak the language, which I do have a little experience in.

Anything that is idiomatic will get translated weirdly. Translate each part into simpler English, before attempting machine translation.
Otherwise you'll often actually get something more like "Adventure, sweet artery!"

Secondly, copy the Hindu and translate back to English, and look at the alternate possible meanings.

So, for example, you've only put 'courage' - Courage what? Who or what has courage?
The word Sāhasa is showing for me as translating as "adventure, courage to, daring".
Put a clearer instruction, like "Be courageous", or "Be unafraid". So, Abhīta maybe?

And what is a 'dear heart'? Again, you don't want "Sweet Center", so just go for something like 'My love' or 'Dear love' - no, simplest "Dearest"
In your example, pyārē does apparently mean 'Dearest', but also 'Furry'.

If this is in any way important, you want an actual Hindu speaker.
posted by Elysum at 3:25 PM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Usually, people transliterate the word for heart as dil, rather than dila. (See, for example): titles of countless Bollywood films, like Dil Dhadakne Do, or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Pyare is definitely an appropriate word for dear, in context. The word you are getting for courage is from Sanskrit and completely unfamiliar to me.

A little information about your purpose might allow more helpful answers.
posted by bardophile at 3:33 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi everyone,
Thanks for your answers so far. I did ask my father - an actual Hindi speaker - and he said Translation 1 is fine. I've emailed him to ask about Translation 2, but haven't heard back yet.
In any case, I thought I'd ask around! I'm hoping that I'll get lucky and find another Hindi speaker on Meta, to gain the benefit of a second opinion. :)
Keep 'em coming!
posted by anoncanuck at 3:35 PM on June 15, 2015

Response by poster: @bardophile:
That's great - thank you!
The phrase is a quote from CS Lewis (Voyage of the Dawn Treader). It is addressed to a person - so "be brave, dearest", or something similar, would be a good way to paraphrase.
posted by anoncanuck at 3:39 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

FYI, OP, Hindi is like English in the fact that it has an (IMO) unusual amount of functionally synonymous words that derive from different sources and carry various connotations. Mainly this comes down to Sanskritized vs. Persian/Arabic-derived vocabulary. At some point in this continuum people start calling what's being spoken either "Hindi" or "Urdu" but in my experience, in the majority of the gray area between the two poles, this reflects a textbook categorization much more than a real and binary phenomenon.
posted by threeants at 4:11 PM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

If the word for courage is appropriate, then I would eliminate the dil and just leave pyare, which is used as Dearest quite frequently. Alternatively, "mere pyare" (for a masculine dear) or "meri pyari" (for a feminine dear), literally "my dear."

So, Sahasa, pyare/pyari or Sahasa, mere pyare/meri pyari would be my recommendations. If it were Urdu, I would say Himmat rakho, mere pyare/meri pyari.
posted by bardophile at 4:42 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is there by any chance a Hindi translation of the C.S. Lewis book you could use?
posted by languagehat at 5:42 PM on June 15, 2015 [5 favorites]

This suggests that Harper put out a translation several years ago...
posted by bardophile at 5:50 PM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Seconding the advice to ask an actual Hindi speaker- unfortunately I don't speak Hindi well enough to actually translate that for you, but I can tell you that that sort of construction just sounds odd.

Elysum makes some very good points- who are you speaking to? Pyare dil sounds odd to me- if I were speaking to a girlfriend/boyfriend, I'd use just pyare or meri jaan (my life) which is much less literal but closer to what you actually mean. A child, on the other hand, would be beta (boy) or beti (girl.) And it's much more common in Hindi to have an imperative verb rather than a noun- so have courage/be brave would be a more appropriate phrase to search.

On preview, Himmat rakho, mere pyare! would work in Hindi as well.
posted by Tamanna at 7:45 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi everyone,
Thanks for the great responses! I did go and find the Hindi translation of the book last night, and it should be here in a few weeks. I'll see what it says, and take it and your advice and go from there. I'll come back and post what's in the book in case anyone's curious. :)
Thanks so much!
posted by anoncanuck at 7:20 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I do speak some Hindi, although it's been many years.

For "Courage, dear heart", both "Sāhasa, pyārē dil" and "Sāhasa, priya dil" are acceptable transliterations, but I confess that both sound a tiny bit off-kilter to me.

"Sāhasa" is the correct Sanskrit translation for courage (and the Bengali word would be "Shāhosh", for example), but I don't think it's the right colloquial usage here. Maybe something like "Dheeraj" (patience, but in the sense of fortitude) might be closer to the intended sense? Or "Himmat", certainly, if you're going for the spirit of daring.

Both "Priya" and "Pyare" are okay for "dear" - I'd use "priya" for a child (closer to "cherished") and "pyare" for a partner (closer to "loved").

I've never encountered the usage of "priya dil" or "pyare dil" though (in my limited experience). I'd second Tamanna's or Bardophile's suggestions above.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hi, I speak Hindi but I have never worked as a translator so I might not make the best translation choice. To me, both translations sound bookish and not something I would use in conversation. Depending on the context, there could be various ways to say this.

one alternative which sounds natural to me is:

हिम्मत, मेरे प्रिय! (which is literally "courage, my dear" or "courage, my love" but is totally something someone can say to someone else. People don't call someone else "dil" in usual conversation unless they are singing a bollywood song and want to be extra poetic)

हिम्मत, मेरे दिल! (which transliterates to "courage, my heart" but sounds more natural than saying the next option).

हिम्मत, प्यारे दिल! (which transliterates to courage, dear heart, but sounds slightly less natural than the first one).
or even

Different translations would depend on context. "sahas" or साहस is a word with Sanskrit root, while "हिम्मत" is a word with Urdu origins. In many parts of India, depending on the context and their own background, people use Sanskrit or Urdu origin words.

Using "साहस" sounds better with "प्रिय" as both have similar Sanskrit roots. "प्यारे" is more colloquial in its usage.

If I had to choose between two translations, I would go with translation 2.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 12:59 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just realized that "प्रिय" is a Sanskrit root word and doesn't flow with "हिम्मत". So, a better option seems "हिम्मत मेरे दोस्त!" which is " have courage my friend!".

If the "dear heart" is being used for a lover or a romantic relationship, it would need something more intimate than "friend" ... such as हमदम (hamdam), प्यार (pyar), जान (jaan) etc.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 1:09 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just read the context of the quote in the book. :) should have done that earlier I think.

I dont think Aslan would use "dil" to talk to Lucy. "dil" has romantic connotations in hindi. I think "dear heart" would be changed to "मेरे दोस्त" (my friend) or "मेरी बच्ची" (my child) or "प्यारे दोस्त" (dear friend).
posted by TheLittlePrince at 1:25 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am sitting next to a Hindu speaker, and she thinks "Himmat rakho, priya" but that it might sound a little old fashioned or patronising, but that sounds about right for that phrase, as said by Aslan to a child.
posted by Elysum at 2:42 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow! Thank you, everyone!!

It never occurred to me that the translation would be different depending on whether you were speaking to a child, friend, partner, etc (though it should have... now I'm annoyed with myself). In the case of Aslan to Lucy, speaking as if to a child would be perfectly appropriate! But I suppose I should be more specific about what purpose I'm asking for, so it's clear - sorry I didn't before, I didn't realize!
This phrase (in English) is my best friend's favourite thing to say to me to reassure me. So while I'm asking for a piece of art I'm planning for myself, the context would be a close male friend saying this phrase to me (female). We were traveling together in India the first time he said it - hence the translation. What I'm going for, therefore, is adult male to adult female, not romantic, but a very close friendship; in English, I'd say that "dearest," "my love", etc would be more appropriate than "my friend" to describe the depth of the relationship, as these can be said with completely non-romantic connotations - at least in my world, though I'm sure some might think it odd! Hopefully that makes sense!
Thanks so much again, everyone! I really appreciate it!
posted by anoncanuck at 4:05 PM on June 16, 2015

Response by poster: "Dear friend" might work, too.... Hmm. Very interested to see what he book says when it arrives!
Thanks again, everyone!
posted by anoncanuck at 9:56 AM on June 18, 2015

Response by poster: Hi everyone!

Not sure if anyone is still interested, but the Harper translation arrived today.

I managed to find the quote (rather an interesting process...). "Courage, dear heart" is translated as "हिम्मत रखने, मेरे प्यारे बच्चे", which transliterates to "Him'mata rakhanē, mērē pyārē baccē", according to Google Translate - I know, I know, but it's all I have - or in English "Keep courage, my dear child". Makes sense to me!
So I'm thinking I'm going to take out the "child" portion - as I'm not - and possibly leave it as "pyārē" (pyari?) rather than "mērē (meri?)...".

posted by anoncanuck at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2015

Himmat rakh, meri pyari would be my vote. Thanks for the update; I've been curious!
posted by bardophile at 7:58 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: No problem, and thank you!!

What's the difference between रखने (as in the book's translation) and रख (as you've suggested)? Would one be more correct than the other in this context?
posted by anoncanuck at 9:18 AM on July 5, 2015

I wouldn't say one is more correct. It's that rakh is more in keeping with the tone. Also, rakhna has a connotation, to my ear, of being pitched towards the need for courage in the future.
posted by bardophile at 12:12 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and by tone, what I mean is actually the grammatical person, now that I think about it. Rakh would be the form for the informal, affectionate, highly personal, 2nd person tu, while rakhna is the form for the still informal, but not as personal, tum.
posted by bardophile at 12:17 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

That "रखने" should be "रखना" ... "रखने" is grammatically incorrect in that context.

given my understanding of the context, I would suggest that appropriate phrase would be "हिम्मत रखो, मेरी प्यारी" or "हिम्मत रखो, मेरे प्यार". The first one is for addressing only women and is a bit archaic, प्यारी is not really used as a form of address these days. The second one is gender neutral and is more modern.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 1:19 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Am I ever glad I posted this Ask!!

So is प्यारे just the male (and/or neutral?) form of प्यारी (and therefore also on the archaic side)?

I can't tell you how thankful I am! I feel like I'll need to post a pic of the end product in gratitude for everyone's efforts!
posted by anoncanuck at 3:42 PM on July 6, 2015

प्यारे is used mostly for guys. Although, when referring to a kid, it can be used in gender neutral way.

I havent heard of a woman being called प्यारे.

as per current language, calling a guy प्यारे would be a bit old fashioned, slightly dismissive and informal. these days girls don't call their love प्यारे. AFAIK, its used by guys for other guys in an informal way.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 5:06 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So interesting! (And complicated!!) Thanks so much again!!

हिम्मत रखो, मेरे प्यार is what I'm leaning towards ATM, I think.... Gender-neutral is fine. As is more modern. And it (the translation, anyway) seems to capture the context nicely.... :)
posted by anoncanuck at 6:59 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

you are welcome. these days its not often that I get to use my hindi.

one small suggestion. If you are trying to use this as something that would remind the other person of "courage, dear heart!" quote .... "हिम्मत, मेरे प्यार!" is a snappier version which is easier to associate with the original.

"हिम्मत रखो, मेरे प्यार" is good but slightly less dramatic/impactful.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 11:18 AM on July 7, 2015

Response by poster: Oh, that's good, too! Decisions, decisions.... :)

Thank you so much again!
posted by anoncanuck at 9:51 AM on July 8, 2015

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