What do they call a stupid SOB in your neck of the woods?
January 25, 2022 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Multilingual/international MeFites, how is the local news translating Biden's hot mic moment?

Here is one example from Japan, Yahoo News has it as 「何て大ばか野郎なんだ」which really doesn't have much "kick" to it. "Bakayaro," is a pretty generic dumbass, idiot, stupid. But, Japanese is pretty lacking in crude or vulgar curses.

How are they reporting this in the other languages around the world? Any really creative ones? Anyone explain it really well?
posted by Gotanda to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Spanish is closer to English than Japanese, so it can go with a more literal translation, since basically the same expression/insult exists in Spanish as in English.

El País: Biden llama “estúpido hijo de perra” a un periodista de Fox News
posted by andrewesque at 12:35 AM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The FAZ left in English, then carefully explained that “son of a bitch” is an insult in English, and made an effort to explain it - with German insults of similar connotation and strength.
posted by scorbet at 12:39 AM on January 25, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: DN in Sweden has it as "jävla idiot", which I'd translate back into English as "fucking idiot". They don't mention what the original insult was.
posted by harujion at 1:09 AM on January 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Polish: sukinsyn, which is literally son of a bitch. The fun part is which bits of the word are censored - TVN went with sukin... (while using the full word in the URL), while for example Wyborcza went with su...syn. It's a careful choice because if you censor too much, you get people confused on whether it was skurwysyn - son of a whore. Which is what Super Express seems to have done by accident (skur...) or on purpose - their US-reporting wing is really Trumpy.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:30 AM on January 25, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: German media have translated it as "dummer Scheißkerl" in droves - it seems like they were all copying the translation from the news agency AFP.
Scheißkerl just means shitty guy (or shithead, if you wish).

My impression is that this happens in movie dubbing a lot, too (Bruce Willis movies have a lot of creative and fecal-based insults in German.) German doesn't use sexual four letter words to the same extent as English does, they have to substitute.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:24 AM on January 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The local radio station was careful to point out that one of the examples listed in the FAZ article - "Hurensohn" (literally "son of a whore") - is not an accurate representation in German, as it is much more offensive.
posted by Skybly at 4:16 AM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, "son of a bitch" can even be a backhanded compliment or endearment in English under the right circumstances.

Narrator: This one was not.
posted by Naberius at 5:15 AM on January 25, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Russian: 1 Kanal has him saying "вот тупой сукин сын" (what a stupid son of a bitch) with a bleep over сукин in the Russian but not the English.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:38 AM on January 25, 2022

Best answer: nos.nl: De Amerikaanse president Joe Biden heeft een verslaggever van Fox News uitgescholden voor "domme klootzak". Translated back that would come out as stupid bastard or stupid asshole.

While Dutch insults tend to lean heavily on sexual* vernacular, it's rare to hear "hoerenzoon" (son of a bitch).

nos.nl is the website for the Dutch public broadcaster doing the news and sports reporting.

* also ilnesses.
posted by Stoneshop at 6:41 AM on January 25, 2022

Best answer: Dutch media are translating it as "domme klootzak," which pretty much means "stupid bastard."
posted by neushoorn at 6:43 AM on January 25, 2022

Best answer: French media are going with "espèce de connard" (~ stupid asshole).
posted by humph at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Italian media has translated it pretty literally, as "Che stupido figlio di una puttana." Puttana literally means wh*re but it basically also has the same weight as bitch--an insulting word for a woman.
posted by microscopiclifeform at 7:08 AM on January 25, 2022

Best answer: The rest of the newspapers from Spain are unanimous in their "son of a whore" translation:
El Mundo, "estúpido, hijo de puta"
ABC, "estúpido hijo de puta"
El Diario, "estúpido hijo de puta"
Público, "estúpido (de) hijo de puta"

As for Latin American newspapers, where "*" means they're copying the piece of news from EFE News agency so some text will be shared:
Argentina > Clarín, "estúpido hijo de puta"*
Argentina > La Nación, "qué hijo de perra tan estúpido"
Chile > El Mostrador, "stupid son of a bitch" (no translation)
Chile > La Nación, "estúpido hijo de puta"
Honduras > El Heraldo, "estúpido hijo de puta"
Mexico > El Universal, "estúpido hijo de perra"
Mexico > El Sol de México, "estúpido hijo de puta"*
Peru > La República, "vaya un estúpido hijo de puta"*
posted by sukeban at 12:46 PM on January 25, 2022

Best answer: Slovenian: "butasti pasji sin" = stupid son of a dog. It isn't really a traditional expression and is obviously a direct translation from English. The language itself usually borrows the more vulgar phrases from Serbian or Croatian, see below.

Croatian: "glupi kurvin sin" = stupid son of a whore.

Serbian: "glupi kučkin sin" = stupid son of a bitch.
posted by gakiko at 11:12 PM on January 25, 2022

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