How would the Hulk say "Hulk Smash!" in French?
March 11, 2008 2:31 PM   Subscribe

If the Incredible Hulk were French, how would he say his famous "Hulk Smash!"??

Really that simple. I just need to know how to say Hulk smash! in French, and the automatic translation sites are giving me things that don't seem to have the context right. Thank you in advance...
posted by Naberius to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
He would probably say just "Hulk smash!" or maybe "Fracas Hulk!", according to Babel Fish.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:43 PM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, but I don't trust Babel Fish on this. If I back translate fracas, I don't get Smash, as in violently break something into little pieces. I get something more like clatter.

I need the connotation to be right, so I'm hoping there's an actual French speaker around.
posted by Naberius at 2:46 PM on March 11, 2008

"Hulk Creve!" (I can't get the accent gréve in over the first 'e') or maybe "Hulk Démoli!"
posted by From Bklyn at 2:49 PM on March 11, 2008

Hulk Devaste!

(Not according to Babelfish, but I'm not a fluent speaker either.)
posted by box at 2:50 PM on March 11, 2008

Hulk fracasser!
posted by fire&wings at 2:50 PM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: A ha! Finding the right online resource helps.

1 fracasser Verb, transitive (a) to smash, shatter an object, smash down, smash a door in; se ~ contre to crash against

je fracasse, tu fracasses, il/elle fracasse, nous fracassons, vous fracassez, ils/elles fracassent

So that actually agrees with the original Babelfish translation, plus giving me the correct form. So I'm going with Hulk Fracasse!

Thanks everyone!
posted by Naberius at 3:00 PM on March 11, 2008

and here (warning: java)

Since the original is not proper grammar, I have no idea what form of the verb you'd use, once you chose a verb.
posted by jepler at 3:02 PM on March 11, 2008

I'm not a fluent French speaker and don't know the word for "smash," but I do wonder how it would be conjugated in order to reflect Hulk's particular grammatical charm. Possibly the infinitive?

And is "Hulk" pronounced "Oolk" in French?
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:02 PM on March 11, 2008

(Also: they publish Hulk comics in French, right? No sense reinventing the wheel here.)
posted by box at 3:04 PM on March 11, 2008

I can't find any direct translation ("Hulk smash!" on one side, French version on the other), but this page has "C'est Hulk, 'Puny humans, Hulk smash!' Pis là Hulk casse la baraque," where casse la baraque, literally 'breaks the hut,' is slang for 'brings the house down.' There are a bunch of pages with "Hulk casse..." but there may not be a canonical translation of "Hulk smash," since French fans may well use the English phrase. However, I did stumble on this insanely detailed French page on Hulk, which should serve you for all your other Hulk-related needs en français.
posted by languagehat at 3:04 PM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: Oh, bloody hell. And then martinrebas comes along. Can't argue with that, I guess.
posted by Naberius at 3:04 PM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: Oh yeah, the page on Casser is nice too.

1 casser Verb, transitive (a) to break a glass, snap a twig; to crack a nut; (in the sense of damage, stop working) to break a toy, television; to break a pattern, rythm; to slash prices; (Infml) se ~ les dents, (Slang) se ~ la gueule to fall arse over tit (Slang, humorous), come a cropper (Infml)

(d) (Slang) to beat up, bash in; je te casse la gueule! I'll smash your face in!, I'll smash your head in!; ~ du pédé to go queer-bashing; ~ du beur to go paki-bashing

Casse seems good too. Okay, I'll give them a couple options.
posted by Naberius at 3:09 PM on March 11, 2008

On non-preview:

He would probably say [blah blah blah] according to Babel Fish.

You realize this is like saying "he would probably say [blah blah blah] according to some random drunk I found on the street who had no idea what I was talking about," right? Babelfish is pretty useful for getting a vague idea of what some foreign webpage is about; it is completely useless for a specific equivalent like this. So is looking up "smash" in a dictionary; yes, there are a bunch of ways to say "break, smash" in French, and that fact really isn't of much use here if you want an actual French equivalent. The poster tried Babelfish himself; he presumably wants a better answer. I hate to sound like a broken record, but uninformed guesses don't help people find answers.

For what it's worth, "Hulk fracasse" gets significantly fewer hits than "Hulk casse."
posted by languagehat at 3:10 PM on March 11, 2008 [5 favorites]

While the Internet is fun and all, I'd suggest calling Marvel comics. I'm pretty sure they have a canonical answer for you. There is no substitute for actual research.
posted by chairface at 3:33 PM on March 11, 2008

A few words on methodology here, to add to languagehat's complaint.

I am a translator. You do not translate by using Babelfish, nor do you translate by looking up the word in a dictionary. If you have a working knowledge of both languages, then you can use a dictionary to generate suggestions so that you can then weigh these suggestions in your mind and decide which suggestion would best stand in for that use in that particular context. If you do not have a working knowledge of both languages then do not consult your dictionary; dictionaries are for understanding, not for translating. What you do in that case is you ask a translator or native speaker. Optimally you would ask several native speakers, since often their spontaneous, conscious reflection upon their own language does not match their fluent use of that language.

You can smash a window but not a shoe or a dog, even though can destroy all of these things; and if a bomb blew up a car, it would be a little odd to say that the bomb smashed the car, even if the effects are identical to a Hulk smashing. The verb is used very selectively, and t could easily be true that the French word you happen to find in the dictionary for "smash" doesn't extend to the case in question the way you expect it to, since it's only a rough match.

I'm pretty sure From Bklyn is a native French speaker; he's actually from Canada.

In "Hulk smash", what word form is that? An imperative? Or is it a noun describing his action? Is he trying to use the royal 'we'? Or is he speaking about himself in the third person with bad grammar? Or is it that these two rather punchy and primitive slabs of language, the words "hulk" and "smash", represent his two bunched fists in expressing his dumb, violent rage? Is it possible that he is not trying to utter a proposition and thus has no need for grammar?
posted by creasy boy at 3:55 PM on March 11, 2008 [4 favorites]

Hulk Ecrasé!
posted by euphorb at 3:58 PM on March 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

French speaker here.

I'm not sure what's the best answer, but i vote against fracasse. Fracasser, although it does have that meaning, is way too much of a nice word to be used by a green beast smashing things.

Why not go with martinrebas's link? Hulk va détruire!

Doubt there is one single word that would give the same 'feeling' as smash.

You can take the word from someone that had cereal boxes written english/french side by side to read off during breakfast.
posted by domi_p at 4:24 PM on March 11, 2008

My other half (a fluent French speaker & comic book/ superhero geek), agrees with Brocktoon... he'd likely just say "Hulk Smash!" (imagine it though with a French accent & no "h" sound on "Hulk"); although he's just guessing.
posted by Laura in Canada at 4:32 PM on March 11, 2008

An anglo comics geek, Quebec resident and former professional F-to-E translator here: I'm also in the "Hulk Smash!" camp.

"Hulk va détruire!" is good, and backtranslates as "Hulk will destroy!" which is actually a much less specific verb than "smash" in the first place.

"Casse," to my understanding, is used more in the sense of "to break into many pieces" or "to render non-functional" than "smash" in the Hulk sense. "Casse ta guele" does translate as "smash your face in," but that's idiomatic more than a direct translation of the common sense of the verb.

"Fracasse" is kind of a highfalutin' word for the Hulk to be using.

I think, dull as it sounds, "Hulk Smash!" is your best bet.
posted by Shepherd at 5:35 PM on March 11, 2008

I like "Hulk Ecraser!"
How about "Hulk Maganer"?
posted by bitteroldman at 7:11 PM on March 11, 2008

Why wouldn't it be "Hulcque?"
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:15 PM on March 11, 2008

The translator at Stingy Kids has some comments as well.
posted by djacobs at 7:17 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

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