Lost In Translation / Izgubljeno u prijevodu

When I worked for P&O Cruises as a singer in their theatre company, Dubrovnik was my only experience of Croatia. On my first visit to Split to meet Ante’s family and friends, I realised how very little Croatian I had learnt. I had the basics under my belt to show that I was willing to learn but nothing that could prepare me for a conversation.

 

A good friend of ours that we met on P&O’s Oriana taught me my first curse: 

“nemoj me zajebavat”

Translated to English it means, “don’t **** with me”

I can’t ever imagine this being inoffensive to the English but I’m assured that this is more casual and playful than the direct translation suggests and that kids as young as 8 are saying this phrase! Let’s just say that Croatian’s are a lot more free-spirited and indeed creative when it comes to swearing and cursing.

Having now used this phrase often over the last 5 years, I can confirm that if you say it with a cheeky smile, Croatian people will laugh hard and embrace you.

 

So there we have it! I had learnt enough to say hey, I’m making an effort, and I had a short phrase (that I learnt phonetically) that said don’t mess with me if anyone started to mock me.

 

So what can I remember about my first visit?

I remember how amused Ante’s mum was at my desire to use a knife and fork with any food that I was presented with. Croatians really get stuck into their food and on more than one occasion I was told by Ante’s dad (I refer to him as Papa Franić) not to be afraid to use my hands!  That said, they are perhaps more adept at using their hands than I am with using cutlery!

 

When you eat fish in Croatia it’s generally not filleted as in the UK. You are given the whole fish with the eyes staring at you.

The first time I tried to eat grilled fish at Mama & Papa Franić's was a classic. When I announced that I was finished and could eat no more I will never forget Papa Franić's reaction. He looked at me with his standard expression of suspicion, looked down at the fish with the same suspicion and back to me before saying, “what did that fish ever do to you?”… It was clear (once translated to me) that Ante’s dad thought I had completely butchered the poor fish.

 

Oh and the translating via Ante! I was sure that he wasn’t telling me everything. Especially when I once asked him to apologise to his mum and say that although the food was delicious, I couldn’t eat anymore. His translation was simply “ma daj!”

When I criticised his translation Ante’s response was, “Michelle, she wouldn’t understand all that! And apologising is a British thing!”

He tells me often, “there’s no direct comparison” or, “the meaning is lost in translation.”

 

Something that surprised me (in a good way!) is that by the end of the holiday I found that I didn’t always need Ante to translate.

At a friend’s house, we were teasing each other at the table. Ante made some wisecrack to which I threw an icy glare – part joking, part watch your step, dear.

His friend, not missing a beat retorted, “doćeš ti doma!” to which I not only acknowledged but agreed with knowingly before we fell about laughing.

Ante teasing me further said, “ha ha ha… why are you laughing? What did he say? You don’t know…”

And I realised he was right. I hadn't learnt any of those words. How did I know what was being said? Maybe it was the tone that his friend had used. Or maybe it was the familiarity of the situation where couples bicker and push each other’s buttons to the point where the only appropriate response is… “Wait ‘til I get you home”

 In that moment, I realised then that you didn’t have to always know a language in order to understand the intention behind the words. And perhaps not all is lost in translation.

I picked up another handy phrase that night!

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 Izgubljeno u prijevodu - Preveo Ante Franic

 

Kada sam radila za cruise kompaniju "P&O Cruises" kao pjevačica u kazališnoj trupi, Dubrovnik je bio moje jedino iskustvo Hrvatske. Za vrijeme mog prvog posjeta Splitu, kada sam upoznala Antinu obitelj i prijatelje, shvatila sam koliko sam zapravo malo hrvatskog naučila. Ovladala sam tek osnovama kako bih pokazala da sam voljna učiti, ali ipak nedovoljno da bih bila spremna upustiti se u razgovor.

 

Naš dobar prijatelj, kojeg smo upoznali na P&O brodu Oriana, naučio me moju prvu psovku: Nemoj me zajebavat!.

Prevedeno na engleski to znači Dont f*** with me!.

Ne mogu zamisliti kako bi ovo bilo neuvredljivo za Engleza, ali sam sigurna da je ova fraza zapravo više neformalna i zaigrana, nego što to direktan prijevod sugerira i da je djeca od 8 godina već koriste (ne sva, naravno). Recimo da su Hrvati puno slobodnijeg duha i zaista kreativni kad su psovanje i proklinjanje u pitanju.

Upotrebljavajući ovu frazu često u proteklih 5 godina, mogu potvrditi da ako je izrečete uz vragolasti osmijeh Hrvati će se iskreno nasmijati i prihvatiti vas.

 

I eto ga na! Naučila sam dovoljno da kažem: "Ej, trudim se!", a znala sam i kratku frazu (koju sam naučila fonetski) kojom sam mogla poručiti da me ne diraju ako bi mi se netko našao rugati.

 

I čega se sjećam iz svog prvog posjeta?

Sjećam se kako je zabavno Antinoj mami izgledala moja želja da koristim nož i vilicu uz svako jelo koje su mi servirali. Hrvati stvarno ozbiljno shvaćaju svoju hranu i više nego jednom prilikom mi je Antin otac (kojeg ja zovem Papa Franić) rekao da se ne bojim upotrijebiti ruke dok jedem! Kad mi je to bilo rečeno, učinilo mi se da su oni više naviknuti koristiti se rukama, nego ja priborom za jelo!

 

Kada vam u Hrvatskoj serviraju ribu, ona uglavnom nije filetirana kao u Velikoj Britaniji, već vam serviraju cijelu ribu s očima koje zure u vas.

Prvi put kada sam pokušala jesti ribu s roštilja kod mame i pape Franića postao je klasik. Kada sam proglasila da sam završila i da ne mogu više jesti, izazvala sam reakciju pape Franića koju nikad neću zaboraviti. Pogledao me svojim standardnim sumnjičavim izrazom, zatim je pogledao ribu u mom tanjuru istim takvim pogledom punim sumnje i napokon pogledao je opet u mene i kazao: A šta ti je ta riba učinila u životu?! Bilo mi je jasno (kad mi je bilo prevedeno što je papa Franić rekao) da on misli da sam ja jadnu ribu totalno masakrirala.

 

E da, i to mi je Ante preveo! A bila sam sigurna da mi nije sve rekao, naročito kada sam ga zamolila da se ispriča svojoj mami i kaže joj da, iako je hrana odlična i ukusna, ja stvarno ne mogu više. A njegov prijevod glasio je: Ma daj!.

A kada sam ga kritizirala zbog takvog prijevoda, odgovorio mi je Michelle, ona ne bi to razumjela! A isprika je ionako engleska stvar!

Često mi kaže kako ne postoji direktan prijevod ili da se značenje izgubilo u prijevodu.

 

Nešto što me stvarno iznenadilo (pozitivno) je činjenica da pred kraj odmora nisam uvijek trebala Antu da mi sve prevede.

Bili smo u posjeti kod prijateja i, sjedeći za stolom, zafrkavali smo se međusobno. Ante je nešto komentirao, na što sam ja odgovorila ledenim pogledom dijelom šaleći se, a drugim dijelom poručujući: "Pazi se, dragi!". Njegov prijatelj, vidjevši to, kaže: Doćeš ti doma! što ne samo da sam prihvatila, nego sam se i složila prije nego smo se svi skupa počeli smijati.

Ante je, i dalje me zafrkavajući, rekao: "Ha, ha, ha, a šta se ti smiješ? Šta je reka? Nemaš pojma…”

I shvatila sam da je u pravu. Nisam znala ni jednu jedinu riječ. Pa kako sam onda shvatila što je rekao? Možda zbog tona kojim je bilo rečeno. Ili mi je možda bila poznata situacija u kojoj parovi zadirkuju jedan drugog do točke u kojoj je jedini mogući odgovor: Doćeš ti doma!.

U tom trenutku shvatila sam da nije uvijek potrebno znati jezik da bi se shvatilo značenje namjere iza riječi. I možda nije sve baš sve izgubljeno u prijevodu.

Te sam noći skupila još jednu korisnu frazu!