Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Are You Having a Bad Hair Day?

I learned two important things from the news today:
1) London just won the "World's Largest Coconut Orchestra" challenge with over 5,500 coconut-banging participants.
2) Spain's El Buli is the best restaurant in the world according to the S.Pellegrino Awards.
Watching T.V. also helped my husband and I to determine that there are some concepts you just cannot translate. Every once in a while we can get T.V. shows in original version on the digital channels, so sometimes we are lucky enough to see Friends in English, we always get Grey's Anatomy in English, but House is never in English. These three programs are on the same channel, so I'm sure there is some guy sitting around saying, "Eenie, meeny, miny, mot, you're in English and you are not (I know it's moe, but then it wouldn't rhyme would it?). So, House usually sounds like this:
But, the other day we saw the episode of Friends where everybody goes to London, and at one point Phoebe says, "I have a wedgie". My husband and I started thinking about how such a concept could be translated to Spanish. In the series they translate it as, "Se me ha metido la braga por el culo" (basically, my panties are up my butt), and we came to the conclusion that that concept doesn't exist in Spanish. Well, the concept does, in what country in the world doesn't that happen? But there's no word for it. Just like the concept of a "Bad Hair Day", it simply doesn't even exist.
No wonder so much gets lost in translation. I mean, imagine Bush trying to explain to Angela Merkel that he's having a bad hair day and that's why he recently groped her at the G-8 Summit.


  1. You know, we used to call a "wedgie" a "high grundy" where I grew up (Michigan). Well, actually that was when somebody pulled your underwear up over your head. But the point is, English seems to have at least 2 words/phrase related to that concept. How can there not be one in Spanish?

  2. Hi Diesel,
    Yeah that's what I thought too, but after watching that episode of Friends, I looked it up in Wikipedia. It seems people also use it to mean having your underwear up your butt, but anyway in Spanish there's absolutely no word for it. At least it's a concept you can explain, but bad hair day is something that people just don't get over here. This kind of stuff makes it really hard to do good translations of movies, t.v. and books, I would love to see House in English because I am sure it loses a lot in Spanish.

  3. I will have to get Jim to watch the coconut orchestra; he loves Monty Python. His computer doesn't do video, so he has to watch it on the laptop (which has mysterious become mostly mine.)

  4. Michelle,
    It doesn't seem too mysterious to me, I would keep that laptop if I were you, especially if the other one doesn't do video.