Bonus: Estamos texting todo el tiempo

(Or as Google Translate would put it: Nosotros estamos enviando mensajes de texto todo el tiempo.)

Our recent foray into the Baldo translation mysteries included an interesting subthread on whether the Spanish seemed to reflect any particular national-origin variety of the language (or since the setting is in the U.S. , there might be contemporary U.S.-regional varieties at play ) , or rather a textbook or generic Western Hemisphere compromise variety of the language. Also in question was “official, standard” language versus slang and colloquial.

Last week’s and this week’s strips provide a wealth of material bearing on those issues. The teen characters are doing a lot of texting, so we get to see the handling of such matters as: standard texting abbreviations; spontaneous abbreviations or “shorthand”; accidental typos, and bad autocorrect and autocomplete insertions; and intrusion of English terms instead of “official” Spanish. Thus for OMG they stick with OMG in the Spanish context, though I think elsewhere I’ve seen DM (for Dios mío not in this case Direct Message); and “texting” in both English and Spanish versions.



(Two wordless strips depict a deepening of the romantic jealousy crisis.)

(For anyone paying close attention to the dates, there were strips over the weekend that were not part of this series.)






¿Qué quiere decir esta palabra “significa”?

I.e. , What does this word “means” mean? Or maybe What does this Spanish word “significa” mean?

In the Spanish version, Baldo’s question in panel 3 ¿Qué significa eso? he speculatively answers for himself with sort of paraphrases of Sergio’s [Papi’s] saying from panel 2, but tending more toward argumentative applications to his current situation. When Sergio answers in panel 4 by just repeating the saying verbatim and asserting that is the meaning, he is bringing down Baldo’s flights of fancy and special pleading by just repeating the idea, for an “it is what it is” effect. All of this makes easy sense.

In the English version, Sergio’s saying in panel 2 is originally presented in Spanish, then repeated in panel 4 in English translation. So It means … in panel 4 amounts to It would be translated as … . Then when we look at Baldo’s What does that mean … in panel 3, is he still only asking for significance and situational applications (which he then supplies, sometimes ironically)? Or is he in any part asking for help in translation? (Since a translation is what he gets.)

Bonus Baldo: A pun before and after translation

Back in last November, in this “OY collection” post, we discussed a Baldo strip and the matching Baldo en Español where an element of the joke doesn’t come thru in the Spanish version, and combined this observation with other instances, as well as “About” tab type info and external sources, to agree that the strip seems usually to have been first written in English, then translated for the Spanish version.

(In that November post, if you feel like scrolling back, there was also a fun digression stemming from a different comic, on a style of word-play puzzle called by some “Dingbats”, a sort of text-layout rebus.)

In March, Arnold Zwicky’s Blog discussed a related example, with the same conclusion, where the English Baldo was about English language spelling and pronunciation (just pointing out that tough, cough, and dough give different sounds to the -ough sequence of letters) and the Baldo en Español just used the Spanish translations of those words, which really don’t resemble each other in any special way, certainly not rhyming. Zwicky also brought up some possibilities on how the Spanish version could have been handled. (And yes, that’s me popping into the comments.)
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Now lookit what just showed up on GoComics!


All the Spanish that you really need to know here is that pecado indeed means sin, and pescado means fish (as food).

In the English version, Tía Carmen’s jest is to turn the saying “Hate the sin but love the sinner” into “… love the dinner”. In Spanish she says “… love the fish [we are eating]” which is basically the same idea, but manages to preserve the word-play element because of the resemblance of pecado and pescado.