HomeQ&AEn realidad, ni siquiera le dirigían la palabra.

En realidad, ni siquiera le dirigían la palabra.

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Again from Harry Potter and la piedra filosofal.

The english version translates as

In fact, they did not speak to him at all.

This translation to spanish seams strange as dirigir doesn't make sense, why not use this translation.

no le hablaban

3208 views
updated AGO 1, 2008
posted by Lee-Allen

9 Answers

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James, el empapado, ya que mis antepasados llegaron a este país cruzando no solo un río, sino un mar

BWAHAHA!!!!

Bellísimo. smile

updated AGO 1, 2008
posted by Criss
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It certainly sounds like your erstwhile suitor could have used some sensitivity training, but... I know from personal experience that sometimes words are used out of ignorance. For example, my parents, who are the most unbigoted people on earth, grew up saying "Get your cotton-pickin' hands off of...," and so I too used this expression. We all just thought of it as a euphemism for "Get your G'' d '''hands off of..." You know, sort of like saying phooey or shoot.

It wasn't until I went to live in Japan (at age 22) that a kindly older American man pointed out the real meaning of the phrase to me. I was horrified, of course, and stopped using it immediately, but I can truly say that I had used it all those years in complete innocence.

While it's hard to imagine that your friend was completely unaware of what he was saying, we should always give people the benefit of the doubt. What did he say when you pointed out the offensiveness of the word to him (as I'm sure you did)?

James, el empapado, ya que mis antepasados llegaron a este país cruzando no solo un río, sino un mar

updated AGO 1, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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Good grief - that's pretty bad.

Then again, I once had a conversation with a guy where he used the term "wetbacks" to refer to the maintenance workers at apartment complexes (all of them, at any apartment complex) when talking to me. This was probably the second or third time I'd talked to this guy, so we're in the early stages of the potential relationship, when you're on your best behavior trying to impress the other person; and he knew I was a Spanish teacher, and we'd probably discussed already that I grew up in Chile.

The worst part was he didn't even realize there was anything wrong with what he'd said, even after I'd pointed it out to him... he found it to be a perfectly reasonable statement to make. I guess it's totally cool to use racist slurs when you're trying to impress a date, especially when they refer to your date's own culture. (Here in Texas, anything south of The Border is "Mexico.")

He was pretty, but there wasn't much else.

updated AGO 1, 2008
posted by Criss
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Funny story, the first book Harry Potter Spanish book I bought fell apart. The binding was bad. So I took it to the store to return it. The manager told me that it was probably printed in mexico and appologized for the problem.

How stupid. I was reading a book in spanish and she speaks badly of Mexico.

The funny part is she looked inside the cover and had she actualy read it, she would have found it was printed in spain!!!

updated JUL 31, 2008
posted by Lee-Allen
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That would be interesting... I know many books I've bought (or I've made my dad buy for me) in Chile are printed in Spain, so they use Iberian Spanish, vosotros, etc.

My sister has a Spanish copy of one of the HP books bought in LatAm, so I'll have to ask her about it.

updated JUL 31, 2008
posted by Criss
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Good point, Criss. In Lee's defense, though, I don't think he meant to omit the "ni siquiera" part from the translation, so his version would have been "ni siquiera le hablaban." That does imply a little bit of conscious decision, but I agree with you that "no le dirigían la palabra" is much better at conveying the intended nuance.

I wonder if there are Spanish versions of Harry Potter that reflect the two English versions (UK vs. US). There was some controversy over the US version (some said it took away too much of the British flavor), and it would be interesting to see translations in Iberian and American Spanish.

updated JUL 31, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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I would argue there is a difference between not talking to someone ("No le hablaban") and not speaking to him at all ("No le dirigían la palabra"). Perhaps in English it's not as clear, but "no le hablaban" just means they didn't happen to be chatting at that particular point in time, as in they might not have thought of anything to say. It does not necessarily imply that they had made a conscious choice to refuse to speak to him.

"Ni siquiera le dirigían la palabra," on the other hand, means they clearly refused to speak to him or acknowledge him in any way. They would not even "direct words toward him" or speak in his direction (with their head turned that way) lest he mistakenly think they had spoken to him or acknowledged that he even happened to be in the same room. To me, the book's translation is much stronger and conveys the feeling of them not talking to him because they are angry with him.

updated JUL 31, 2008
posted by Criss
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This translation to spanish seams strange as dirigir doesn't make sense

You cannot translate word by word, because "dirigir la palabra (a alguien)" is a collocation, and I'd say also a good translation too. Many collocations in English don't make sense in Spanish if you translate them word by word (e.g. "make sense" doesn't make sense in Spanish, but "have sense" does.)

collocation
1 [C] (ALSO collocate) a word or phrase which is frequently used with another word or phrase, in a way that sounds correct to people who have spoken the language all their lives, but might not be expected from the meaning. (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

updated JUL 31, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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The translator was trying to capture the register of the original. "No le hablaban" is "They didn't talk to him," but the original says "they did not speak to him," which is higher in register. The Spanish translation is a pretty good attempt at conveying the same register.

updated JUL 31, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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