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Tag Archives: #TranslationFail

 

Always busy promoting that Rats Make Great Pets, I research many a things rat related, switching between English and German.

 

Looking for an adequate translation of ‘pet rat’ into German I come across some interesting Google suggestions:

Google Translate gets it wrong: 'pet rat' is not 'Hausratte'.

Google Translate gets it wrong: ‘pet rat’ is not ‘Hausratte’.

 

An example how bad translation can make a wrong word commonplace.

 

The noun ‘pet’ is a lovely short word of endearment in English.

In German, it is: ‘Haustier’. A long awkward and rather impersonal term meaning literally ‘house animal’.

 

Yet, I see a lot of ‘Haustier Ratte’ around the internet:

Google wrongly corrects my spelling due to wrong translations on the internet.

Google wrongly corrects my spelling due to wrong translations on the internet.

 

This is just one of many examples how the internet lowers the standard of language use.

 

First of all, it’d be ‘Haustierratte’.

German likes to join the words together that belong together for quicker understanding. However, it also creates long words, very long words.

Like ‘Haustierratte’ would be one of those long awkward words.

 

The ‘Tier’ in ‘Haustier’ becomes redundant as we specified the animal as a rat, so the shortened version ‘Hausratte’ springs to mind.

However, ‘Hausratte’ is already taken as the overall classification of the Rattus rattus and is therefore wrong as a translation for ‘pet rat’.

 

Luckily, German has a word for ‘domesticated rat’: Farbratte

 

Wikipedia automatically redirects Haustierratte to Farbratte.

 

Farbratte literally means colour rat.

As opposed to wild rats, which are all agouti, a brownish greyish coat all over.

The colours of domesticated rats vary wildly in shades, markings, and body and coat type.

 

Funny enough, Farbratte would be translated into English as Fancy rat.

So we’re back at the beginning: There is no real translation for ‘pet rat’ into German…

 

Maybe then ‘Haustierratte’ is fitting, for me it represents something like this:

Haustierratte: This is what I picture a house pet rat to look like: All prim and proper, tending to her home.

Haustierratte: This is what I picture a house pet rat to look like: All prim and proper, tending to her home.

 

#RatsMakeGreatPets

#TranslationFail

#LocalisationRatherThanTranslation

 

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