[PW] question for any British wombats

cowan at ccil.org cowan at ccil.org
Mon Apr 20 09:10:17 PDT 2015


Kevin O'Kelly scripsit:

> She uses phrases like "graduate summa cum laude" instead of "get a first"

Sounds like classic over-translation to me.  One translation of
Solzhenytsin's _One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch" translates
a Russian phrase meaning "from the first clang of the rail to the
last clang of the rail" as "from reveille to taps".  When I showed
this to a russophile friend, he asked if the translator renamed the
hero "Private Dennison".  There's also the idea (due to Douglas Hofstadter)
of "translating" a history of France written in French into German
by making it a history of Germany!  (Presumably it would start with
Charlemagne / Karl der Grosse and diverge from there.)

If any change was required, "get a first-class degree" might be
clearer for Americans.

> and also has used the phrase "baby boomers" at least once.

Doing a Google search showed the phrase appearing in the _Mirror_, the
_Telegraph_, and the _Daily Mail_.  (I disregarded the _Guardian_ because
it has American writers and even American subs / copy editors.)  I think
that's fair evidence that the phrase is not unknown there.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Yank.)

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