Friday, July 8, 2005
Talk Nerdy To Me
From Reader Malinda:
"Tian, long time reader first time emailer. I bought this shirt on Jinx.com - now I'm nervous... Does it really say 'Talk Nerdy to me?'"
Other than 言 is missing a dot on top (thanks to anon.), I forwarded her question to my associates and here is what they had to say about the shirt.
Aaron replied with:
"Well, it's not WRONG, as in poor Japanese, but it's not really 'Talk Nerdy to Me' either. It says 'Konpyuuta gengo de hanasou ze.' This translates roughly to 'Let's speak in the language of computers!' The dirty/nerdy wordplay is, of course, obliterated once you get into Japanese.
Also, nerds are, of course, not just computer people, and not all computer people are nerds. I usually translate "nerd" as "otaku," although that conjures up more of an anime/manga freak than a computer/DnD freak... It's basically not the sort of thing that translates very well.
That being said, having taught Japanese and having just met up with some of my former students in Tokyo the other night, just having the shirt in Japanese might be sufficiently nerdy to impart the intended meaning."
Ken replied with:
"Not a bad translation although I wouldn't say it's a natural Japanese sentence. Grammatically, there's no problems.
I'd re-translate this Japanese into English as: Shall we talk in the computer language?
1. Real nerds wouldn't say "the computer language".
2. The letter at the very end which reads "ze" is written in katakana instead of hiragana. This is like, wRi71ng 3nGlisH LIk3 THis. Well, not this much, but basically it's a word play. In any case, using a katakana letter at the end is way out of fasion.
Having said all the above, I like this T-shirt. It's funny enough to make me laugh. Come to think of it, it's so much better to have an awkward sentence on a T-shirt than to have a perfect sentence. It draws more attention. That's what a phrase on a T-shirt is supposed to do."
Now you know, and knowing is:
or "Knowing is half the battle".