a help for translation

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a help for translation

Post by magu » Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:01 pm

Hi everybody,
I'm doing a translation from Spanish into English and I would like some help as I can't find a proper word to translate the Spanish word "maruja". I'll explain what a "maruja" is. It's a kind of
housewife whose main interests are snooping and gossiping and she usually has a very low cultural level.
I hope you could help me.
Thanks
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a help for translation

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:09 pm

I'm not sure that there is a single term in English that encompasses all those aspects, but 'busybody', 'meddler' and 'nosy parker' cover some of it. Depending on the precise context, you might need to qualify your chosen term with 'ignorant' and 'housewife'.
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a help for translation

Post by Shelley » Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:47 pm

Fishwife might cover it: implies both gender, (housewife) and crude (low culture). Lacks the "gossip" feature, though. Defined in my computer's "Encarta" Dictionary as a:
1. coarse and loud woman; a woman who is regarded as loud-voiced and lacking in manners (insult)
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:01 pm

Shelley, you're quite right. I missed that one.
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a help for translation

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:24 pm

Matilde, The originally Yiddish expression YENTA, which now appears in Standard English dictionaries and is considered fairly common usage (I think), seems to be nearly a perfect fit, although I’m not sure if an ethnic expression would necessarily suit your purposes:

Standard Dictionaries define a ‘yenta’ as follows:

YENTA [1923]: a person, especially a woman, who is meddlesome or gossipy; a busybody, gossip, blabbermouth.

But these definitions leave out one of the original components, which would provide one of the aspects your require – a person of ‘low origins.’ And as one who grew up with Yiddish all around me, I would say that was very often an aspect associated with being a YENTA, although not then or now a necessary condition.
___________________________________________________

From The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten:

YENTA:

1) A woman of low origins or vulgar manners: a shrew, a shallow coarse termagant. “She is the biggest yenta on the block.” “She has the tact of a yenta

2) A gossipy woman, a scandal spreader, a rumormonger; one unable to keep a secret or respect a confidence. In this sense, men are sometimes described as yentas, just as one might call a male blabbermouth an “an old woman.”
___________________________________________________

Yenta derives from ‘Yente,’ originally a Yiddish female given name (“until some ungracious yenta gave it a bad name”), which earlier had been ‘Yentl.’ Interestingly enough, this name derives from the Old Italian word ‘gentile,’ meaning kind and amiable, and earlier noble, highborn, from Latin ‘gentilis,’ of the same clan.
<1923 “The slattern YENTEHS lounging on the stoops . . . were transfigured.”—‘Salome of the Tenements’ by A Yezierska, page 12>

<1931 “Jesus God, you talk like a typical YENTA”—A Jew in Love’ by b. Hecht, page 122>

<1948 “YENTE has become synonymous with noisiness and vulgarity, plus implications of rough good-heartedness.”—‘Commentary,’ V. page 500/1>

<1968 “YENTA, I am told, was a perfectly acceptably name for a lady, derived from the Italian gentile— until some ungracious YENTA gave it a bad name.”—‘Encounter,’ September, page 27/1>

<1970 “A couple of YENTAS got nothing better to do, they'll take a sunbath right by my window.”—‘The Bind’ by S. Ellin, xxiii. page 114>

<1975 “It is to the director's credit that she manages to hold down Doris Roberts' performance as the YENTE.”—‘New Yorker,’ 24 November, page 167/3>

<1980 “In other tales, a couple trying to submerge their heritage in a Wasp suburb are threatened by an old YENTA; if they do not give money to her charities, she will expose them to the smothering tolerance and curiosity of the Christian community. ‘Time Magazine,’ 21 January>

<1982 “YENTA-gram – New York City service which sends a YENTA [Yiddish for female busybody] to the person of one’s choice as a means of inducing guilt.”—‘Live at Five’, WNBC-TV, 3 March> [[I like it!]]

<1996 “There are more mundane reasons First Wives is a hit. It has three stars playing to their strengths: Midler the canny YENTA, Keaton mining lodes of pruney anguish, Hawn a glorious hoot encased in her collagenized lips and sprawling ego. ‘Time Magazine,’ 7 October>

<2000 “. . .a person who gossips too much ‘may become defined as a ‘big mouth’ or a ‘YENTA’ who will ‘talk to anyone about anything,’ as a person who cannot be trusted to keep a secret or to be discreet with ‘privileged information.’”—‘The Academy of Management Review,’ Vol. 25, No. 2, April, page 432>

<2004 “It helps that the modern-day YENTA [[dating service owner]] looks less like Sylvia Miles in Crossing Delancey and more like Alicia Silverstone in NBC's Miss Match: young, attractive and a long way from loserdom--just like her clients. ‘Time Magazine,’ 16 February>
(Random House and Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionaries, American Heritage Dictionary)
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Ken G – March 15, 2006
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Post by Bobinwales » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:49 pm

Hang on Ken, I have never heard of a Yenta, it is not a word that would be recognised in UK English, and although I grant you that US English is taking over the world, I would not be happy telling someone from Spain that "Yenta" would be (a) legitimate, and (b) universally understood..

I would have called such a woman a gossip.
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a help for translation

Post by Shelley » Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:39 am

Believe it or not, I too thought of offering "yenta" to magu to mean a busybody-type, Ken Greenwald. I equate it so strongly with "matchmaker" though (after all, she is Yente the Matchmaker and a whole song is devoted to her), that I censored myself because I wasn't sure that characteristic was part of magu's equation.
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Post by minjeff » Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:19 am

I agree with Bob: call her a gossip, and if you absolutely must use a strong adjective to modify such as incessant or meddlesome (or both).

Along the lines of: He married a meddlesome incessant gossip.
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a help for translation

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:27 am

Bob and Shelley, YENTA is an expression mainly used in the U.S., as the Oxford English Dictionary tells us (although the U.S. dictionaries don’t seem to), and its use would depend on the audience for which it was intended. And I did realize that it would not necessarily be appropriate for the translation, although it was a good fit, when I said “I’m not sure if an ethnic expression would necessarily suit your purposes.”

The characters of the play ‘Fiddler on the Roof’’ (set in a small Russian village in 1905) were taken from stories of the Russian Jewish writer (novels, plays, and short stories written in Yiddish) Sholom Aleichem (1859-1916), who emigrated to the U. S. in 1906. His name, incidentally, in Yiddish literally means ‘peace be with you.’

In Aleichem’s lifetime YENTA was just a Jewish woman’s given name and had never meant ‘matchmaker’ (and still doesn’t) and never had the negative ‘busybody’ connotations that it acquired in the 1920s, some years after his death. The name has certainly gone downhill since Aleichem used it in his stories and it is an open question, as far as I could determine, if his writings played a part in this. In any case, I would hazard a guess that there isn’t a Jew alive, and there hasn’t been for some time, who would choose to name their baby girl Yenta.
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a help for translation

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:19 am

.. but how things change ..
yenta: "gossip, busybody," 1923, from Yente Telebende, comic strip gossip in 1920s-30s writing of Yiddish newspaper humorist B. Kovner (pen-name of Jacob Adler) in the "Jewish Daily Forward." It was a common Yiddish fem. proper name, alt. from Yentl and said to be ult. from It. gentile "kind, gentle," earlier "noble, high-born".
Source: Online Etymological Dictionary
.. and even though I know Ken derides the Wikipedia, others don't Ken, they mention the following ..
Among Orthodox Jews, the use of the word "Yenta" in the derogatory sense is considered by some as lashon hara, since it is considered to defame all women who have that name, though many may be quite respectable.

Lashon hara (Hebrew for "evil tongue"; also transliterated as loshon hora or similar variations) is the Jewish concept of gossip, slander, and defamation. Truth is not a defense to the sin of lashon hara.
.. and Ken I think you observation that it is considered fairly common usage should be qualified with in the USA or North America ..

WoZ of Aus 16/03/06
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a help for translation

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:44 am

Wiz, see yenta.
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Ken – March 15, 2006
[h]Posted - 16 Mar 2006 : 17:53:12[/h]It's the first time I've used this forum and I'd like to thank everybody in it who has answered my post.
I think that "meddlesome gossip" closely fits the meaning of the Spanish word "maruja".
Just one little point, for us "maruja" never conveys the meaning of "matchmaker".

Magu
[h]Posted - 16 Mar 2006 : 19:37:05[/h]
magu wrote: Just one little point, for us "maruja" never conveys the meaning of "matchmaker".
Because I was the one in the thread who introduced matchmaker to the word YENTA, I'd like to be the one to reiterate Ken Greenwald's clarification on this point:
The characters of the play ‘Fiddler on the Roof’’ (set in a small Russian village in 1905) were taken from stories of the Russian Jewish writer (novels, plays, and short stories written in Yiddish) Sholom Aleichem (1859-1916), who emigrated to the U. S. in 1906. His name, incidentally, in Yiddish literally means ‘peace be with you.’
In Aleichem’s lifetime YENTA was just a Jewish woman’s given name and had never meant ‘matchmaker’ (and still doesn’t) and never had the negative ‘busybody’ connotations that it acquired in the 1920s, some years after his death.
I formed my impression from the musical mentioned, "Fiddler on the Roof". Ken makes clear that the character of the matchmaker was simply named Yente. So, not only does maruja NOT mean matchmaker, YENTA does NOT mean matchmaker, either!
Having said that, I think it can be agreed that the following quote from Ken’s list does obscure the meaning a bit:
2004 “It helps that the modern-day YENTA [[dating service owner]] looks less like Sylvia Miles in Crossing Delancey and more like Alicia Silverstone in NBC's Miss Match: young, attractive and a long way from loserdom--just like her clients. ‘Time Magazine,’ 16 February
It’s possible that the word YENTA might be taking on an unintended meaning. I don't think Sylvia Miles' character in "Crossing Delancey" was named Yenta. Judging from the above quote from Time, I’m not the only one who mistakenly thought that yenta and matchmaker are one and the same.
Thanks for listening!

Shelley
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:08 pm

Shelley, You may be right. I had taken that quote to mean a 'busybody' who happened to be a 'matchmaker,' but your interpretation that its primary meaning there is 'matchmaker' makes sense also.
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a help for translation

Post by NogaNote » Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:41 pm

I agree with bobinwales that "yenta" would not be a good choice in the case of translation from Spanish. Even if it has entered more general usage in American English, it is too culture-specific to the Yiddish that produced it. In other words, it comes with too heavy an ethnic baggage. I would be just as sceptical about "fishwife". The "maruja" is a type that transcends cultures, races, and nationalities.
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a help for translation

Post by trolley » Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:56 pm

I guess the term “Gladys Kravitz” would require too much clarification.
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a help for translation

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:29 pm

"Abnerrrrrr!!!!!"
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