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Major Presidential gaffe or mere translation blunder?

Whilst I enjoy the blissful first days of freelancing, optimistically arranging my new stationery on my desk and honing my business skills before the real work begins, it would seem that across the channel feelings are turning a little sour. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, has provided the world’s media and Francophiles such as myself with a topic for discussion. How, exactly, should Sarkozy’s remark “Casse-toi, alors pauvre con” be translated? Is it quite as rude as it first appears? Whichever way you look at it, as Matthew Weaver points out on his newsblog at The Guardian, this is not the ideal behaviour of any head of state.

Watch the offending remark:

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User Responses

5 Responses and Counting...

  1. céline

    February 27, 2008

    This was translated by the Sky News French correspondant as “Get lost, you poor cretin”. Not bad I thought.

  2. philippa

    February 27, 2008

    Not bad at all.

  3. Emmanuelle Darut

    February 27, 2008

    The Times correspondent in Paris finds an equivalent with “get lost, stupid a-hole”
    http://timescorrespondents.typepad.com/charles_bremner/2008/02/casse-toi-casse.html
    “get lost” sounds too soft to me and the whole sentence is slang so is there an English slang equivalent for “get lost”?

  4. philippa

    February 27, 2008

    We might say ‘sod off’ or ‘shove off’ (or even ‘piss off’, a stronger version) – they’re not really expletives but are offensive enough, a little more so than ‘get lost’ with the right tone and in the right context.

  5. Nick Rosenthal

    February 27, 2008

    Thank you, Philippa. After seeing this reported in The Guardian as “piss off”, I had been wondering exactly what His Presidentness had actually said!

    Nick

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