Sunday, 17 February 2013

Found in translation

There are two words which have been curiously mistranslated from Swedish to Finnish:

1) Domkyrka (tuomiokirkko). Dom = dome, but also doom, and kyrka = church. So, it means "dome church" in Swedish, but it was translated to Finnish as if it was "doom church". (The Finnish words for "dome", "kupoli", and "doom", "tuomio", are not similar to each other.)

2) Svartsjuk (mustasukkaisuus). Svart = black, sjuk = sick, and "blacksick" in Swedish means "jealous". But "sick" sounds like "sock" (and "sjuk" sounds like the Finnish word for sock, "sukka"), so it was translated to "black socked".

I wonder if this phenomenon exists between other languages!

(I've heard that the "glass slipper" in Cinderella would be a mistranslation of "fur slipper", but I'm not so sure if it's true... )


  1. Are you sure about 1)? I'd rather assume it's a loanword. In German it's Domkirche, and it stems from Latin domus, house. Maybe that's the same in Finnish, and it's not a translation from Swedish at all?

  2. "Sure" as in "I didn't make this stuff up" :)

    The Finnish word "tuomio" (doom, verdict, judgement) isn't connected to "domus" as far as I can see. The Swedish "dom" in "domkyrka", comes from "domus" as you said, and the Finnish mistranslation is via the Swedish word "dom".

    But now that you said it, "domkyrka" being a "dome church" is probably another mistranslation :)

  3. ... And now I really started thinking if "tuomio" comes from "domus", they're kind of similar words, so, in kitchen etymology, there must be a connection. (But this connection is probably separate from domus-church. Or maybe not!) Too bad Google didn't help. I need to check this stuff when I get a etymological dictionary of Finnish...

  4. Possibly very remotely related: siskonmakkara. From Wikipedia: "The word siskonmakkara is a partial loan translation from the Swedish compound word siskonkorv (korv meaning “sausage”) whose siskon part had originally been susiskon, derived from German Saucischen and French saucisse, both meaning "small sausage".[2] The word siskon is a homonym of the genetive form of the word sisko meaning "sister", as the word siskonmakkara appears to mean “sister’s sausage”."

    So, the original meaning has been lost (at least for me).

  5. Love the doom church, made my day.