Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Husband, a Pilot and Easy Credit

This billboard caught my eye recently, reminding me of World War II, Soviet-era artwork, bold and powerful and simple.

In a nutshell, it’s from SKB bank, publicizing easy loans. The two bottom lines in black print are about that, easily translated, He can get credit without a problem.

But the top two lines, in red, had me puzzled for a while. Say, perhaps you would like a glimpse into the always intriguing world of translating? Made even more interesting because I know just enough Russian to be dan-ger-ous!

1) Here's the off-the-cuff version I developed there on the street: Maybe you can’t leave with your husband the pilot, (But he can get credit without a problem). . . Hmmm. On second thought, this didn’t seem realistic. I'm not seeing pilots exiting en masse. Besides, pilot needs to be the subject of the sentence. On to version 2.

2) The chew-on-it-at-home version: Got a photo of it, brought it home and got out the dictionary:
*Может - maybe
*не (not) вышел - Has gone out; has got out; has appeared; etc etc etc)
*из мужа - from; of; out of. . . husband
*пилот - pilot – This is the subject of the sentence.
Maybe the pilot has not gone out of the husband. Hmmm. . . On to the next version.

3) Version using an on-line translation service (babelfish): Maybe, pilot did not leave the husband, then he will take credit without the troubles. (Huh?) This is wackier yet. Just wondering, could there be an idiom in the phrase?

4) Version 4, based on the on-line translation program but adding a twist of personal color, : Maybe your husband has not gotten piloting out of his system, regardless, he can get credit without any trouble. (or…maybe your husband is still a pilot at heart….). Well, moving right along. . .to native speakers of Russian.

5) Version: Checking with dear Lyda, with 5 years experience translating:
Maybe the husband is not good enough to be a pilot,
BUT he is good enough to take a loan without efforts.

Diplomat that she is, Lyda suggested going with this version:
The husband needs efforts to become a pilot,
But he doesn't need efforts to take a loan.

6) Well, let's confirm with dear Nadya, who has been translating 15 years. She hooted aloud, by the way, when she heard the version from #3, above, from babelfish. Maybe the husband wasn’t able to become a pilot, (Literally, maybe a pilot didn’t come of your husband), But he can get a loan without any problems.

8) Based on all that, I'd like to go with this:
Maybe it didn’t work out for your husband to become a pilot,
But he can get a loan without any problems.

Okay, we've got the main idea here. Need a loan? Zip on over to SKB Bank.

Oh the joys of translating. Okay Sveta in Moscow and Ludmila wherever you may be, have at it! I'm betting that you two have lots of experience with translating, not to mention first-hand experience with personal loans.


Rose said...

Okay, what is this poster about?

Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Hi, Eileen!

There is not too much sense in this advertisement, honestly it's nonsense but really people remember poem-nonsense very well. And that was the point - bank just wanted people remembered that they could easily have a loan in this bank.

The translation is: Even if your husband could not become a pilot[*] he can take a loan without any problem!

[*]Пилот - the word came from Italian pilota, and we have Russian word лётчик = a person who manage a plane.

As for poems without any sense. Edward Lear was very good in it. He wrote his "A Book of Nonsense" in 1861.

There was an Old Man on a hill,
Who seldom, if ever, stood still;
He ran up and down, in his
Grandmother's gown,
Which adorned that Old Man on a hill.

Best wishes,

Ludmila said...

It's about how easy is to get a loan from this bank (on billboard - SKB-Bank); it's much easier to get a loan than to become a pilot.

Ridiculous, isn't it?
Everyone knows that to become a pilot your desire is not enough, you have to have some other personal characteristics.
When you want to get a loan, you just need your ID card or passport and evidence that you are creditworthy.

I think a lot of advertisers do not know how to make the advertisement be interesting and smart.


Pictures of Moscow said...

Yes, mad advertising :-)

Eileen said...

Hey Rose, it's all about borrowing money. (You posted before I added the translation(s) - or attempts at...that's okay..) Glad you found your camera!!! Say, I think I might be coming through K'ville sometime in April! ;)

Sveta, thanks much for your post and insight on language. See, I was going to say Pilot was from English. And here you are, a linguist knowing that it's Italian. Thank you! / Okay, thanks for the insight about nonsense poems - just silly stuff - and it really does have a place in advertising, does it not? =)

Ludmila - Thanks for stopping by. Yes, quite challenging to be in the advertising business! (by the way, may I ask where you are and your profession? Such interesting comments - I'm trying to imagine which side of the Big Pond you live on...and if you're into language by profession (you know what I mean!) EE

Pictures of Moscow - I'm going to stop by your site here in half a minute. THANK YOU for stopping by! Eileen