Monday, May 4, 2009

Describing the English Channel to the World

The English Channel swimming season has started - thousands of open water swimmers around the world are now focused on preparing for and planning an attempt, either for 2009 or beyond.

The English Channel aspirants speak nearly every language in the world.

We asked many local open water swimmers to provide us with a list of how "English Channel" is translated in their languages. This is what we found:

In Dutch: Het Kanaal or Nauw van Calais (aka Dover Strait) as in "Ik heb de Nauw van Calais overgezwommen"

In Flemish Dutch: Het Kanaalas in "Ik heb het Kanaal overgezwommen"

In Bulgarian: Аз преплувах Ла Манша

In Swedish: Engelska kanalen

In Brazilian Portuguese: Canal da Mancha as in "Eu cruzei o Canal da Mancha"

In Hebrew: תעלת אנגליה (Tealat Angelia)

In Spanish: Canal de la Mancha as in "He nadado el Canal de la Mancha"

In Afrikaans: engelse kanaal as in "Ek het die engelse kanaal geswem"

In Portuguese: Canal da Mancha as in "Eu fiz a travessia do Canal da Mancha a nado"

In German: Ärmelkanal that can be explained as "Ich bin von England nach Frankreich geschwommen"

In French: La Manche as in "J’ai fait la Traversée de la Manche à la nage"

In Italian: Traversata della Manica as in "Egli ha attraversato la Manica"

In Icelandic: Ermarsundið as in "Ég synti yfir Ermarsundið"

In Russian: Пролив Ламанш, pronounced as
Proliv Lamansh, as in "Я переплыл пролив Ламанш" (Ya pereplil proliv Lamansh)

In Chinese: 英吉利海峡 as in "我游过了英吉利海峡"

In Japanese: ドーバー海洋 as in "ドーバー海峡を泳いで渡った" where the translation literally means "Dover Strait" and is pronounced "Do-ba- kaikyo o oyoide-watatta"

In Irish: Muir nIochet as in "Rinne mé snámh an Muir nIocht" where the translation literally means the "Straight Sea" and is pronounced "Rin-eh may snauv trass-nah on Mwir nYucht!"

Of course, there is also the following:

Australian English: English Channel as in "I swam the bloody English Channel, mate"

In Irish English: Da Ditch (slang)

Note: The Portuguese translation 'mancha' means 'stain', but the French translation 'Manche' means 'sleeve' or 'Manga' in Portuguese.

Copyright © 2009 by Open Water Swimming


zebaz said...

Although this was a fun and interesting post, pls allow me to make one small remark: as a Flemish Dutch speaking swimmer I find the phrase "Ik heb het nauw van Kales overgezwommen" a bit akward. The English Channel is generally known in Flandres as "Het Kanaal tussen Engeland en Frankrijk" or short "Het Kanaal". Also, nobody uses the name Kales for Calais.
The best translation would thus be: "Ik heb het Kanaal overgezwommen."

Steven Munatones said...

Thank you, Zebaz. We will change as you suggest.