Tricky Words in this week‘s OVI
Translating Slovak double negative expressions into English is tricky. In Slovak they are used like idioms, conventional expressions which nobody bats an eyelid at, but
translated word-for-word into English they are simply clumsy double negatives. One example here is “Hutníci ani tentoraz nesklamali”, which could be expressed as “Steelmakers did not disappoint this time either”, but that leaves English speakers wondering when they did disappoint in the past.
Another typical one is “Nebudú chýbať ani ...”, where the use of words like “lacking” or “missing” is very strange. I suggest translating such phrases into English using positive, more colloquial forms, like “Steelmakers deliver again”, and “... will surely be there too.”
I've been asked to look at the topic of Requests (prosby) again, because of a fundamental difference between Slovak and English usage. You need to be careful, because I suspect that word-for-word translations of typical Slovak forms could or might irritate English speakers, depending on who they are and the situation at hand. Slovak speakers use imperative forms in requests, and this is quite acceptable, e.g “Zapni telku, prosím ťa”, or very common variations on “Buďte taký láskavý” or “Buď tak dobrá”. Direct translations of these expressions might irritate English speakers because they may sound too commanding (rozkazovačne) or condescending (povýšenecky). It's better to use question forms in English requests, like “Can you switch the TV on, please?” and the very useful phrase “Would you mind..?”