Calling all polyglots! Funny translations needed for answering machine.

Those phone systems that provide alternate-language translations could be saying anything. I mean anything. So I figure I ought to actually put messages on my machine that do.

So I turn to the Dope. Can anybody here provide some translated possibilities for my voice mail incoming message? Some useful phrases would be nice (“I am not at home”, “please leave a message”), plus some subversive phrases (such as “you don’t really understand this, do you?” and “this space for rent” and “this is a test”).

If you want to get creative (and this is the SDMB) then I’d love some stuff that’s bizarre and surreal (“I have been attacked by a mutant duck,” “prepare for retina scan,” “leave a block of cheese at the sound of the decayed bat,” “mayonnaise is bad for you,” or whatever.

The choice of language is up to you, but please provide the translation! I don’t care if it’s German, Italian, Russian, Greek… Elvish… Klingon… Huttese… as long as it’s a spoken language. I know you guys can do it!


J’suis pas d’ici. Veuillez-vous laisser un message après le beep sonore.
(I’m not here. Please leave a message after the beep.)

My mind is drawing a blank on funny lines you could use.

Ich bin nicht zu Hause. Das gibt zwei Minuten Strafbank!

(I am not at home. That means two minutes in the penalty box!)

I will never forget that ‘helpful’ phrase from high school German.

My (fairly non-colloquial) understanding of French gives me a different translation from yours, missbunny. Here’s what I get for “I am not at home”:

“Je ne suis pas ici”. I know the “ne” would get left out of most casual discource but am unfamiliar with “de” being used as you did.

“You don’t really…” would possibly go something like this:

“Tu ne le comprends pas, non?”, although that’s more “you don’t understand it, do you?” A more appropriate translation might be “tu ne comprends pas cette message, non?” which means more “you don’t understand this message, do you?”

“This is a test” could be “Ceci est un examen”, though “examen” means more school-type test (sometimes exam, depending on the speaker) than “I am trying to figure out if this works”.

“J’ai enlevé vos parents. Pour leur sauver, tu dois doner a moi un arbuste!” (I have kidnapped your parents. To save them, you must give me a shrubbery!)

“Bonjour. Je m’apelle le merd de la mère du mair du mer. Poisson n’est pas ici maintenant, eh bien je vais collere vos chaussures au porch.” (Hello. I am [literally I call myself] the shit of the mother of the mayor of the sea. Fish is not here now, so I will glue your shoes to the porch.)

En Espanol, mi tocodisco esta descompuesto.

Meaning, “my record player is broken.” It’s just one of those things I love to say.


Jag är inte hemma - I am not at home
Lämna ett meddelande efter pipet - Leave a message after the beep
Jag har blivit anfallen av en muterad anka - I’ve been attacked by a mutant duck (hey, it was your idea!)
Det är viktigt att du vrider på ugglan när golvet skakar - It’s important to rotate the owl when the floor is shaking
Om du inte förstår detta är du korkad - If you don’t understand this, you’re stupid

That enough?

One thought - how are you going to be able to pronounce any of this stuff?

There are a few text-to-speech programs in foreign languages, and I hope I will be able to combine that with a bit of research to learn how it should sound, Priceguy.

By the way, these are great! The Straight Dope is awesome.

Spoken language? Pfeh. Here’s some Latin for ya!

Eruptus sum alienis tubicinibus. Si vis dare nuntium, intercipietur captoribus meis et ei utentur datis in eo excruciare me. In alteris verbis, ne des nuntium machinae meae.

I have been carried off by wild horn-players. If you wish to give a message, it will be intercepted by my captors and they will use the information in it to torture me. In other words, don’t leave a message for my machine.

Phonetic version (Classical)

a=as in father e=as in lest i=usually as in if o=as in cold u=loom (marked by ooo) or book (marked by oo) all Ss voiceless

E-ROOOP-toos sooom ah-lih-ehn-ees tooo-bih-KIHN-i-boos. See wis DAH-reh NOON-tee-ooom, IHN-tare-kip-ee-EH-tooor kap-TOHR-i-boos eht EH-ee ooo-TEN-tooor DAH-tees ihn EH-o eks-krew-key-AH-reh me. Ihn AL-tare-ees WEHR-bees, neh dess NOON-tee-ooom MAH-kin-eye MAY-eye.

:reads own post: Good heavens, that is tortured phonetics.

If you really don’t want anyone to understand, try Hebrew!

In all the following, kh is the gutteral sound as in the German “ach!” or Scottish “loch”; all “a”-s are broad “ah” sounds; all “e”-s are short “eh” sounds. Also, Hebrew is far more gender-specific than English. I sort of worked around this by addressing the caller in the plural (sort of like using “they” instead of “he/she”).

Straight message (“I’m not home, please leave a message after the beep”): Ani lo ba’bayit karegah. Na le’hash’ir hoda’ah le’akhar ha’tziftzuf.

Getting inventive:

“You have no idea what language this is, do you?” - Nakhon she’ein lakhem moosag eizo saffa zo?"

“I’m at home, and I’m monitoring this call; I just don’t feel like talking to you” - Ani ba’bayit ve’ani makshiv la’sikha; stam lo ba li ledaber itkhem".

“Now you now how I feel when you talk rubbish at me!” - Akhshav atem mevinim eikh ani margish k’she’atem m’kaskeshim li ba’ozen!

Even more risque: (language)

“Go f*** yourself!” - lekhu dizdaynu!

“Come on, I don’t have all day; leave your f***ing message already!” - Yalla, yalla, ein li zman bishvilkhem! Tash’eeru kvar et hahoda’ah hamezuyenet shelakhem!

If you have any other (specific) phrases you’d like to see translated into Hebrew, just ask!


“Je ne suis pas d’ici” is “I’m not from here.”

And since you asked, J’ai été attaqué par un canard mutant. Au son de la chauve-souris pourrie, veuillez laisser votre fromage.

Here’s a text-to-speech program with several languages on the web :

It does a creditable job with French and Spanish.

Sorry, it was a typo.

One of my favorites in Spanish:

Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona queda.

…which translates to “even if the monkey gets dressed up in silk, she’s still a monkey.” You may have heard the saying in english as “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

Here’s a rough phonetic version:

“Ahh-OON-kay lah mona say veesta day sayda, mona kayda.”

If you’ll be including insults, make sure that immediately after it, you say in the same language, “If you understood what I just said, it was not meant for you anyway.”

Arabic (Phoenetic): HOOM DYOOFUQ INDUBUT (say it out loud for full effect)
“They are your disciplined guests.”

I just read that out loud to myself and it sounds strangely like “Whom do you f in the butt?” :eek:

Or is my pronunciation really off?

You said it right.


So, here we go…

Bonvolu lasi mesagxon, mi petas.
Please leave a message.

Min atakis mutaciinta anaso!
I have been attacked by a mutant duck!

Pretigxu por retina skano.
Prepare for retina scan.

Lasu blokon de fromagxo je la sono de la putrigxinta vesperto.
Leave a block of cheese at the sound of the decayed bat.

Majonezo malhelpas onin.
Mayonnaise is bad for you.

Mia teraplano estas plenita per angiloj
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Cxu vi volas tranokti kun mi? Mi ne plu estas infektita.
Would you like to spend the night with me? I am no longer infected.

And my sig means, “Look, and you will begin to see.” :slight_smile:

These are wonderful. Thanks, everyone.

Now if only there were a way to make Australian sound like a foreign language… :smiley: