Translation troubles: confident pizza

This dive into the Herald’s translation dilemmas comes with a flash warning


Quick tip for any vegans out there, if you go to a pizza place in Buenos Aires and they don’t have specifically vegan options, ask for a pizza canchera. In everyday parlance, canchero/a/e refers to something or someone cool but comes from the word cancha — pitch. Several phrases come from cancha but the important one here is that if you “have cancha” it means you’ve been around, you know what’s up, you’ve earned a confident swagger. 

Back to the pizza. Created by an Italian immigrant cycling to different stadiums across the city, the canchera is basically a cheeseless pizza topped with tomato sauce and condiments. The canchera is a Herald pizza favorite, as is fainá — another infallible vegan option, whatever your feelings on adding chickpea pancakes to pizza.


Ah, flashear. A good example of an English word, flash, being folded into Spanish by sticking a regular verb ending after it. This one came up for Facundo this week and is quite a versatile word reaching beyond photography: a wide interpretation of flashes and their effects, I guess? 

To flashear can mean to hallucinate, to be wowed, to freak out, or to misinterpret something. You watched a particularly great film that blew your mind? You could say it made you flashear. A friend has convinced themself that everybody hates them over an insignificant faux pas? Tell them “Estás flasheando.” The sudden realization that Shrek came out 20 years ago? Un flash.

Avivar giles

This came up in newsroom conversation and, apparently, we have the iconic tango composer and singer Carlos Gardel to thank for this Argentine turn of phrase. The story goes that Argentine tango musicians would do particularly well when on tour in Europe and Gardel was keen to keep a good thing going, allegedly saying to fellow musician Julio de Caro one night: “No avives giles que después se te ponen en contra.” Literally, “Don’t let simpletons onto this because they’ll turn against you.” 

It’s something like keeping your cards (in this case, moneymaking ideas or strategies) close to your chest, or away from other idiots who aren’t in the know. A rather Malthusian view of things but the phrase caught on like wildfire in Buenos Aires and Argentina more generally. 

I’m not going to say what we were talking about, though…you won’t catch me avivando giles.

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