Translation troubles: redacted

The Herald’s weekly dive into the newsroom’s bilingual quandaries

This week is a short one with a little thematic nod to a typical Spanglishism we throw around: redacted. In Spanish redactar means to write: “redact” in English is to obscure information. At the Herald, if a reporter tells me they’ve finished “redacting” something, that means I have an article to edit.

De queruza

Martina brought this one to my attention and, like güiquén or piscuí, the fact that it’s a phonetic adaptation from English gave me particular joy. It’s a warning in lunfardo, allegedly to keep an eye out for police: from “take care” we got dequera which then got a classic Argentine suffix: —uza  or —usa.  You can use it when you’re doing something under the table like “I did such-and-such de queruza” (I’m not a narc but I won’t give you ideas, either).

As for de queruza itself, nowadays you’re more likely to hear ojo or “eye” — watch it!

Entre pitos y flautas

As I said in the first translation trouble column, at the Herald we’re continually thinning the veil between two languages and that applies to the way we talk to each other as well. Entre pitos y flautas came up in an editorial meeting and suddenly we were all looking at each other conspiratorially like “this is a good one.”

If you hear entre pitos y flautas, between whistles and flutes, it basically means “between one thing and another.” I picture it as something flying under the radar unnoticed amid a cacophony of noise and distractions, but it can also refer to a waste of time or money. “I spent more money than I thought entre pitos y flautas” or “Entre pitos y flautas the morning just flew by.” According to the educational magazine Billiken, it may have originated from an overspending Spanish general in the late 1400s.

Alright, I might as well just say it. Since pito in Argentine Spanish usually means something else, “between dicks and flutes,” the Herald editors ended up laughing without coming up with a proper translation.

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