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German speakers, lend me your translation skills

matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off'Points to 'on'Registered User regular
edited August 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I work in a bakery, my boss received a shirt with "Das baker diese edlen knaben sich von den fingern schaben un sich kaiser und konige dran laben" on it. Putting it into various translators gets something semi-recognizable, but still confusing. I'm sure there are missing accents in there, too. Would anyone be so kind as to translate it into non-garbled English for me? Or tell me if it's garbled German to start with?

matt has a problem on


  • XrddXrdd Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Doesn't make terribly much sense to me. After a quick google, it seems like a garbled version of "Bäcker, das sind Edelknaben, was die sich von den Fingern schaben, da können sich Kaiser und Könige dran laben". Some old proverb and not easy to translate decently, but it roughly means (excuse the shitty English) "bakers are noble boys, emperors and kings can feast on the results of their hard work" (technically, "was die sich von den Fingern schaben" means "what they scrape from their fingers" but I don't think any expression like that exists in English).

    EDIT: Looking at it again, I assume "un" should be "tun", not "und" as I initially assumed. In that case, while I'm still not quite sure how to twist it into a grammatically correct sentence, the original probably isn't any more garbled than the average proverb.

    Xrdd on
  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    matt, I'm checking with the two Germans I hang out with--I'll report back what they say.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    What Xrdd said, I only took a few Rosetta stones worth of German but that's what it sounds like phonetically. Google translate confirms it too, it seems.

    bowen on
  • LaOsLaOs Registered User regular
    So, matt, I finally heard back from one of my German friends. I copied him your post and Xrdd's whole reply, and this is what he said:
    Hey Nolan, that makes sense.
    "what they scrape from their fingers" actually makes sense if you translate it "work by word" from German into English.

    Visualize the following scene: You are standing in the kitchen and preparing a dough for bread or a cake. After the dough is done, you fingers are covered in flour and small pieces of the dough are still sticking between your fingers. Now you scrape(!) the flour and small pieces of dough from your hand/fingers.

    A few hundred years ago bakers in middle Europe were mighty people with lots of power over the regular folk. If regular people needed bread or a cake (e.g. for celebrating a wedding), they had to get the ingredients first, and then give the ingredients to the baker (who had the equipment: oven,...) to bake bread or cakes. The bakers did not only charge the people for the work, they also KEPT part of the ingredients and fed it to their own family. In other words: They got paid twice!

    The "scraping off" represents the part of the ingredients that they (=bakers) kept for their own families.

    People were so mad at them they came up with this expression.
    "Bakers, that are squires (or very very fine people - IRONY!!!), they can have a decent living from the part they fed to their family. Even kings and emperors envy them for their life style.

    and then, sort of an afterthought:
    "da koennen sich kaiser und koenige dran laben" could mean something like: even kings and emperors would enjoy licking the bakers's fingers (that are covered in flour and dough).

    And that's my contribution (through friends! :) ) to your cause. Haha.

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    Thanks guys, the correct version and improved translation helped a lot, as did the backstory for it. We're opening the bakery for a day of tours in a few months and wanted to make shirts of our own with the saying on it, good to know we won't look like poorly translated goofs now!

  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    I might be too late but I think you might have copied some of those words incorrectly.
    The sentence as is doesn't really make much sense.

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