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Suho1004
Maniac (V) Mad Librarian

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 03-14-2006 14:52

I'm finishing up translation of a Korean novel that contains a significant number of Spanish phrases (the story deals with the first Korean emigrants to Mexico). I've been able to check up on most of the terms, place names, and people names, but one term eludes me. The word is transcribed more or less phonetically in Korean, and the best I can guess it would be something like "Chales" or "Chalez" in the English alphabet. The word supposedly means "sluggard," "idler," or "lazy person." I've asked Spanish speakers from Spain and Venezuela, and both say that there is no such word in Spanish. They suggested "vago" instead (meaning "bum"), which sounds nothing like what is written in the Korean. But they also said that maybe there is a similar word in Mexico that they are not aware of. So if there are any Mexican inmates out there that can help, I would be much obliged.

Of course, I'm not ruling out the chance that the author got his Spanish mixed up, because his track record for Spanish in this book is not too good. I'd like to use the Spanish equivalent of "sluggard" here (it's what the Mexican hacienda overseers call the workers when they work too slowly) rather than something like "bum" or "vagrant". An onine Spanish dictionary turns up "perezoso" for "sluggard," but I have no idea if this is suitable. What Spanish word would be good in this sort of situation?

Thanks in advance for any help. This is just a shot in the dark, really. If I were back in New York, I'd have no problem finding Spanish speakers, but they're something of a rarity here in Korea.


___________________________
Suho: www.liminality.org | Cell 270 | Sig Rotator | the Fellowship of Sup

warjournal
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 03-14-2006 16:03

My Mexican/Spanish is *very* rusty.

The only word I can think of is borracho. This a drunkard, but I have heard it used to mean a lazy person. Depending on context, you might be able to get away with using borracho.

My mother's side of the family is pure Mexican. I grew up hearing that word quite often on the weekends on my grandparent's porch. Nothing like a bunch of drunk Mexicans on a porch in a pure white community. Chihuahua barking up a storm and everything. Me, being the only half-breed in the famly, wasn't treated too kindly once the beer started flowing. Ah, memories.

I'll see if I can catch my mother on the phone later and see what she has to say.

(Edited by warjournal on 03-14-2006 16:10)

Nathus
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Minnesota
Insane since: Aug 2003

posted posted 03-14-2006 16:22

Chale: Chinese Informal/derogatory term used by Hispanics, primarily in Mexico, to refer to Chinese people. As in "Cafe de Chales" = Chinese-run or owned cafe.

Found at http://utah.indymedia.org/print.php?id=4563&comments=yes

I found other references to the word but no definition on sites talking about chicano slang.

hyperbole
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Madison, Indiana, USA
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 03-14-2006 19:50

Suho:
I think Alevice is from Mexico. You might try to contact him.

.



-- not necessarily stoned... just beautiful.

Alevice
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Mexico
Insane since: Dec 2002

posted posted 03-15-2006 05:57

Hi there,

Around here (Veracruz) and Mexico City, "chales" is a pseudo-equivalent to "what the..." in a sort of not-that-big surprise connotation. I have never heard of that other likely meaning. Imight ask someone else.

It's mexican jargon/slang, which also means it may have *very* different meanings across the country. This is something I love from here; in one city, some phrase or word may be a compliment, whereas somewhere else here might mean one of the worst things you could ever say to someone. :P

__________________________________


Sexy Demoness cel

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Mad Librarian

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 03-15-2006 12:51

I wasn't sure if Alevice was still around... thanks for that info. So the word "chales" does exist, huh? This would have been used in Yucatan, and it would have been used about a hundred years ago, so who knows how things might have changed.

Nathus: That's interesting, especially since Mexicans at the time didn't make much of a distinction between Chinese and Koreans. I wonder if that might be part of it.

warjournal: Thanks for the suggestion. But I think, in the end, I have to go with "chales." At first I couldn't find any evidence that the word existed, but now that I have confirmation that it does actually exist (even though we may not know exactly what it means in the area in question), I have a responsibility as a translator to stick with the original.

Thanks to everyone for the info and suggestions. I really appreciate it!


___________________________
Suho: www.liminality.org | Cell 270 | Sig Rotator | the Fellowship of Sup

warjournal
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

posted posted 03-15-2006 19:02

That's cool. Couldn't get in touch with my mother anyways.

Alevice
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Mexico
Insane since: Dec 2002

posted posted 03-15-2006 22:13

I forgot to say that 'chale' is also valid. It's a matter of taste. My horrible habits actually use this one rather than the "plural" version.

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Sexy Demoness cel

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