Crisis? What Crisis?

If NiKola draws from the Soviet posters of the 30-40’s, then the satyrical magazin Krasnaya Burda from the agitation graphics of the early 20’s. If NiKola publishes its calendar for a year, then Burda right for two years. True, perhaps also because in the second year those interested in this topic might not be able to afford themselves to buy a calendar.

Window on the crisis. Calendar for the years 2009-2010.

The calendar takes efforts to manage the situation in an optimistic way, at least as much as our government does, and it gives at least that useful advices to the various social classes touched by the crisis. The epigrammatic chastushki which also follow the best traditions of Soviet agitprop have been also given by us in a Romanized form, so that you can enjoy their optimistic melody.

Ey, broker! Postoy s neboskryoba sigat!
Idi obuchaysya pilit i strogat!
Hey, broker, don’t leap off the skyscraper!
Rather go and learn how to saw and chisel.

Chto, drug, doigralsya na Foreks-rynki?
Idi na ulicu chistit botinki!
What, my friend, you lose on the Forex shares?
Go to the street and clean shoes!

Milicionyer! Prekrati gorevat!
Milicionyeram na krizis plevat!
Policeman! Stop being depressed!
Policemen don’t give a damn about crisis.

Ey menedzher! Khvatit revet i rasstraivatsya
Ayda na birzhu – trudoustraivatsya.
Hey manager! Don’t cry, don’t be down-hearted!
Go on the market and look for a proper job.

Konchilis dyengi, burzhuy? Nye parsya!
Idi na pomoyku, vmestye s nami pasharsya!
Money is over, bourgeois? Don’t sweat it!
Up to the dustbins, rake them with us.

Ey, pop-zvezda! Priglushi motivchik!
Opyat otmenilsya korporativchik!
Hey, popstar! The song is over!
A wild office party has been canceled again.

Predprinimatyel! Predprimi shagi!
V blizhayshiy magazin za solyu begi!
Entrepreneur! Take the necessary steps:
Run for salt to the nearest shop!

Chto, nyeftyermagnat, tyazhelo targovat?
Sadis v limuzin i ayda taksovat!
What, oil magnate, it is hard to sell?
Sit in the limousine and go drive taxi!

Dni nyeprostyje, tavarish, nastali!
Zuby vstavlyay iz rzhaveyushchej stali!
Hard days have come, comrade!
Have your teeth made out of rusting steel!

Ne znayesh, khranit v rublyakh ili v yevro?
Propey luchshe vsyo – sberegi svoi nyevry.
You don’t know whether to keep your savings
in rubles or euros?
Better drink away all – calm your nerves.

Sokratyili, vayennyj? Khadish nye v nogu?
Grabit idi na bolshuyu dorogu!
You’ve been fired, warrior? You can’t keep pace?
Go and become a highway robber!

Lyubish glamur, priglashyon na tusovku?
Svistni jedy, ukradi pollitrovku!
You love glamor, you’re invited to party?
Swipe some food and a half-liter bottle!

12 comentarios:

MOCKBA dijo...

Having just discovered this nice entry, I am surprised that you didn't make a direct reference to the original red avantgarde Окна РОСТА and to their other post-Soviet spoofs.

And ... on to the usual translation minutae. One correction is quite important IMHO:

"The composition of the band has changed again" => "A wild office party has been canceled". A would-be English word Корпоратив must have acquired a unique meaning in the post-Soviet space, still commonly missed by dictionaries: "A business party / celebration / male-bonding exercise, usually with guest entertainers, wanton sexual objectification of women, and of course excessive drinking" (but it gets overall positive connotation - after all it is fun paid for by the boss).

The other one is less important, but anyway: "Go and plunder along the main street" => "become a highway robber"

Studiolum dijo...

As to the missing philological details, you’re absolutely right. The reason is that this was one of the first Russian-themed posts here on the blog (perhaps the second one after the Nikola-Pelevin post), and I still had no idea about how our readers would receive this new topic and how much philological ballast they would be able to bear from this exotic world. This is why I also included a Romanized transcription and limited myself to rather general historical references. Now, with a demanding readership (and with a sharp-eyed native critic!) it could be written much better.

For the minutae thanks as usual – I’ll change them.

languagehat dijo...

I missed this too, so I'm glad it turned up in Recent Comments. More corrections:

"Policemen can spit on crisis" isn't wrong, but it's too literal; плевать на is an extremely common idiom for not giving a damn about, and it should be "Policemen don't give a damn about (or "couldn't care less about") the crisis."

Не парься is not "Don’t loiter!" but "Don't get upset!" or (in one of those rare perfect matches of slang between languages) "Don't sweat it!"

"Pack from the food, hit a bottle of half liter!" is unintelligible; it should be "Swipe some food and a half-liter bottle!"

In the salt one, предприниматель is not "manager" (a lowly position) but "entrepreneur." (I can't help feeling there must be some slang meaning of соль that I'm missing, because I don't understand the humor.)

In the "hard days" one, you've left out a word in "Have your teeth made out of steel!": ржавеющая сталь, "rusting steel," is a play on the normal нержавеющая сталь "stainless steel."

In the soldier one, Ходишь не в ногу? isn't "Don’t stand on your feet?" but "You can't keep pace?": идти в ногу (с) is "keep step/pace (with).

That calendar was a great find!

languagehat dijo...

Oops, missed one: "You don’t know whether to spare in ruble or euro?" should be "You don’t know whether to keep your savings in rubles or euros?"

MOCKBA dijo...

Nice, Language. I missed "ржавеющая сталь" completely - the mind conveniently substituted the regular word instead :)

The meaning of salt, AFAICT, is that a "run on salt" in inextricably linked in Russian folk conscience with a soon-to-be-war and upheaval. If the times ahead were stormy, you were expected to rush to a grocery to stock up on salt. A farmer-almanac sort of an observation perhaps, but it worked. Like, just before the Afghan war, a village granny in remote Valdai countryside told us, then college rookie kids, to be ready for a war. Why now, granny? Cuz the salt flies off the shelves of the local general stores, kids.

languagehat dijo...

Thanks very much for the salt explanation, MOCKBA; that's exactly what I needed to know!

MOCKBA dijo...

Apropos salt, have you read Mark Kurlansky's Salt: a world history? A touch too simplistic at times, but a great read IMHO. Of course it irked me that Russia was almost completely missing from his "world"... Russia of salt riots and salt famines, when farmers would exchange daughters for salt and hearth-ashes would be a substitute... Russia of prisoners' rusty herring diet ... But of course one can't cover everything in a little paperback :) and my sensitivity to Russia's salt history must have been sharpened by my own grandma's tales (her parents, after loosing their livelihood as Arctic sea salmon fishermen in the ill-fated "liberation" of 1860s, tried eking out living as laborers for Vychegda salt works shippers down the river in Archangelsk ... and they had tales to tell)

Studiolum dijo...

Now that’s what I call demanding readers and sharp-eyed critics. Thanks to both of you for the corrections and the philological elaboration. I feel so honored that I won’t make any change in the text, but leave as it is, embraced by your commentaries, as in any good Renaissance text edition.

As to the omen of hard times, in Hungary it was sugar instead of salt. I also remember a couple of occasions from my childhood when, because some threatening political or economic event, people started to buy sugar by the ten kilos, as if by instinct. Perhaps it was a heritage of post-war times when absolutely no sugar was available, and when the proverb “expensive as sugar” was coined.

MOCKBA dijo...

A "good Renaissance text edition" concept? What a disappointment to hear it from a master of, among other things, formatting, digital media, and hypertext crossreferencing!

Some blog entries loose their value after a few days or weeks (or minutes if that's on facebook LOL), but yours typically withstand the test of time (like this Okna Krizisa page, two years on). So yes, the page old, but it hasn't become a mere historic curiosity to be footnoted and shelved away. JMHO

languagehat dijo...

Might be a good idea to at least put a notice in the post that improved translations can be found in the comments below; lots of people don't bother to read comment threads.

Studiolum dijo...

Language: you’re right. Now I took time to include the corrections in the post itself. For the fine play on rusting steel and salt they will have to come down to the comments anyway.

languagehat dijo...

A wise decision!

By the way, I just noticed another peculiarity of the text: why is it "сбереги свои невры" rather than "сбереги свои нервы"? Presumably it's not a typo, because it has to rhyme (more or less) with евро... but maybe it was supposed to be нервы (for an even more approximate rhyme) and it *is* a typo? Or is there a low-class form невры = нервы? (I presume they're not talking about these невры!) I hope MOCKBA will return and enlighten us!