Блузка, кофта

by Don  

The most common words for blouse in Russian are кофта and блузка. The former is a perfectly second-declension noun, and the latter is affected by a spelling rule and has a fill vowel in the genitive plural:


Some sample sentences:

Таня сегодня одета в голубую блузку. Tanya is dressed in a light-blue blouse today.
Оля надела шёлковую блузку. Olya put on a silk blouse.
Зина сегодня в зелёной кофте. Zina is wearing a green blouse today.
— Дочка, я не разрешу тебе выходить на улицу в блузке с таким декольте.
— Но папа, она такая модная!
— Нет, так не пойдёт. Неужели ты хочешь, чтобы все соседи думали, что ты легкомысленная?
“Daughter, I will not let you go outside wearing a blouse with that décolletage.”
“But Papa, it's so fashionable!”
“No, that won't do at all. Do you really want all the neighbors to think that you are easy?”

Russian Wikipedia makes the following statement:

Кофта — предмет шерстяной вязаной одежды для верхней части тела с застёжкой снизу доверху спереди. Наличие застёжки — отличительный признак кофты. A кофта is an item of clothing for the upper part of the body which is woven from wool and fastens on the front side from the bottom to the top. The fastener is the distinguishing characteristic of a кофта.

I suppose theoretically that might be the case, but nowadays кофта is used fairly generically for a woman's top in casual conversation and is essentially the same thing as блузка. (Do a quick search for the word on images.google.com if you don't believe me.)

Last week when I googled кофта, I came across a slightly vulgar Russian poem about a blouse that had me rolling on the floor laughing my academic credentials off. It suddenly struck me that it would be a great opportunity for a little translation practice… or better yet, a translation contest! I quickly threw together an English version just to be sure it could be done effectively: yes, it can. So here we go:

Translation contest and rules

  • Translate the poem into English.
  • E-mail it to me using the contact link at the bottom of this page.
  • All entries received by 11:59 p.m. on May 28th, 2010 will be considered.
  • I will send $10 by regular mail to the person who sent me the version I judge to be the best translation.
  • People from all countries are welcome to apply as long as you have a postal address to which I can send the $10 if you win.
  • All entries will be posted to the web the first week of June so readers can compare translation tactics.

1 comment

Comment from: Shady_arc [Visitor]

Нет, никак. –> I’m sure “никак” isn’t used like this ("no way!"). It is quite hard to think of a context for such response ("Нет, никак"). Probably, some question about the possible method of accompishing something… Like
“Can we somehow move that truck a bit” “Um, no, there’s no way".

(- Мы можем как-то подвинуть этот грузовик?
- Нет, никак.)

You can use “Ни за что” or “Ни в коем случае". Or “Нет уж"/ “Ну уж нет".

Неужели ты хочешь, чтобы все соседи думали, что ты легкомысленная? –> “легкомысленная” is OK, but looks more like a translation from some other language ("Do you want for everyone to think you are a frivolous person?") than a real dialogue. Probably too bookish an expression for a heated argument between a father and a daughter. Still, I cannot suggest a way to call her a whore without actually saying it.

Don responds: Согласен. Текст поправлен.

05/24/10 @ 02:44

Form is loading...