That Awkward Moment When Your Name Is Translated Into Polish…

My friend August sent along this image from some book in Polish.

I didn’t realize my name needed translating:

Then again, I guess that’s closer than most people get…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Steve In MI

    Wait… what’s that bit at the end about a “polecam”? Hemant, is there a side gig you’re not telling us about?  :)

  • Paul Clapham

    There’s a misprint there… it should actually say “Hemanta Mehty”. And that’s not translation taking place, it’s just applying the normal rules of Polish grammar. (Using the genitive case, if you really want to know.)

  • Xeon2000

    Be careful, meth is dangerous stuff Mr.Methy

  • MegaZeusThor

    Insert clever Breaking Bad comment here?

  • Mike R

    To add on to this (correct) reply. In English, we’d say “the blog of Hemant Mehta”, and the preposition “of” indicates a kind of possessive relationship between those two nouns (grammatically it’s called the genetive case, as Paul mentions). Slavic (and other) languages don’t use a preposition to indicate this relationship — instead it is done by changing the word endings, so “bloga Hemanta Methy”. If someone was using Hemant’s name as the subject of a Polish sentence it would still be spelled just as it is in English. If were doing something “with” Hemant, his name would become something like “Hemantem” in that context.

  • GeraardSpergen

    Tschebyschev, Chebychev; Pafnuti, Pafnutij;  Mehtasky, Mehtaskaya…

  • Rich Wilson

    At least it’s a Latin alphabet.  In Russian you’d be something like  Гэмант 

  • Jeff P

    Google translate says:

    If you have allergies, no wit, intelligence and friendly, but firm comments on the religious and irreligious world, avoid Hermant Methy blog. If not, I recommend.

  • Grunwald

    It’s more closely translated as:

    If you’re allergic to jest, intelligence and friendliness, and strong commentary on the religious and irreligious world, avoid Hemant Mehta’s blog.  If not, I recommend you do.

    Noun declension in the absence of articles makes things a bit trickier to translate into a language that uses articles (thus not needing declension).

  • Skizzle

    Wait a minute, now.  Hemant, are you telling me that you’re not Polish?  MY WHOLE WORLD IS CRUMBLING AROUND ME!

  • Hemant Mehta

    What can I say. Teaching don’t pay the bills.

  • Hemant Mehta

    I’m also not white. *Ducks for cover*

  • CoboWowbo

    “polecam” means the author recommends the site. I believe the translation is “I recommend”… :)

  • Deven Kale

    I have to wonder what causes the ‘r’ in ‘Hermant’ to come into peoples minds. It’s not actually there, and even I put it there when I first started  following this blog. One day I read it again and the ‘r’ was gone, and I was totally floored by the fact that it was never there in the first place. Now I’m just amazed to see how common a misconception it is.

  • Paul Clapham

     On the other hand, if you had male children in a certain decade not so long ago (or maybe if you were a male child then) you’ll more likely think of “Hemant” and “Skeletort”.

  • Glasofruix

    Гемант, because the “э” sound after a “г” is a pain to pronounce.

  • Anna

    I would guess it’s because English speakers tend to think of the name Herman, so that “R” creeps in there.

  • Pepe

     Haha, I see what you did there.

  • Michael

    Is this where you admit you’re secretly a god?

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Given that we are all descended from Africans, I prefer to think that we are all persons of colour. Some are just a little more melanin deficient than others, but really we’re all the same.

  • Alex

    Never understood why H translates into Г in Russian. Still don’t. Soft Ukrainian “gh” I can see, but Russian…

  • Rich Wilson

    Yes, their X is a lot closer in sound IMO.

    Still nothing like what a Russian goes through trying to deal with English.  My wife was just helping my son with vocabulary: ‘sew’…

  • Rich Wilson

    Yes, their X is a lot closer in sound IMO.

    Still nothing like what a Russian goes through trying to deal with English.  My wife was just helping my son with vocabulary: ‘sew’…

  • allein

    I turn rather pink in the sun…does that count?

  • Artor

    Take it up with Cyril. He’s the old Rus viking who gave them their alphabet.

  • Rich Wilson

    But it’s not even the alphavet, it’s the way non-Russian words are transliterated into Russian.  I’m not sure, but I can’t think of any examples of Russian words starting with a soft guttural (X), so I think since it’s a sound they’re not used to, it’s easier to lead with a ‘G’. 

  • niemzo

     He wasn’t a viking, he was a greek missionary.

  • Erik Gaghan

    Well, I suppose “Bathsalty” would be slightly worse…

  • Artor

    Right you are. I’d always assumed he’d gotten his Byzantine culture by way of the Varangian Guard, but now I’ve educated myself a bit more. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • Bryan

     my favorite is a commenter who once called him “Hermunt Metta”. Oh, what an awful name that would be.

  • Emil Vikström
  • northierthanthou

    You’ve made it!

  • DeviousSoybeans

    Well, this we knew. Didn’t Christwire out you as a smiling Mexigay? 

  • Polish translator

    Interesting approach!