Üdv! Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you had no idea what was being said? Well, the brave people taking part in the What the Hungarian?! feature can experience exactly that. 5 quotes, 5 guesses, and 5 answers. How well would you do?
If you’d like to try this feature out, please contact us for further details!
Noor Al-Shanti, a self-published Fantasy author, is here to try his luck with What the Hungarian?! as part of our 5th Anniversary Bonanza. Let’s see how she fared with my beautiful, but also pain in the arse language!
- You get the first passages in Hungarian (translated by me, but they should do) from 5 books you’ve read, and a couple of hints.
- You have to guess which book they are from. And for extra fun, share your thought process with us!
- You can also ask 3 question regarding any of the passages (1 question/passage) which I’ll answer with yes, no or I don’t know – as I didn’t read each of the books.
- You can’t use a dictionary or a translator.
- And you just have to have fun!
Simple, isn’t it?
Noor Al-Shanti loves to read and write epic fantasy but hates writing bios. She also loves languages and has enjoyed participating in this feature!
Connect with Noor Al-Shanti
Nem vitatkozol egy olyan névvel mint “Szerencsés” ha szerencsés vagy, hogy egyáltalán élsz. Mindent egybevéve, nem kellett volna életben lennie amikor az apja megtalálta őt a hajóroncs között lebegve, egy aprócska lény, nem több néhány naposnál. Szerencsés, hogy túlélte a szörnyű vihart ami a darabokra szaggata a családját, hogy egy kétségbeesett utazó aki _-ban kereste a gazdagságot a korlát fölött az utolsó pillanatban meglátta őt. Szerencsés, hogy mikor mindenki más elfordult, egy fiatalember a tengerbe ugrott, megmentette az életét és sajátjaként nevelte.
Hints: standalone, indie published, female author, mercenaries
Noor Al-Shanti: Ok, so first of all, I really believed in myself way too much and imagined I would be better at this, but I can already see that I am going to struggle – it doesn’t seem that Hungarian has a lot of similarities with the languages I know… at least not at first glance!
Based on your hints the first book I thought of was K. S. Villoso’s Blackwood Marauders because it’s the most recent book with mercenaries in it that I’ve read and it’s indie and has a female author. I hope this isn’t cheating, but to confirm I opened the book and tried to compare the first paragraph to this translation to see if I could figure out any words. Blackwood Marauders does have a word in parentheses in the very first sentence “Lucky” so I guess that would be “Szerencsés” in Hungarian? I also see that this word is repeated again right away in the same sentence, which also matches up – the first sentence of Blackwood Marauders is “You don’t argue with the name “Lucky” if you were lucky to be alive.” If my guess is correct I would also guess that vagy means alive (it kinda sorta resembles vie, which is French for life…? Maybe that’s a stretch.
Also, looking for short words to save me I noticed az, which means little in Turkish so if there are any similarities to Turkish – again, I don’t know, maybe that’s a stretch! – this also makes it likely to be Blackwood Marauders, because the next few sentences talk about how he was Lucky to be rescued from a shipwreck when he was very little…
If this guess is correct I’m also going to guess that “ha” means “if” and that fölött means boat or something (like float in English, but much fancier-looking as a word!).
The first word “Nem” is throwing me off, though, because it keeps appearing and in the original English the first word is “you” which doesn’t appear again in the paragraph, but I am going to assume this is because translations are not literal and go with my guess! Also the word “olyan” kind of reminds me of someone yelling “hey you!” in Turkish “Olan!” or “Wala!” in my dialect of Arabic, so I’m going to assume “olyan” means you and that it doesn’t appear at the very start because sentence structures are different in different languages.
Guess: Blackwood Marauders by K. S. Villoso
Timy: Hah, intriguing. I like your thought process. Interestingly, we have a lot of words coming from Turkish (the Ottoman Empire sitting on our lands for more than 100 years tends to have that effect on a nation…), although none you thought were of Turkish origin was correct.
Vagy can mean “you are” or “or” depending on context. In this case, it’s the former. Az can be “the” or “that” if you point at something, again, depending on context. It’s our most common definite article. You are right about ha meaning if, but wrong about fölött. It means above. For olyan, I think the closest translation would be like.
The correct answer: Blackwood Marauders by K. S. Villoso
The Original Quote
You don’t argue with a name like “Lucky” if you were lucky to be alive. All things considered, he shouldn’t have been when his father found him floating in that shipwreck, a tiny thing no older than a few days at most. Lucky to have survived the worst of the storm that tore the rest of his family into pieces, that a forlorn traveller seeking his fortune in Baidh had looked over the railing at the last moment to spot him. Lucky that after others turned away, a young man chose to jump into the sea, saved his life, and raised him as his own.
_ király a Kapuhoz közelített, csizmája visszhangot vert a felcsiszolt márvány padlón. Három évszázadon át a Kapu szilárdan állt bármit, amivel próbálkozott. Most viszont…
Diadalittasan tárta szét ezüst és karmazsin tollú szárnyait. Mögötte az udvar figyelme élesedett, de egyikük szárnya, farka, szarva vagy füle nem rezzent. Tudták, hogy nem zavarhatják meg, vagy kockáztathatják a haragját ha a Kapu ismét megálljt parancsolna. _ király elmosolyodott. Egy jólnevelt udvar maga volt az élvezet, de nem volt szükség aggodalomra. Ha nem lett volna biztos a végeredményben, az előző éjszaka elvégzett néhány tesztet, nyilvánvalóan nem próbálkozott volna nyilvánosan.
Hints: first book in a series, self-published, female author, fae
Noor Al-Shanti: Ooooh, ok. The Lord of Stariel is a self-pub book with fae in it that I read recently-ish that begins with “King Aeros” and you’ve taken out the first word, which means it’s a name, but the second word király kind of resembles the Turkish word for king: Kral.
It also says “Now, though…” at the end of the first part of the paragraph and the Hungarian translation says “Most viszont…” so I’m going to let those three little dots do a lot of work for me and take it as confirmation. Which would mean that “Most” means “Now” and “viszont” means “though” (or the other way around, I guess!)
Comparing the two paragraphs I see karmazsin which could be Hungarian for crimson?
The only other fae book I’ve read semi-recently (InvisiG!rl) doesn’t have that same ellipsis ending on the first paragraph or as many capitalized words in it. Speaking of which, just based on capitalization, does Kapu mean Gate? (capi means door in Turkish, OMG!) – aside: no idea why Gate is capitalized in this book in the first place, except for importantish fantasy reasons, I guess!
Guess: The Lord of Stariel by A. J. Lancaster
Timy: See, told you we have Turkish-origin words! Király indeed means king. You are also right about now though. Although “though” is hard to translate directly. We don’t really have one word for it, it would largely depend on context. Yep karmazsin is Hungarian for crimson, although I guess that was a pretty easy score 🙂 And yep, kapu is gate 🙂
The correct answer: The Lord of Stariel by A. J. Lancaster
The Original Quote
King Aeros approached the Gate, boots echoing on the polished marble floor. For three centuries, the Gate had stood firm against everything he could throw at it. Now, though…
He fanned out his wings in a glory of silver and crimson feathers. Behind him, his court’s interest sharpened, but not a wing, tail, horn, or ear among its various members twitched. They knew not to distract him – or risk drawing his ire if the Gate resisted him again. King Aeros smiled. A well-trained court was truly a thing of joy, but they need to have worried. Obviously, he would not try this publicly without being certain of the result; he’d run his own private tests last night.
Egy jó tolvajnak számos tulajdonsággal kell rendelkeznie. Ügyes ujjakra a zsebtolvajláshoz és a zárak nyitásához. Könnyű léptekre a zajtalan közlekedéshez. Jó szemekre a környezet állandó megfigyelésére. Ravasz észjárásra, hogy tudd hol veszed hasznát a mesterségednek. De a legfontosabb a szerencse. _ biztos volt benne, hogy bár bőségesen tulajdonában volt a felsorolt képességeknek, csupán a balszerencsének köszönheti bebörtönzését az Ujjban.
Mindent jól csinált. Napoking figyelte álruhában az ékszerész műhelyét, várva egy holdfény nélküli éjszakára. Ujjai egy pillanat alatt kinyitották a bejárati ajtó zárját, nem keltve feltűnést.
Hints: standalone, self-published, male author, desert crimes
Noor Al-Shanti: Hmm… desert crimes made me think of Child of the Daystar, which is by a male author and self-pub, but it’s not standalone. Also, that starts with an italicized quote right before the actual chapter text and I’m not seeing any italics here…
The Prince of Cats by Daniel Olesen could also fit the desert crimes hint – and it’s actually standalone. Really taking me a while to find any familiar-seeming words here, but just by comparing where the blank space for a name is in the middle of the paragraph – that’s the same spot where the name of the character Jawad first appears in Prince of Cats…
Oooh, also, the word luck does appear in the first paragraph of Prince of Cats, so if my first guess is right and “Szerencsés” mean “Lucky”… yay! I see “szerencse” at the end of the 6th sentence! Confirmation!
So because trying to guess words helped me before I’m going to try guess that Ujjban means finger, since the last sentence in the first paragraph of Prince of Cats ends with the word Finger – capitalized, to indicate it’s the name of some building, and the last word in the first paragraph of the translation is Ujjban, again capitalized. Also, it says “Dextrous fingers” in the second sentence of the book in English, and in this Hungarian translation it says “Ügyes ujjakra” – ujjakra resembles Ujjban enough that I want to convince myself it’s the plural!
I’m going with this guess!
Guess: The Prince of Cats by D. E. Olesen
Timy: You know, I’m starting to think I need to also ban comparing quotes with books 😛 But you are mostly right on all accounts. Finger means ujj, and ujjak is the plural form.
The correct answer: The Prince of Cats by D. E. Olesen
The Original Quote
It took several skills to be a good thief. Dextrous fingers to pick pockets and locks. Light footfall to sneak about. Good eyes to keep sharp observations of the surroundings. Cunning wit to know where to ply your trade. But the most important thing was luck. Jawad was convinced that while he possessed the former skills in abundance, it was purely a case of ill luck that saw him currently incarcerated in the Finger.
He had done everything right. In disguise, he watched the jeweller’s workshop for days, waiting until a moonless night. In the blink of an eye, his fingers picked the lock on the front door without arousing attention.
_ szigete, egy hegy, melynek csúcsa egy mérföldre emelkedik a viharok tépázta Északkeleti-tenger fölé, híres a varázslóiról. A magas völgyek városaiból, a sötét és szűk kikötőkből számos lakó szegődött a Szigetcsoport Lordjának szolgálatába varázslóként vagy mágusként, vagy kalandot keresve járták a Földtenger szigeteit varázslatból megélve.
Egyesek szerint a legkiválóbb közülük, de bizonyosan a legkiválóbb utazó Karvaly nevű férfi volt, aki a maga idejében Sárkánylord és főmágus volt. Életéről a _ tettei és számos dal szól, de ez a történet abból az időből való mielőtt híres lett, és a dalok megszülettek.
Hints: first book of a series, trad published, female author, magical adventure
Noor Al-Shanti: Wow, magical adventure covers a lot of books, especially the type I read, I guess, and nothing jumping out at me here.
Looking through for any familiar looking words I see közülük which kind of reminds me of the way they say glasses in the Syrian dialect of Arabic… which I’m pretty sure doesn’t come from an actual classical arabic word. If we’re to assume it got to them from Turkish and based on my earlier guesses that Turkish and Hungarian share words, maybe they are talking about glasses?
Harry Potter wears glasses, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t appear in the first part of the first book… I don’t actually own a copy of the first one, but the Amazon preview doesn’t include any mention of glasses in the first bit either.
I’ve also checked out the first couple of paragraphs of Curse of the Mistwraith and Anne of Green Gables and Kingfisher and I can’t see anything in those paragraphs that seems to match up with this one.
Back to the goodreads bookshelf… hmmm…
Akata Witch starts with a name in the first line, just like this one, but other than that… not seeing anything to do with glasses or any other similarities…
I’m not sure if A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive baking is one of the author’s self-pub or trad-pub books, but when I check it I see no names in the first couple of paragraphs here…
Wizard of Earthsea starts with a name in the first sentence, which the translation does, so I guess it’s looking closer than the others. And there are a lot of capitalized words in both as well as a name in the second paragraph. I also see Lordjának and the English has the word Lords… I’m very unsure of this guess, but I’m just going to go with it.
Guess: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Timy: Közülük is hard to translate back to English, as once again this is a word used depending on context. In this case, I used to translate “of these”. We have a totally different word for glasses: szemüveg (in which szem means eye and üveg means glass). Yeah, well, I guess I could have translated Lord into Úr, but honestly we do use Lord, so I kept it. Also, I now just noticed that my translation is a bit off *facepalm* I used singular instead of plural… Should have been “Szigetcsoport Lordjainak”. Oh well.
The correct answer: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Original Quote
The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards. From the towns in its high valleys and the ports on its dark narrow bays many a Gontishman has gone forth to serve the Lords of the Archipelago in their cities as wizards or mage, or, looking for adventure, to wander working magic from isle to isle of all Earthsea.
Of these some say the greatest, and surely the greatest voyager, was the man called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both Dragonlord and Archmage. His life is told of in the Deed of Ged and in many songs, but this is a tale of the time before his fame, before the songs were made.
Egy fehér madár lebegett tiszta nyugati égen, csak elszórtan verve szárnyaival.
Talán egy raptor lehetett, hátrahagyva fészkét a néhány mérföldre lévő _ hegység égbe nyúló csúcsain,préda után kutatva. Nem ez volt a legjobb nap a vadászatra – a raptor szokásos birodalmát, a _ sikság e napszítta vidékét ellepték az emberek.
Többezer bámészkodó sorakozott a _ból kivezető út két oldalán, de észre sem vették a madarat. Ők a császári felvonulás miatt jöttek.
Hints: first book of a series, trad published, male author, myths and political intrigue abound
Noor Al-Shanti: Ok, this one took me quite a while and I ended up taking a few days off. I ended up just trawling through my goodreads shelves and making a (long) shortlist of all the books that fit the trad published male author hints to check each of them out individually. This was actually great, because I noticed a lot of books on my TBR that I had forgotten about! 🙂
To summarize I quickly eliminated the following: Eye of the World, Amari and the Night Brothers, The Rage of Dragons, The Fionavar Tapestry book 1, The Way of Kings, Name of the Wind, Jurassic Park, Red Sister, and The Bone Ships, mostly because the structure of the first paragraph did not seem to match up with the translation.
This left me with Redwall, Dragons vs. Drones, Sailing to Sarantium, and the Fellowship of the Ring. I eliminated Dragons vs. Drones and Redwall because they’re both less likely to fit the political intrigue hint than the other two and seemed less similar on my first look.
Sailing to Sarantium: Something about the feel and look of the words makes me think it might be this one, but on closer inspection this book starts off with a lot of capitalized titles and names and stuff, and the translation doesn’t have that.
The Fellowship of the Ring: I might just be getting tired, but I keep feeling that this is it when I look at these opening paragraphs. I skipped the concerning hobbits prelude thingy and started with the section about Bilbo’s birthday party. The word “szárnyaival” reminds me of carnival and also it resembles the word I originally assumed meant “Lucky” and that kind of fits with the theme of celebrating a birthday. I also see the word “raptor” a couple of times in the translation and I’m wondering if it could be similar to “rapture” in English, which fits with the theme of joy, etc. And could “legjobb” be similar to “legend”?
Whether these guesses are correct or not, at least I’m finding something that seems to fit in this book, which wasn’t the case for the others, so even though I’m the least confident about this guess I’m going to go with it.
Guess: The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Timy: Szárnyaival means with its wings, so… nothing to do with luck. I thought about what to do with raptor because it could be a big giveaway – apparently it wasn’t. I don’t think we have a word for it, so actually I just kept the original. Also, nothing to do with rapture. As for legjobb it means the best.
The correct answer: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Original Quote
A white bird hung still in the clear western sky and flapped its wings sporadically.
Perhaps it was a raptor that had left its nest on one of the soaring peaks of the Er-Mé Mountains a few miles away in search of prey. But this was not a good day for hunting – a raptor’s usual domain, this sun-parched section of the Porin Plains, had been taken over by people.
Thousands of spectators lined both sides of the wide road out of Zudi; they paid the bird no attention. They were here for the Imperial Procession.
Not bad, all things considered. Well done, Noor!
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