The world of the translator is rife with mismatches, bizarre phrases and uncomfortable equivalents. We have already looked at the concept of collocational transference in a previous blog entry (click here). However, the linguistic world is awash with strange constructions that provide the translator with hours of laborious strain, hair-wrenching frustration, but sometimes gleeful linguistic sport.
An interesting phrase is the Polish mieszanka studencka which is the well-known and popular mix of peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds and raisins. A logical equivalent would be student mix, however, this term does not exist in English.
The Polish mieszanka studencka probably stems from the German Studentenfutter or, perhaps even from the authentic English equivalent student food (also brain food) which in the British version of the ‘recipe’ may also contain brazil nuts and walnuts. However, there is a slight problem as student food also has a rather negative connotation implying cheap and/or microwaveable/canned food typically eaten by British university students.
Another possible equivalent is what is sometimes known as a trail mix which hikers, walkers and backpackers take along with them on their trails. An innovative linguistic concoction is the word gorp which is a backronym of the words Good Old Raisins and Peanuts which would probably be a rather favourable translation of mieszanka studencka.
Thus, we could use student food, trail mix or the innovative gorp.