My name is Michal Jedinak and I’m translating The Left Hand of God to Slovak language. So far I was able to cope with all the problems, but in Chapter 13 pg 147 there is one paragraph with a lot of slang words I wasn’t able to figure out, nor find their meaning anywhere. Although I have a vague idea about what’s going on, I thing it’s best to ask for your help.
The paragraph is as follows:
There were bawlers with their loozles, mawleys with their ya-yas hanging out for all to see; there were benjamins in jemimas calling out ‘Yellow, come and get get.’ There were burtons and their naked pikers, middle-men calling for agony, Aunts with their bung nippers covered in rouge and shouting for a half and half. There were Hugue-nots selling bum-baileys to the highest bidder and nutty lads
with long tongues looking for a pigeon in a packet of two.
Can you describe the following terms, please?
Bawler, loozle, mawley, ya-ya, benjamin, jemima, burton, piker, middleman, Aunt, bung nipper, Huguenot, bum-bailey, nutty lad with long tongue, pigeon. Some of the words are familiar, but if I’m
guessing right, the meaning here is a bit different.
The basic idea behind the mostly invented or adapted words is precisely that they have no clear meaning in English. In an age when the Internet allows people to have easy access to every kind of human weirdness I wanted to imply the existence of the utterly strange and revolting sexual and other practices available in Kittytown. The point is that no one should know what they mean but suspect only something disgusting. Hence you can use the Slovak equivalent for ‘pigeon’ easily. I took some terms from medieval or renaissance words but without regard to their original meaning (eg bum-bailey, loozle, mawley) and you might find some useful terms in Slovak from the same period.
Bawler (someone who bawls or shouts) , loozle, mawley, (see above) ya-ya, (from the Rolling Stones album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out. Can’t this just be translated directly as Ya Yas ?) benjamin, jemima, burton, (Just middle-class names which in this context suggest some disgusting sexual relationship) piker, (a very low class person, a chav) middleman, (the same in Slovak will do) Aunt,(the same in Slovak will do) bung nipper, (entirely invented but a bung is something forced into a tight hole and a nipper is a cheeky young boy – meaningless in dictionary terms) a Huguenot (as in a French Protestant, just a family joke, often repeated throughout the remaining books so it should be translated exactly) bum-bailey, (see above)nutty (mad) lad (boy)with long tongues, (meaningless -translate literally) pigeon (again translate literally).