And Now For Something Completely Different

This bit of news that happened today seems like it should be something from a Monty Python sketch. I follow Utrecht_City on Twitter and they had a few tweets about sirens and fire and police somewhere near the Neude. I had heard a lot of sirens shortly before that, so I was curious as to what was going on. They soon followed up with the following tweet:

brandweer rukt groot uit nabij hardebollenstraat, utrecht. (Het werd er iets te heet!!;-)

This is where things get funny. If you put that into Google translation you get the following translation, which breaks down some of the words a bit too much:

Fire ripped off big hard balls around the streets, Utrecht. (It was a little too hot !!;-)

Hardebollenstraat is a street name, which does translate to Hard Balls Street, but obviously, something got a little lost in translation. I think a slightly better translation is something along the lines of “fire tears through nearby Hardebollenstraat.” (Anyone who has a better grasp of Dutch should feel free to leave a better translation in the comments.)

It all gets a bit funnier — and the parenthetical aside about it being a little too hot makes a bit more sense — when you realize Hardebollenstraat is the small red-light district street here in the city center. A hilariously appropriate street name, it seems! (And now all of you who find my blog while searching for the red light district in Utrecht know where to go.)

15 thoughts on “And Now For Something Completely Different

  1. In Dutch “brandweer rukt groot uit” is more along the lines of the firefighters showed up with water trucks and other large trucks.

    The usual saying is “Brandweer rukt uit met groot materieel.”

    It is one of those weird Dutch things. πŸ˜‰

    • Definitely one of those weird Dutch things that will take me forever to learn. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the lesson, Cindy! For the record, it looks like there were more firetrucks than actual fire. No sign of any damage later in the day.

  2. Babylon didn’t do much better at the translation: I wonder if the Dutch see as many non sequiturs in their language as we do? Delightful, though, thanks for posting this!

    • It can be entertaining to see what the translation programs come up with, although it can be dangerous, as well. Google doesn’t seem to recognize “niet”, which can completely change the meaning of a sentence. I think it also used to translate Utrecht as some other city in an Asian country.

  3. I think it would be AWESOME to live on Hard Ball Street. Just imagine the response when someone asks your address, LOL. I can’t wait to see the print, squee!

  4. A street very close toto the Hardebollenstraat is called the “Wijde Begijnestraat” which literally translated means somthing like “wide-open nun street” (the Begijnen were a branch of nuns, but don’t ask me what kind). How about that for naughty jokes πŸ˜‰

    • I pass by Wijde Begijnestraat regularly! It’s lovely in the spring when the tree on the corner is blooming. I didn’t realize that the Begijnen was an order of nuns, though. I just realized I’ve never tried to properly translate that one, and in my head, I always think of it as Wide Beginning Street. I know it’s not Beginning, but I must have misread it that way when we first moved and were a bit overwhelmed with all the names, and it stuck. πŸ˜‰

      Of course, now that you’ve explained it, I’m going to be thinking of wide-open nuns instead. Much more entertaining! There were a lot of nuns in the general area, weren’t there. Were they perhaps a competing order with the Wittevrouwen, or is it just another name for them?

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