Please translate this quote into your language

ebensorkin's picture

In general, every country has the language it deserves. -Jorge Luis Borges

So far I have german:
Im Allgemeinen hat jedes Land die Sprache, die es verdient.

and Hungarian
Általában minden országnak olyan nyelve van, amilyet megérdemel.

(I am still looking for the original Spanish)


Jongseong's picture

The Korean translation there is okay (although removing the comma would render it more natural) but ambiguous. It just says every country has an appropriate language. I would change the wording to better convey the sense of the country 'deserving' the language: 일반적으로 모든 나라는 그 분수에 어울리는 언어를 갖고 있다.

Quincunx's picture

I think the Dutch translation on that website is also fine.

guifa's picture

I can't find the original Spanish. Logos dictionary seems to be the only source for it in Spanish or really English for that matter. I've tried a variety of different possible original Spanishes and nothing comes up. It also doesn't seem like something Borges would say anyways, though I could certainly see him having included it in a story as a line from a narrator or character.

Just be careful, it's very (extremely) likely he didn't actually say it.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Eben, I was able to find the phrase using Google Books: "En general cada país tiene el idioma que merece." (Link.)

The source, El otro Borges ("The Other Borges"), is a book of interviews spanning the years 1960 through 1986.

When I was living in Buenos Aires, I heard a similar phrase: "Cada país tiene el gobierno que se merece." Which means, "Each country has the government it deserves." (!) I'm not sure which phrase came first, or if it's just an old saying that gets changed from time to time.

apankrat's picture


Как правило каждая страна имеет тот язык, который она заслуживает.

paragraph's picture

Must be an old saying. My boss, in the communist Czechoslovakia (bless his soul), told me in 1973: Every nation has the freedom it deserves. Czech: Každý národ má takovou svobodu, jakou si zaslouží.

This one would be: Obecně řečeno, každá země má takovou řeč, jakou si zaslouží.

Aleme's picture

Hi! Eben ,
How are you ? This is Ethiopian translation . .

kongur's picture

Hi Eben!

"Genellikle her ülke, layık olduğu dile sahiptir." Would be Turkish translation of the statement.


rcc's picture

A Greek version: "Γενικά, κάθε χώρα έχει τη γλώσσα που της ταιριάζει."

dan_reynolds's picture

Eben, I don't think that the German translation that you have is very good. The sentence begins in an odd way. Drop me a line and we can talk about it further

johnnydib's picture

Lebanese transliteration:
biL 2ijméL kil balad 3indoL Ligha li byistéhala

In Arabic script:
بالإجمال كل بلد عندو اللغة لي بيستاهلا

ebensorkin's picture

Thanks everybody! Dan, Will do. Matthew, you make a very good point. I will see if I can find out more about the quote. I do recall Borges lapsing into a very old fashioned way of thinking when it came to nationality eg that he was willing to generalize, albeit in a witty way. Also, I think holding position seriously in this sense was maybe outside of his interests*. But people are sloppy and it could well be that it is not his or that a character of his says it.

I don't have my Library here in Reading, and the Uni is closed for a while now, so finding those references is not going to happen quickly.

For example, "Borges: I think that the meanings are more or less irrelevant. What is important, or the two important facts I should say, are emotion, and then words arising from emotion. I don't think you can write in an emotionless way. If you attempt it, the result is artificial. I don't like that kind of writing. I think that if a poem is really great, you should think of it as having written itself despite the author. It should flow."

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

The German is literally correct, I would rather leave out the "in general":
Jedes Land hat die Sprache, die es verdient.

Dan B.'s picture

The Romanian translation you have linked above is alright:
În general, fiecare ţară are limba pe care o merită.

We have a similar saying in Romania (every nation deserves its leaders).

mili's picture

The Finnish translation is also ok.

paragraph's picture

What, pray, is going on with Georgia here:

No Central European?

Theunis de Jong's picture

What, pray, is going on with Georgia ..


It must be your software.

William Berkson's picture

The Hebrew doesn't look right to me, but you need a native speaker...

Frode Bo Helland's picture

In general, every country has the language it deserves.

Hvert land har språket det fortjener, generelt sett.

ebensorkin's picture

Thanks again!

Mark Simonson's picture

What, pray, is going on with Georgia here...

You most likely have an old version of Georgia installed. I noticed the same thing on my Mac. I checked and there was an up-to-date version (with all the CE characters) in /Library/Fonts/, but there was also an older version (with just the basic Latin set) in ~/Library/Fonts/, which was probably put there when I installed Office 2004. I'm not sure how the system chooses which version to use when there is more than one installed, but it was apparently using the older one. I removed the old version from ~/Library/Fonts/ and the correct Georgia characters immediately appeared on this page in the example texts above.

afonseca1974's picture

Hmm... in Portuguese (like all the other languages I think) you can tranlate it in diferent ways:

"Em geral, cada país tem a língua que merece" more literally

"Normalmente, cada país tem a língua que merece" more loose...spoken


vivicity's picture

I'm not loving the placement and phrasing of "ordinairement" for the French version.

Like with the German - it reads more naturally to just say

Chaque pays a la langue qu'il merite.

Or you could say

En general, chaque pays a la langue qu'il merite.

If you want to keep it closer to the original.

jades's picture

the italian looks ok

guifa's picture

Ricardo, interesting. I'll need to go and look it up to see the context. I'm only familiar with a handfull of his interviews. From what I've known, Borges is the type of person that would have been much more likely to have said that there is a different language created each time we make an utterance, which is why it doesn't "fit" him to me. (hence for Borges the same text can be a different text depending on the conditions of its reading and/or creation)

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

paragraph's picture

Thanks, Mark. Spot on, old font from Office 2004.

miha's picture

I see there is no Slovenian yet. Translation:

Na splošno ima vsaka država tak jezik, kot si ga zasluži.

Gregers™'s picture

Ethvert land, har stort set det sprog, det fortjener.
My Danish version.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Alternative Norwegian version: Et hvert land har stort sett det språket det fortjener.
I think this is better. Thanks Gregers!

Gregers™'s picture

Your welcome. The languages are very similar.

thranduil's picture

Tagalog (Filipino): May nararapat na wika para sa bawat bansa.
(There's a deserving language for each country)

iraklia's picture

in Polish:
Zasadniczo każdy kraj ma taki język, na jaki zasługuje.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

@ Mark, who said: I’m not sure how the system chooses which version to use when there is more than one installed

The system first looks in ~/Library/Fonts/, and just after that in Library/Fonts/. So, if the “same” font is in both folders, it will choose the font from the user’s font folder.

Mark Simonson's picture

Thanks. That's what it appeared to be doing, but I wasn't sure.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Ricardo, interesting. I’ll need to go and look it up to see the context. I’m only familiar with a handfull of his interviews.

Hey, guifa, Eben has provided a link to an interesting-looking interview (above):

For instance, at one point Borges says of Federico García Lorca, "And then, it was a lucky think [sic] for him to be executed. Best thing to happen for a poet." A somewhat poor translation, but that quote is pure evil, and pure Georgie. ;-D

But also check out his comparison of languages:

"I don't think languages are essentially synonymous. In Spanish it is very difficult to make things flow, because words are over-long. But in English, you have light words. For example, if you say slowly, quickly, in English, what you hear is the meaningful part of the word: slow-ly, quick-ly. You hear slow and quick. But in Spanish you say lentamente, rapidamente, and what you hear is the -mente. That is gratis, so to say. A friend of mine translated Shakespeare's sonnets into Spanish. I said that he needed two Spanish sonnets to a single English one, since English words are short and to the point, but Spanish words are over-long. And English also has a physical quality to it. Well, in English, you can say: to explain away. In Kipling's Ballad of East and West, an English officer is pursuing an Afgan horse thief. They're both on horseback. And Kipling writes: 'They have ridden the low moon out of the sky./ Their hooves drum up the dawn.' Now you can't ride the low moon out of the sky in Spanish, and you can't drum up the dawn. It can't be done. Even such simple sentences as he fell down or he picked himself up, you can't do in Spanish. You have to say he got up the best he could or some lame paraphrase. But in English you can do much with verbs and positions. You can write: dream away your life; live up to; something you have to live down. Those things are impossible in Spanish. They cannot be done. Then you have compound words. For example you have wordsmith. It would be in Spanish un herrero de palabras, rather stilted, rather uncouth. But it can be done in German you can make up words all the time, but not in English. You are not allowed the freedom that the Anglo-Saxons had. For example, you have sigefolc, or victorious people. Now in Old English, you don't think of these words as being artificial, but in Spanish it can't be done. But of course, you have what I think is beautiful in Spanish: the sounds are very clear. But in English you have lost your open vowels."

guifa's picture

What grabbed my attention the most in that interview was how he said he enjoyed Faulkner's style and, parenthetically notes that he doesn't like Hemmingway at all. Damn shame I hadn't read that interview in high school when I was reading those three authors in the same year lol.

BTW, the quote in Asturian (bable): En xeneral, cada país tien la llingua que merece. You can make it more dialectal by putting two dots under the ll.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

guifa's picture

Actually, that should be "En xeneral, cada país tien la llingua que merez". I misheard my roommate.

aszszelp's picture

Didn't that rather go something like

"In general, every country has the government it deserves."


dezcom's picture

Is there a typeface for Ge'ez or Ethiopic script available similar to your sample?


Elias's picture

I agree on Gregers' Danish version being better. But leave out the commas. They are superfluous.

Aleme's picture

Hi! Dezcom ,
If you want it in other typeface let me know so that I can post it. This is not in Geez language it is in Amharic language the official language of Ethiopia .
I see we live in same area too.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Didn’t that rather go something like

“In general, every country has the government it deserves.”

Have you read the entire thread? I quoted that very same phrase earlier.

Samuel Stanislas's picture

Here is the Romanian (Europe) translation: In general, fiecare tara are limba pe care o merita. I hope this helps although it's not one of the international languages. If you need anything else, please contact me.
Samuel Stanislas, part of the Traduceri team.

concentrate's picture

In Hindi:

वैसे देखे तो हर एक देश में उसके अनुरूप भाषा है.

And if you aren't able to see the Devnagari script here it is in the Roman alphabet:

Waise dekhe to hur ek desh mein uske anuroop bhaasha hai.

ebensorkin's picture


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