Monday, May 30, 2011

teetotaler - abstemio - 禁酒主義者

Si tú hablas español, ¿entiendes bien la palabra "abstemio"?

My wife and I recently had a debate about how to say "teetotaler" in Spanish for some subtitles we're translating. Which language best expresses the idea?
English: teetotaler (literally, "total" emphasized)
Spanish: abstemio (literally, "one who abstains")
French: abstinent (literally, "one who abstains")
Japanese: (絶対)禁酒主義者 (literally, "one who holds to absolute abstention from alcohol" . . . okay that's not the strictly literal rendering; stop being so picky)

Personally I like the Japanese, especially when the  絶対 is added on for emphasis. Japanese (and Chinese, I suppose, though I don't speak it) is just so descriptive with its use of Chinese characters. But I'm biased.

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