Skyrim’s Arrow in the Knee Translated

Posted on 06. Jan, 2012 by in Uncategorized

One of the latest memes on the internet sprouted from one of the most popular video game releases of 2011; The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A casual comment spoken by various town guards is, “I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.”  It comes up frequently enough, and is quirky enough, that it caught on as a meme.  In the past two months, endless spin-offs and remixes of the phrase have surfaced.

Earlier this week, a blogger on Tech in Asia posted an article about the use of the phrase by Chinese speakers on the internet, and how that culture has adapted the meme to their own current events.  As a language learning company, our ears perked up at this concept.  Maybe the complaint that the meme is being overused would disappear if it were… in German?  Russian? 

When you’re learning a language, having fun with it is a big step in the right direction.  And so here we present some additional translations from our language team for when you take an arrow in the knee.  We’ve included both the original sentence, and a handy fill in the blank version for whatever it is you used to do.  

 1.       I used to be _______________ like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.

2.       The original: “I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee.”

 

French

The first one is a bit difficult because “J’étais ________” is only correct if the next word describes the actual person. (Ex: I was an adventurer or I was short or I was happy.) However, if you want to say “I used to play” (so, in this case describing a habitual past action), the verb must actually be conjugated in the imperfect. Ex: Je jouais =I used to play. Here is a direct translation: 

1.       J’étais ________comme vous, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou. 

 2.       J’étais  un aventurier, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou.

Here are two examples:

I used to bake my own pies, but then I took an arrow in the knee.

Je faisais mes propres tartes, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou. 

Or, you could express it like this:

Je faisais moi-même des tartes, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou

(In either case, gender or speaker doesn’t matter because it’s the action.)

 

I used to be a language learner like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

J’étais étudiant de langues, puis j’ai pris une flèche au genou

In this case, gender does matter because it’s describing the person.  In the example, it’s masculine. If feminine, it would look like this : J’étais étudiante

And, if you want to really designate that the “used to” was in the past, one might add the word “autre fois” (In the past).

 

Portuguese

1.       Eu era ______ igual a você, mas daí eu levei uma flechada no joelho.

2.       Eu era aventureiro igual a você, mas daí eu levei uma flechada no joelho.

 

Spanish

1.       Yo era ______________ como tú, pero me hirieron con una flecha en la rodilla.

2.       Yo era un aventurero como tú, pero me hirieron con una flecha en la rodilla.

 

Arabic 

       اِعتدتُ أن أكون ……….. مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى رُكبتى 

 

       اِعتدتُ أن أكون مُغامِراً مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى رُكبتى  

 And here are some examples:

        I used to be tolerant like you. Then, I got an arrow in the knee.
         اعتدتُ أن أكون متسامحاً مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى ركبتى 

        I used to be a lover like you until I got an arrow in the heart.
         اعتدتُ أن أكون محباً مثلك حتى أصبتُ بسهم فى قلبى 

       I used to go this restaurant until I got an arrow in the knee.
        اعتدتُ أن أذهب إلى هذا المطعم حتى أصابنى سهم فى ركبتى  

       I used to use yahoo mail until I got an arrow in the hand.
        اعتدتُ أن أستخدم بريد الياهو حتى أصابنى سهم فى يدى 

 

Danish

1. Jeg var engang _________ som du, men så fik jeg en pil i knæet.

2. Jeg var engang en eventyrer som du, men så fik jeg en pil i knæet.

The translations are not literal, but adapted to a wording that sounds more Danish. (Jeg plejede at…, I used to…, is more used with active verbs, like ”I used to swim each Friday”.)

 

Russian

This meme is doing fairly well on the Russian Internet. The full sentence is:

for a male: Я тоже раньше был искателем приключений, как и ты, но потом получил стрелу в колено.

for a female: Я тоже раньше была искательницей приключений, как и ты, но потом получила стрелу в колено

 

The translation of the phrase “I used to be___________ like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee” is “Я тоже был/была _________________ как и ты, но потом получил/получила стрелу в колено“. (I provided both male/female versions for the verbs)

The Russian meme also has such versions as Я тоже хотел/хотела…. (I also wanted), including this hilarious one – http://demotivation.me/vfw2rbpab5c7pic.html (I wanted to be a liberal president, but then I took an arrow in the knee)

 

Swedish

1. Jag brukade vara……….som du, men så fick jag en pil i knäet.  (but got shot in the knee) 

2. Jag brukade vara en äventyrare som du, men så fick jag en pil i knäet.

 

Irish

1.   Bhínn i mo ______________ mar thusa ach ansin bhuail saighead mé sa ghlúin.

 2.   (adventurer: eachtránaí)  Bhínn i m’eachtránaí mar thusa ach ansin bhuail saighead mé sa ghlúin

There’s a contraction now, “i’m” instead of “i mo,” because of the two vowels.  There are actually about half a dozen ways to say this, but I think this pattern is the most straightforward. 

 

German

1. Früher war ich auch ______________________ , aber dann habe ich einen Pfeil ins Knie bekommen.

2. Früher war ich auch ein Abenteurer, aber dann habe ich einen Pfeil ins Knie bekommen.

(Note: This says literally “Before, I was [an adventurer], too, but then I got an arrow into the knee.”)

or

1. Früher war ich ______________________ wie du, aber dann schoss ich einen Pfeil ins Knie.

2. Früher war ich ein Abenteurer wie du, aber dann schoss ich einen Pfeil ins Knie.

Note: In German we say “einen Pfeil schießen” (to shoot an arrow). This, again, expresses who is the agent/doer of the action, which is not the case in this situation.

So, when the speaker ‘shot himself in his knee’ say “aber dann schoss ich mir einen Pfeil ins Knie”. When someone else ‘shot an arrow in the speaker’s knee’, say: “aber dann schoss man mir einen Pfeil ins Knie” (like above). When you do not want to stress whom the speaker ‘shot in the knee’, say: “aber dann schoss ich einen Pfeil ins Knie” (also the same like above).

 

Polish

1.       Byłem (male)/Byłam (female) __________ jak ty, ale potem dostałem(m)/dostałam(f) strzałą w kolano.

2.       Byłem (male)/Byłam (female) poszukiwaczem przygód jak ty, ale potem dostałem(m)/dostałam(f) strzałą w kolano.

(updated with Eryr’s suggestions)

 

Greek

1.       (Συνήθιζα να είμαι) Ήμουν ___________ σαν και εσένα, αλλα μετά δέχθηκα ενα βέλος στο πόδι.

2.       (Συνήθiζα να είμαι) Ήμουν τυχοδιώκτης σαν και εσένα, αλλα μετά δέχθηκα ενα βέλος στο πόδι. 

 

Dutch

1.  Ik was eerst ____________ net als jij, maar toen kreeg ik een pijl in mijn knie.

 2.  Ik was eerst een avonturier net als jij, maar toen kreeg ik een pijl in mijn knie.

 

Esperanto

1.      Mi antaŭe estis ____ kiel vi, sed tiam sago trafis mian genuon.

2.       Mi antaŭe estis aventuristo kiel vi, sed tiam sago trafis mian genuon.

[literally: an arrow hit my knee]

 

Slovene/Slovenian
contributed by Boštjan

1. Včasih sem bil(m)/bila(f) ______________ tako kot ti, dokler me ni puščica zadela v koleno.
2. Včasih sem bil(m)/bila(f) avanturist tako kot ti, dokler me ni puščica zadela v koleno.

(Translation is not literal. It is adapted to a wording that sounds more Slovene.) 

 

Now you can tell all your Danish friends about your extreme archery misfortunes.  We’ll add new translations as we get them.  Happy language learning!

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9 Responses to “Skyrim’s Arrow in the Knee Translated”

  1. Harivel Anthony 10 January 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi!

    I just wanted to correct some french over there:
    all your sentences with:
    “…mais puis…” sounds really weird.
    It should be “…mais depuis…”. That’s more correct.

    Please continue to teach us Swedish!!

    Thanks

  2. vialiy 10 January 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    In the French examples, “mais, puis” is incorrect. You should say only “puis” (J’étais X, puis j’ai pris Y).

  3. Eryr 10 January 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Hey!

    Great work! :D Skyrim in Irish made my day!

    (But as a native speaker of Polish I’d like to correct the Polish version:

    It should be:

    1. Byłem (male)/Byłam (female) __________ jak ty, ale potem dostałem(m)/dostałam(f) strzałą w kolano.

    2. Byłem (male)/Byłam (female) poszukiwaczem przygód jak ty, ale potem dostałem(m)/dostałam(f) strzałą w kolano.

    there should be a ‘d’ before ‘ostałem’ in the second example, also ‘jak ty’ (like you) in the second example was left out ;) And also ‘strzałkę’ suggests it was not an actual arrow, but a dart!

  4. Janusz 10 January 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    @ Polish pronounciation – ‘dostałem strzałkę’ means ‘I was given a dart’. It should be ‘dostałem strzałą’ which stands for – ‘I got hit by an arrow’

  5. Transparent Language 10 January 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Hey all,

    Keep the correction suggestions coming. There is always room to improve on a translation, and we’ll make corrections as needed. This is a living document in the sense that we will also add new languages as we get them, as well. :)

  6. Le Mister French 11 January 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Bonjour mes amis,
    First, I’d like to say that this is truly a great post!

    A few minor corrections, however, should be applied (in the post, as well as in some of the comments above):

    -1- In French:

    a- As pointed out in the previous comments, “mais puis” is incorrect, but “mais depuis” (suggested by Harivel) would mean something different, i.e. “but since then”. The simple formula “X puis Y” (suggested by Vialiy) is actually correct.

    b- The adverb *autrefois*, meaning in “the past”, is written in one word (not “autre fois”, as in “une autre fois”, which would mean “another time.”)

    c- One good way of expressing the English expression “I used to…” would be “Il fut un temps où…” (“There used to be a time when…”)

    -2- In Arabic:

    -a- If you choose to apply the “تنوين/nunation” among your “حركات التشكيل/diacritics” (the use of which is optional), then to be consistent you should write “بسهمٍ” instead of “بسهم”

    -b- There is a common mistake, even among native Arabic speakers, to use the ’alif maqṣūrah (ى) and the letter yā’ (ي) interchangeably, whereas they are in fact two distinct letters!

    In the post:
    * (ركبتى) should be (ركبتي)
    * (قلبى) should be (قلبي)
    * (أصابنى) should be (أصابني)
    * (يدى) should be (يدي)

    I hope this helps! :)

  7. Boštjan 21 January 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Slovene/Slovenian

    1. Včasih sem bil(m)/bila(f) ______________ tako kot ti, dokler me ni puščica zadela v koleno.
    2. Včasih sem bil(m)/bila(f) avanturist tako kot ti, dokler me ni puščica zadela v koleno.

    Translation is not literal. It is adapted to a wording that sounds more Slovene.

  8. MaelysTheDragon 13 July 2012 at 11:30 am #

    This is awesome! I see there’s no Japanese translation, and I thought it would be fun to share it. I’ve been studying for 6 years and am confident in my abilities, so hopefully this should be pretty accurate.

    俺はお前のような旅人だった、でもそれからひざに矢を受けた。

    That’s the informal, masculine way of saying it, in keeping with the way the Skyrim guards speak. The feminine, informal translation would be:

    私はあなたのような旅人だった、でもそれからひざに矢を受けた。

    All I really did was change the pronouns around, as in Japan women tend to have a softer way of speaking. Masculine is pronounced “ore wa omae no you na tabibito datta, demo sorekara hiza ni ya wo uketa” and feminine is “watashi wa anata no you na tabibito datta, demo sorekara hiza ni ya wo uketa”.

    Not a native speaker, but I checked it with my teacher (who is a native speaker) and she said it was correct, so I’ll take her word for it. Still, if I made a mistake, anyone visiting this site who is a better Japanese speaker than me can correct it!

  9. Jim DeHaas 8 September 2012 at 5:11 am #

    Icelandic translation, in case anyone would be interested in this:

    Einu sinni var ég líka ævintýramaður, sem þú ert, en þá fékk ég pílu í hnéið.

    Einu sinni var ég líka _______________, sem þú ert, en þá fékk ég pílu í hnéið.

    Now for a bit of vocab breakdown as well as some talk about how some of it works…

    1. Einu sinni = once/once upon a time

    2. ævintýramaður = adventurer (literally, man of adventures)

    3. píla = arrow, but in this case it must be ”pílu” as ”píla” and all other weak feminine nouns like it change their end vowel of -a to -u in all oblique cases, in this case the accusative. Also note the lack of an indefinite article. Icelandic has no equivalent word for ”a/an” except for in VERY limited instances, which I will leave to anyone interested to check into at their own leisure.

    4. hné = knee, but in this instance it has to be in the definite form of ”hnéið” given that possession for bodyparts just uses the definite article and Icelandic attaches its definite article at the ends of nouns like all the other Nordic languages of the Germanic variety.


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