1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Finnish
  4. >
  5. "Miksi he eivät myy enää sima…

"Miksi he eivät myy enää simaa?"

Translation:Why do they no longer sell any mead?

July 17, 2020



That is a terrible translation. No one says it like that in English. Rather, one says, Why don't they sell mead anymore?


I really don't like 'sima' being translated as 'mead'. Sima is non-alcoholic and it contains lemon but no honey. Mead is alcoholic, typically between 5-20%, and there is no lemon but honey is the essential ingredient. You have kept 'mämmi' as mämmi because there is no English equivalent. Please keep 'sima' as sima.


What is the Finnish for 'mead' in that case?


It is perfectly possible that there isn't one. I certainly am not aware of one, hence my suggestion of keeping 'sima' as sima. For various reasons languages can very rarely be translated accurately because of cultural and other reasons. Certain food related items are not known or used in other countries. Same goes for weather - in northern countries there are several words referring to different types of snow which don't make any sense to a person who has never seen snow. They cannot have an accurate translation, although they can invent a word. A person translating an English text including the word 'mead' has the option of explaining the drink in foot notes or in a separate list added to the end of a text. In any case, 'mead' and 'sima' are not interchangable, no matter how much Google tries to tell you so.


Thanks, this is interesting. Having now done a bit of research on what 'mead' is/was and what 'sima' is/was, it looks like both words are actually covering quite a wide range of concoctions past &present. Nevermind the problem of translating from one language into another, even within a language (or language family) one person's mead seems to be another's "that's not proper mead"(!)

I get the sense though that within English, 'mead' has more or less retained the association with being alcoholic, and you have to specifically call it out as non-alcoholic if that's the case. Is it fair to say that although 'sima' (by the sounds of it) once referred to a fermented drink, to the modern Finn it would no longer be expected to be alcoholic? Would they actively expect a non-alcoholic drink, or is it more ambiguous, it could be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic?


I have never heard of alcoholic 'sima'. When I was a child, 'sima' was only made for 'vappu', 1 May, and we were allowed to drink any amount of it. It was lightly sparkling and a real delight. In my family you wouldn't have given any kind of alcohol to a child. I've lived away from Finland for a very long time and I don't know if somebody has introduced alcoholic 'sima', a little bit like there being non-alcoholic beer available these days.

Learn Finnish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.