13 October 2013

to save his life

Reading English football news in a Malay newspaper can be quite challenging. Take this extract from page 22 of the Media Permata of 12 October 2013, about Joey Barton commenting on Sir Alex Ferguson.

Saya tidak berada di sini untuk tidak menghormati Fergie - seorang pengurus hebat, ikon, kemuncak pengurus-pengurus Britain - tetapi dia tidak dapat meletakkan kejurulatihan untuk menyelamatkan jiwanya.

This might be translated back into English as:

I am not here to disrepect Fergie - a wonderful manager, an icon, the best of British managers - but he couldn't leave the training to save his life.

What? "he couldn't leave the training to save his life"! What does that mean?

The trouble here is that English has a saying "he couldn't X to save his life", where X is any action. So: "he couldn't write a book to save his life", or "he couldn't kick a ball to save his life" ... But the translator has kept the 'to save his life' part, and then must have assumed that 'lead the training to save his life' didn't make sense, so has changed 'lead' into 'leave'. But it just doesn't make any sense.

Anyway, I looked it up on the web, and I found the original here:

The more complete quote can be found here: