I’m completely snowed under at the moment but I wanted to mention this latest Bushism, which Twitter was buzzing about recently. During his final press conference, George Bush said: "At times you misunderestimated me". It is a term he first used in 2000 and I really like it. Could it be the perfect word to sum up the 43rd president of the USA? Please feel free to offer a French translation!
(via jamesward)

By |2009-01-13T09:28:47+00:00January 13th, 2009|Words|5 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Laurent January 13, 2009 at 10:10 am

    It could be pretty fun to translate. What would you say in French ? “Vous me mésousestimez” ?

  2. céline January 13, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Ha! On the French side, I came up with "sous-mésestimez" but I prefer yours!

  3. Wu Ming 1 January 14, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Unfortunately in Italian merging the two verbs is impossible, as “underestimate” is Sottovalutare and “misunderstand” is Fraintendere. How do you make a pun out of those two?
    However, there is another verb, Sottintendere [literally: “sub-understand”!], which looks like a synthesis between the ones above but actually means “to imply”, or “to make an implicit reference”. I just invented Sottofraintendere, which could be translated us… “undermisunderstand”. Imagine George W. saying: – You undermisunderstood me. That is: you could have misunderstood me even more than you did, as I uttered a lot more non-sense than you can remember.

  4. Alejandro Moreno-Ramos - Translator engineer January 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I like Laurent’s proposal. I couldn’t find a good translation into Spanish.

  5. justine January 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    for Spanish I thought of “malsubestimar”… the “sub” doesn’t come in for both verbs, so it’s more like the Italian above (perhaps “frasottovalutare”?) in that it adds another prefix to “underestimate”. anyway, a quick Google search proves that I’m not the first to come up with it, as there are blog postings that include it at least as far back as September of 2008 in both Spanish and Portuguese — all with reference to Bush, of course 🙂

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