A disease spreads, whereas butter is spread

ParlezSieEspañol

Member
Spanish - Colombia
Hi, I was trying to write an example for myself that demonstrates the use of "verbreiten"/"ausbreiten" and streichen. I am trying to translate the following simple sentence I came up.

A disease spreads, whereas Butter is spread = Eine Krankheit (ver/aus)breitet sich, während die Butter gestrichen wird.

I think is wrong, but I haven't been able to translate it correctly since the online translations insist in a different meaning.

Could you help translate this correctly, please? Also, if you have any insights regarding the use of these words I'll appreciate it.

Greetings.
 
  • Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    A disease spreads, whereas Butter is spread = Eine Krankheit (ver/aus)breitet sich, während die Butter gestrichen wird.
    It's almost correct. You can also use the verb "schmieren" for butter on a slice of bread. That's probably more common and certainly more colloquial.

    What's wrong is that ausbreiten is a seperable verb:

    Eine Krankheit breitet sich aus.
    Eine Krankheit verbreitet sich.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    I think the English OP sentence is a kind of joke, based on the double meaning of the verb ''to spread''.
    I interpret it as ''the desease is spreading spontaneously, whereas butter must be 'spread' by man's hand''.
    In German there is (to my knowledge) no verb meaning both ''sich ausbreiten'' and ''gestrichen werden'', therefore the original joke gets lost in translation.
     

    ParlezSieEspañol

    Member
    Spanish - Colombia
    bearded man, your assumptions are almost correct, it wasn't a joke, just a play of words that would, in fact as you mentioned, help me differentiate that same distinction that you are remarking that exists in German but not in English.

    Greetings.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Vielleicht:

    Diese Krankheit verbreitet sich schneller als Butter beim Aufs-Brot-Schmieren. (Not a common idiom but a metaphor)

    As far as I understand the main context is the speed. The pun is nearly kept.

    I exchanged "so schnell" by "schneller" to compensate the level of pun.

    Another way of translating it is to go back to "extremely fast" and find another idiom or metaphor.

    I could imagine:
    Diese Krankheit verbreitet sich wie die Fliegen. (This includes speed and place)
    Diese Krankheit verbreitet sich wie die Maden im Speck. (it is a metaphor here, the idiom is; "Sie leben wie die Maden im Speck." with another meaning: they are living very well.)
     
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