WTF / what the fuck / what the freak

Evaldas

New Member
Lithuania
Moderator Note: Several threads have been merged to create this one.

I know it's very impolite, but I really do need a translation (or equivalent) of "wtf" (what the fuck) in french. All I could think of was "quoi de merde?" :confused:...
Thank you in advance.
 
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  • Evaldas

    New Member
    Lithuania
    Thank you. I really liked CQCB (C'est quoi ce bordel). Just... For me the word "bordel" doesn't sound so strong as "f*ck" (in WTF).. But maybe french do not use such "strong" expressions as english do :)
     

    kertek

    Senior Member
    UK English
    But maybe french do not use such "strong" expressions as english do :)
    This is definitely true! In English you can be offensive with one word - in French the words themselves don't offend as much, so you have to be creative...
     

    Jocaste

    Senior Member
    Français
    Bonsoir !
    I've often come across wtf and I've seen that it means what the freak or what the fuck.
    More generally, I've seen what the freak/fuck are you doing ? but what does it mean ? I think it might be translated by qu'est-ce que tu fais/fous ? but I've seen it in so many situations that I believe it might have other meanings.
    Thanks in advance :)
     

    david314

    Senior Member
    American English
    Bonsoir !
    I've often come across wtf and I've seen that it means what the freak or what the fuck. This is a very vulgar form of zut alors
    More generally, I've seen what the freak/fuck are you doing ? but what does it mean ? I think it might be translated by qu'est-ce que tu fais/fous ? :tick: but I've seen it in so many situations that I believe it might have other meanings.
    Thanks in advance :)
    This is considered very foul language. :eek:
     

    Rouleau

    Senior Member
    English United States
    It can also translate as "Holy Cow!" (pour ceux qui sont tres pieux). Or "You've got to be kidding!" Or "What's going on here?" (to translate as "Qu'est ce que se passe?"

    Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one's religiosity or lack thereof, "fuck" has become part of the English vernacular.
     

    Musical Chairs

    Senior Member
    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    It's actually not VERY foul language, especially online. It's less vulgar than "what the fuck" in speech. Acronyms and spelling changes tend to de-vulgarize things to an extent.

    Sometimes it can mean "qu'est-ce que tu fais" but it really depends on the context. Other things it can possibly mean that I can think of:
    - why the fuck (are you doing this)?
    - that's stupid
    - I can't believe it
    - I don't understand
    - you don't make sense
    - you're wrong
    - etc.
     

    vincent7520

    Senior Member
    yes but bordel ou merdier relate to something physical sur as a teenagerr's room that had been ranksacked by an infernous tribe from another galaxy … 
    Whereas "what the fuck is this …" depends of what you add after this syntagm : for instance "what the fuck this argument means ?… " would most probably be translated by "c'est quoi cet argument foireux / argument de merde ?…" … Hence "what the fuck is this … " is more open than "bordel" ou "merdier" … All depends on the context.
     

    imot3p

    Member
    French
    It's very used in video games for example : you're playing and suddendly you get kill and the you might say "what's the fuck?" because you don't understand why you're dead
     

    halfbeing

    Senior Member
    English - English
    What the fuck? stands by itself as an interjection. While it is obviously an abbreviation of "What the fuck is this?", "What the fuck is going on?" etc, by itself it expresses a state of bewilderment and/or exasperation, but not necessarily a question. In other words the person who says it may already know full well what is going on, but may be struggling to adjust their world view to accommodate it.

    The phrase is very much a North American one, although I imagine it is spreading into British English (particularly as "wtf") due to its use on the Internet. It is one of the few North American English expressions I brought back with me from Canada because I really don't think British English has an equivalent.

    In Québec the English expression is sometimes used (I don't know how popular it is) and is sometimes (I'm not sure how often) spelled playfully "ouate de phoque" (seal cotton wool/seal cotton).
     
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    vincent7520

    Senior Member
    that's why (I'm answering to the argument that wtf stands by itself as an interjection) it cannot be always translated by "c'est quoi ce bordel / ce merdier…" etc…)
    actually it's really close to "what the hell…"
    In itself I would translate it by an interjection such as : "oh ! … merde … "
    "ah ben ça alors … " on simply as "hein ???…" "quoi ?…" (althouth this has an english equivalent : "whaaat ???…")

    All other feedback are most welcomed as, at this very moment, I have very little imagination for translating into slang …
    :(
     

    vanagreg

    Senior Member
    France, French
    This is definitely true! In English you can be offensive with one word - in French the words themselves don't offend as much, so you have to be creative...
    I disagree with that. I find French quite richer on that matter. Indeed, the word "fuck" seems omnipresent in English offenses while there's no such an obviousness in French.

    Anyway, I think what has been proposed "c'est quoi ce bordel?" or "c'est quoi ce merdier,", and I would add "c'est quoi ces conneries?" are great translations.
     

    bobepine

    Senior Member
    Canada, English & French
    In Québec the English expression is sometimes used (I don't know how popular it is) and is sometimes (I'm not sure how often) spelled playfully "ouate de phoque" (seal cotton wool/seal cotton).
    I confirm its fairly frequent use; stand up comics have riffed on the ouate de phoque theme, so most everybody would be familiar with its use.

    In Québec, we swear using church-related words, so we can definitely be offensive with a single word. Personally, crisse has the same short quick punch of fuck, but emphasizing every syllable of ta-bar-nak yields great satisfaction, too.

    But, acronym-wise, we'd stick with wtf.
     

    parlezvous?

    New Member
    English
    I have been teaching myself French and had the privilege of spending the greater part of a year with a French Exchanged student. Whenever we wanted to say "What the f**k?" we would say, "Quoi le phoque?"(pronounced k-wah le fo[like the french word faux for false]-k) This literally means what the seal(furry animal) but since you wanted something that sounded harshed I think this is the best way for you to say WTF. Ciao. :)!
     

    spatula

    Senior Member
    English - London (Irish ethnicity)
    What the fuck? stands by itself as an interjection. While it is obviously an abbreviation of "What the fuck is this?", "What the fuck is going on?" etc, by itself it expresses a state of bewilderment and/or exasperation, but not necessarily a question. In other words the person who says it may already know full well what is going on, but may be struggling to adjust their world view to accommodate it.

    The phrase is very much a North American one, although I imagine it is spreading into British English (particularly as "wtf") due to its use on the Internet. It is one of the few North American English expressions I brought back with me from Canada because I really don't think British English has an equivalent.

    In Québec the English expression is sometimes used (I don't know how popular it is) and is sometimes (I'm not sure how often) spelled playfully "ouate de phoque" (seal cotton wool/seal cotton).
    I LOVE 'ouate de phoque', that's very funny! I can confirm that yes, in the UK, we do just say 'what the fuck...'
     

    Eric75

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    When you use wtf as a part of a longer sentence, "c'est quoi ce merdier/conneries/etc." does not work.
    ex: "wtf are you doing?" would be something like: "Putain ! Qu'est-ce que tu fous, là ?!?" but spoken, it would become: "Tain ! Qu'est-ce tu fous, là ?!?
    Note that "Putain" can be replaced by "Merde", "Bordel", "Putain de merde", or more modern: "Ta race !".
     

    Runan

    Senior Member
    British-North American English
    Hi, what the fuck is indeed an interjection but depending on the punctuation and context going from, an agressive incomprehension, a quiet soliloquy of incomprehension, and another way saying why not?, the translations can vary widely.
     

    jscottseptembre

    Banned
    American English
    Hi, what the fuck is indeed an interjection but depending on the punctuation and context going from, an agressive incomprehension, a quiet soliloquy of incomprehension, and another way saying why not?, the translations can vary widely.
    C'est tout à fait vrai, et je me demandais ce qui serait l'équivalent français dans ce sens-ci.

    Par exemple la chanson rap de easy e ('easy does it'): "A dice game started, so I said, 'what the fuck'. So I put my shit in park and had to try my luck"

    En l'occurrence, peut-on dire, "donc j'ai dit, et puis merde."?

    merci
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Oui. Moi. :D
    Entre parenthèses, on ne dit pas rendement dans le sens où l'a employé Runan. Rendement = productivité, profit.
    =>une excellente manière de rendre.
     

    Jessila

    Senior Member
    France, french
    "Fuck" being closest to "Putain" in French, I would try to insert it in most occurences of wtf and am surprised hardly anyone used it in their own suggestions, though I have to admit that "et puis merde" in the above example works perfectly :)

    So instead of saying "C'est quoi ce bordel/merdier ?" for instance, I would go with "C'est quoi ce putain de bordel ?" or "C'est quoi ça, putain ?!" Note that you can move "putain" at the beginning of the sentence: " 'Tain c'est quoi ce truc ?!"

    The often shortened "What the" could probably be rendered by "Oh, putain..."
    As a interjection "Putain de merde !" would work quite well too ^^
     

    lexebeth

    New Member
    English, French
    I am French. Quebec French, and how we say it is "ce qui la baise". I do not know how France does it. But I don't live there. :p *laughs*

    "Putain" is "Slut" Trust me. Don't go around calling anyone in Quebec that! You'll get beat!!
    -English is second language.
     
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    Nitroceline

    Senior Member
    français
    I am French. Quebec French, and how we say it is "ce qui la baise". I do not know how France does it. But I don't live there. :p *laughs*

    "Putain" is "Slut" Trust me. Don't go around calling anyone in Quebec that! You'll get beat!!
    -English is second language.
    I am from Quebec too and Putain and Bordel is said to avoid the more offensive use of religious terms.
     

    nobbs

    Senior Member
    France - Français
    "Putain" is "Slut" Trust me. Don't go around calling anyone in Quebec that! You'll get beat!!
    In France at least, in 99% of cases "putain" is not an insult but merely an interjection (like "damn" or probably "crisse" in Québec), while "pute" would be the insult.

    I confirm that the use of WTF is commonplace in writing among people under 30.
     

    Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    As WTF is becoming an adjective in French (for instance "les 10 objets les plus WTF", "les photos les plus WTF de l'année"), I have seen "portnawak" to translate it in this context, and I find it appropriate.
     

    nld

    Senior Member
    French
    Thank you. I really liked CQCB (C'est quoi ce bordel). Just... For me the word "bordel" doesn't sound so strong as "f*ck" (in WTF).. But maybe french do not use such "strong" expressions as english do :)
    We can improve :eek:: "C'est quoi ce putain de bordel de merde?!"
     
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    vincent7520

    Senior Member
    Bonjour,

    En effet, et puis merde me semble un excellent rendement de What the fuck.
    Please note that rendement means "output" (mechanic engineering, electronics, electricity, agriculture, chemistry, biology … ) or "return" / "profit" / "benefit" in finances.

    You mean "rendu" (translation of "rendering").


    Have a good day !…
     

    Nitroceline

    Senior Member
    français
    In France at least, in 99% of cases "putain" is not an insult but merely an interjection (like "damn" or probably "crisse" in Québec), while "pute" would be the insult.

    I confirm that the use of WTF is commonplace in writing among people under 30.
    Je suis d'accord avec vous - Maudit, putain, bordel - sont des expressions jugées plus ou moins convenables par certains, plutôt comiques par d'autres. Mais ce n'est pas jurer.

    Et on dit aussi - C'est une pute! pour insulter quelqu'un - ou fils de pute! (et non putain).

    Question de culture - les Anglais utilisent le sexe pour jurer. Les Québécois utilisent la religion. Les tabous diffèrent d'une culture à l'autre et devraient être considérés quand on traduit!
     

    jamesk65

    Senior Member
    British English
    Only half agree with Halfbeing (#16) about the expression being a recent import to Britain. Its abreviated/truncated use to express incredulity or exasperation may indeed be recent (15 years?) and the acronym of the digital communications age. However, the words themselves are good old Anglo-Saxon English. As old as "what the devil/hell..." centuries old I suspect. I was aware of the expression "what the fuck... (are you doing)!" from early childhood (ca. 1970).
     
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