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There is a discussion concerning how to translate the Norwegian expression ''Rene ord for Pengene" to English. The expression has the meaning that one has been quite forthright. Is it reasonable in this case to coin the neologism ''Clean Words for the Money'' by means of a literal translation.

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    Can you please add a usage example and context for the proverb? – user067531 Oct 1 at 16:13
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    Only if you have a reader-base as large and as sympathetic as that of say JK Rowling (and if you are as skilled a wordsmith as she is). English is not D-I-Y. 'Calling a spade a spade' already exists in English and appears to have a similar meaning. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 1 at 16:15
  • I have given an answer, but perhaps with a bit more context we can refine the answers below. – David M Oct 1 at 18:01
  • I was not allowed to delete the question. Let me just state, then, that some contributors here are utterly ridiculous and that it is totally unacceptable to state that the expression "Clean words for the money" is meaningless in English. Period! – Sapiens Oct 1 at 21:51
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    Can you give more explanation of the Boreegian saying? It is not clear what it is supposed to mean. Like maybe a real life situation where one would say such a thing. – Mitch Oct 1 at 22:53
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I would probably translate it to:

Telling it like it is.

This is an expression that means being upfront without any pretense.

It could also be translated to:

Offering my two cents.

This means sharing my opinion in a plain manner. I like this as a translation because it retains the sense of words for the money.

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'Calling a spade a spade' already exists in English and appears to have a similar meaning. – Edwin Ashworth

  • Norwegian also has "Kalle en spade en spade", and the meaning is not the same as "Rene ord for pengene". – Sapiens Oct 1 at 20:28
  • I was not allowed to delete the question. Let me just state, then, that some contributors here are utterly ridiculous and that it is totally unacceptable to state that the expression "Clean words for the money" is meaningless in English. Period! – Sapiens Oct 1 at 21:51
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    @FrodeBjørdal The thing is, it isn't an idiomatic phrase in English. Languages often have things that don't make literal sense in other languages. English has 'to have an axe to grind', for example, which is grammatical, but probably doesn't mean 'to want to have an argument' in Norwegian. Phrases of this type build meaning within their original languages, which don't necessarily work in others. See English as she is spoke for more proof that direct translations don't always work. – marcellothearcane Oct 2 at 5:03
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    'Clean words for the money' is ambiguous - is someone offering a word-cleaning service? Does someone sell 'clean words'? Is it an instruction, telling someone not to 'clean words for free'? These are all valid literal interpretations, which are a far cry from 'to be forthright' – marcellothearcane Oct 2 at 5:06
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    @FrodeBjørdal: Exactly! – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Oct 2 at 17:44

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