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Good synonyms for the words 'smarthead' and 'smartass', for use in a translation

Discussion in 'Language & Culture' started by Ezequiel Barbosa, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. I am translating a book from Portuguese into English, one which I personally regard as a modern masterpiece, for being so close to my heart. The work has had a very profound impact among Brazilians, specially on online discussion forums, the now extinct Orkut social network and is still somewhat discussed in some blogs around the internet.

    It was published under the pseudonym Nessahan Alita, an author about whom not much is known, but much is speculated.

    In English however, I feel there's the need for a translation of this book. But for that to be possible, I need your help with a single word, and if there's a more proper way to translate it into English, I'll adopt it. I'm not having problems with anything else when translating its text, but with this word I do.

    Among a few other things, the text addresses the profane and perfidious characteristics of women who manipulate, lie or are insincere; in contrast to the less-common sincere and morally elevated women that can still be found–those who are suitable for a good spouse.

    In the text, the author exaustively uses the word "espertinha", which literally translates to "smarthead" or "smartass", exclusively in reference to women who are insincere or manipulate men's emotions, and sometimes used to refer to women who cheat on them. Even though aforementioned translations seem to suffice in a single sentence translated, it happens to appear hundred of times in the text, what is irritating even when reading it in Portuguese. So, given situation I would like to gather a list of words to use as a substitution to those, or even better, one that properly means "insincere woman", since "smarthead" or "smartass" seems too inappropriate or "forced" into the text, for they do not address the issue very specifically. Just for you to have an idea, here are some quotes of the book.

    Unfortunately, women are nowadays and in most part negatively polarized in the relationship with the men, not always giving space to the good and superior part that exists in them. The truly sincere ones, who actually exist, are lost amidst the crowds and can’t be easily found, because the smartheads pretend to be honest women themselves.


    A typical simulation of misunderstanding happens when, in faking innocence, the smartheads pretend they can't notice the explicit intentions of the males around them, thus refusing to acknowledge the implications of their improper and tolerant attitudes towards men who are courting them.

    I even thought about replacing it for other words, according to my understanding, but in the specific case of this word, the author sometimes uses this word repeatedly to address an entire issue, sometimes in explorations that take many pages, and he insists in using only this word. Here is a case, for example, in which he specifically mentions the word.

    May it be understood, that when I use the expressions "such women", "these women", "the women", "smartheads", "manipulators", etc, that I am referring exclusively to the insincere, the ones who cheat in the game of love, not to the others.

    In conclusion, I wish I could have a few other words, or a single one that is better to use in place of "smarthead". Not only it is annoying to see the same word being statically used a hundred of times across the text, but that "smarthead" and "smartass" seems also inappropriate. I wish there was a noun that properly describes this type of women. If such exists, I'd be very glad to know it. Thanks.

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