We were recently asked to translate a commercial into Spanish. Part of the text said ‘Happy Hump Day’. Translating that greeting into Spanish caused many headaches. The Spanish language does not use such a greeting at all, and to translate the meaning of it would have made the text too long. We scratched our heads, used all kinds of dictionaries and the help of Google to come up with a solution that would work.
What does ‘Hump Day’ even mean?
The Urban Dictionary’s definition: The middle of a work week (Wednesday); used in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through a tough week.
Who came up with this idea? Wikipedia claims that John Steinbeck used that term in his 1945 novel “Sweet Thursday” the titular day is preceded by “Lousy Wednesday”
On the Internet you can find everything, even a site with historical facts about everything. Kellylynnreimer.wordpress.com: the term “hump day” began in 1965 when, allegedly, Roy Mann coined the phrase while standing around the water cooler at a Dupont plant. Then, in 1975, J.J. Cale wrote a song called, “Friday” where the lyrics “Wednesday’s hump day, hump day’s Wednesday/Over the hump, the week’s half-gone/If I had my pay on Wednesday I’d hang out, the hump day’s gone.”
You can listen to the song here:
Nothing helped, however, with getting us closer to a Spanish translation. In Spanish you can say ‘happy middle of the week day’, but that is too long. Shorter would be ‘happy navel day’ (the navel being the center/middle of the body), but would that be understood? Since this was used in the U.S. as a commercial for marketing purposes, the client ended up keeping the English term and the commercial is now advertising ‘Happy Hump Day’. This is one way of learning English.
During our research we came across another ‘special’ day that was used for marketing purposes. Wednesday is the middle of the week; Thursday gets us closer to Friday which brings us to the weekend. Spanish combines Thursday and Friday (Jueves + Viernes) into a new word, Juernes.
And now we can market our products to be sold at a discount on Juernes.