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En un acto de locura tejí durante tres días doce pares de zapatitos azules y rosados para recién nacidos, tratando de darme valor para no escuchar, ni cantar, ni recordar las canciones que me recordaban a ella. - Garcia Marquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Translation from Edith Grossman:

In an act of madness, I crocheted twelve pairs of blue and pink infant's booties in three days, trying to give myself the coura ge not to hear or sing or think about the songs that reminded me of her.

Google translate gives "shoes" for zapatitos, but Grossman has used booty, which means buttock in almost every dictionary I looked. Has Grossman given a correct translation for zapatito, or she means other thing by "booty"?

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In this case, "booties" is the plural form of "bootie" or "bootee", not "booty". The former is described as:

a short soft sock or bootlike garment used for warmth or protection. Bootees for babies are usually thick and knitted, to keep the baby's feet warm.

Which fits the meaning of the Spanish term. Strictly speaking though, "bootie" would have been appropriate had García Márquez used "botitas" or "patuquitos". Since he used "zapatitos", the translator could arguably have used "baby shoes" for a more literal translation, but I think "booties" brings to mind a woollier image than "shoes" does, which makes sense because they were indeed crocheted. All in all, "bootie(s)" is a good translation for "zapatito(s)".

Compare Google images for "baby booties" and "baby shoes".

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  • Curious that Grossman is sure they were crocheted rather than knitted although I think tejer could mean either. Incidentally I think the spelling bootee is more common in British English. – mdewey May 19 '16 at 14:02

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