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In a chat about an annoying user (I believe in Russian you would call her a тролль), I came across the following comment:

Ну остаётся только забить на неё, мне кажется, её только подстегивает то, что с ней тут цацкаются.

Not knowing what some of the words meant, I posted it on a language app asking for a translation. A Russian native gave me a rough rendition in questionable English, which I in turn translated into good English, according to the original context, as follows:

The only thing left to do is to ignore her. I think it only encourages her when people make such a fuss over her.

However, some of the Russians insist that this is incorrect. Could someone please indicate if there are an inaccuracies in my translation and what I'm missing? One of the critiques is that the English register is too mild.

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The translation is correct, more in the meaning than in the vocabulary, because the vocabulary of the Russian phrase includes colloquialisms.

Забить на... is a shorthand or a more decent version of забить х.. (profanity) на..., which is very offensive, basically to not give a f... about

Забей на него! - F... him! (as imperative)
Забей на это! - F... that! (as imperative)

Цацкаться (as well as панькаться) is to wet-nurse, to molly-coddle as per Multitran

цацка is a derogatory name for a toy, so on this basis the meaning of the verb may be derived, not exactly играться but within that semantic field, for example to be lenient with

The verb is mostly used disapprovingly to describe systematic toleration of bad/uncivil behavior and timid attempts at thwarting it.

So a closer equivalent could probably look like

Well, f.. her, she's just getting a kick out of the fact that everyone here is wet nursing/mincing their words with her.

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  • Thank you, Bayan! I especially appreciate the explanation of забить. Unfortunately, I'm still in the dark about цацкаться because we don't commonly use the expression wet-nurse someone, much less mollycoddle (which you and another person used and I've never seen or heard in my 54 years as a native American English speaker). So I guess that will be the mystery for now :) I think "make a fuss will have to do.
    – CocoPop
    Dec 1 '17 at 14:18
  • 1
    good to know of usage habits from a native speaker, i've added another possible variant to mince one's words with, not sure if to baby-sit can do as well Dec 1 '17 at 14:23
  • 1
    Your new comments clarify this even further. I believe the correct expression in this context is "... she gets a kick out of the fact that everyone walks on eggshells around her." -or- "everyone handles her with kid gloves."
    – CocoPop
    Dec 1 '17 at 15:48
  • By the way, "tsatske" is a legitimate word in English.
    – Alexander
    Dec 1 '17 at 17:43
  • must be a borrowing from Yiddish; in Hebrew a toy is tsa'atsu'a Dec 1 '17 at 19:02
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The translation, indeed, sounds a bit too mild, however, the general meaning is correct. The author of the original Russian comment uses derogatory language (but note, not the Russian mat), while your translation is much politer and misses emotional aspect and negative connotations of 'забить на неё' and 'цацкаться'.

'цацкаться' indeed means to take care of someone too much, however, there is a connotation of spoiling the object of care by giving too much attention to it. It is close to a childcare observed in case of helicopter parents in their extreme version.

I think a closer translation would be:

The only thing we can do is to stop giving a shit about her. I believe that our fussing over her only encourages her.

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  • Olga, thank you! You're answer confirms everything I've been saying all along. People keep throwing expressions like "take care of" and obscure verbs like "mollycoddle" as if they haven't read the context. I'm glad you paid attention, and, again, I appreciate your input and insights.
    – CocoPop
    Dec 1 '17 at 15:45
  • @CocoPop, these are colloquialisms. It is really hard to translate them correctly, especially if one is not exposed to the second culture to the same degree. BTW, the Russian commentator also 'sounds' to be male, since he uses a quite crude language.
    – Olga
    Dec 1 '17 at 15:57
  • Actually, she's a female, and, in her defense, the troll in question is reeeeeallly annoying!
    – CocoPop
    Dec 1 '17 at 16:12
  • @CocoPop, If it comes from a woman, you can substitute 'shit' with 'fuck' in my translation to get a better idea about the strength of emotions. Women tend to use politer language (but not all of them; some Russian women can outswear a proverbial trooper :) ).
    – Olga
    Dec 1 '17 at 16:21
  • Yes, and I've seen a few on online chats! I don't even understand half of what they're writing and I was blushing ☺️
    – CocoPop
    Dec 1 '17 at 20:25
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I suppose the first part of the sentence has a good translation, but the second part I would translate like when people take care of her too much instead of when people make such a fuss over her, because in the Russian dictionaries цацкаться (the infinitive of the word цацкаются) means to take care of someone too much.

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  • Thank you, Kate, but take into account the context... an annoying user on a website who continuously posts nonsensical, derogatory comments that drive the other users to distraction. The reasoning behind the Russian sentiment is that the best recourse is to ignore her because "...ing" her just seems to encourage her more. Would you use "taking too much care of her" in this context?
    – CocoPop
    Dec 1 '17 at 15:00

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