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I was watching an episode of Better Than Us" (Лучше, чем люди) in Russian with English subtitles. Since I was actively watching, to the extent of making a vocabulary list from it, I noticed that the Russian for "Let's go!" was not "Пойдём!" Curious, I replayed this section in Russian, and, sure enough, it isn't what was said. So I took a screen shot of the Russian transcription as well as the English. See below:

enter image description here
Aleksandr Kuznetsov as Bars in Лучше, чем люди.

The word "пойдём" makes sense to me as a translation of "let's go" but as a translation for "расход" is entirely new to me. Is this common among Russian speakers, or is this a bit of poetic license the translator(s) of this series is/are taking?

By the way, I find it amusing that the Russian includes an exclamation mark but the English doesn't.

If you want to see the scene in full, you can find it on NETFLIX in Episode 4 of Season 1 at minute 31:58 (or 20:36 remaining)

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    Are you sure that the episode # is correct? I'm watching the Russian version on Kinopoisk, there's this dude but I can't catch the phrase.
    – alamar
    Nov 8, 2021 at 8:02
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    well, a native speaker will get immediately from context what's going on but it would be an exaggeration to claim this is a popular form of saying "let's go".
    – shabunc
    Nov 8, 2021 at 9:20
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    The direction matters - I wouldn't translate "let's go" to "расход!", however, translating "расход!" in this context to "let's go" seems perfectly appropriate, nothing better comes to mind. Perhaps "disperse!" might work, but seems awkward.
    – Peteris
    Nov 8, 2021 at 15:30
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    I used to work in a cubicle next to two Russian speakers. When they wanted a smoke break, one would say to the other (I don't speak Russian, so this is phonetic): "Pahshlee" After a while it started to seem to me like they were saying, "Let's go" (for a break). But an actual Russian speaker can confirm. HTH
    – jrdevdba
    Nov 8, 2021 at 19:46
  • That does mean "Let's go." Nov 8, 2021 at 20:08

8 Answers 8

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The character is saying расход! indeed, which is supposed to mean "scatter!", as a command.

This is not a mainstream word, but its meaning is obvious to a Russian speaker.

Russian sports and the military, historically, to a large extent owe their vocabulary to Germanic languages like English, Dutch and German.

This includes commands like марш < "march", аврал < Dutch overal "everywhere", бокс! < "box!" (the command to start boxing) etc.

To a Russian speaker, these commands look and feel like nouns.

I can't remember where, but I have read a hypothesis that this fact had given rise to the habit of using nouns as commands like огонь!, бой! etc., and even back-forming them specifically for this purpose: пуск, останов, etc.

This word is apparently a back-formation from расходись "disperse, scatter" as well, intended to sound like a military command.

It is not a real military command, but that's apparently what the dialog author had in mind.

It sounds, at least to my ear, like the character is faking the military jargon without actually knowing it, but I haven't watched this show, so this might as well be the intended effect.

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  • The green check mark goes to you, Quassnoi, but I wish I could also give one to alamar and p/h another to one of the new contributors — A. Petrovsky. Lots of other good answers, too. But I'm torn most between yours and alamar's. To provide more context, the subject of murder/slaughter/killing does play a part in this episode, but I don't want to spoil it by saying too much. I will say that when the father and son walk off, the father says to his son, "Were you planning to watch while they killed me?" so I do find it an interesting choice of words, but p/h not altogether too unintentional.
    – Lisa Beck
    Nov 9, 2021 at 1:32
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    It may be worth noting that in Czech at least there's the word "rozchod". Used for when they are standing in formation, and then walk apart
    – OmarL
    Nov 9, 2021 at 9:29
  • Prior to about late 19th century, Russian military commands were overwhelmingly not nouns but verbs in the imperative mode, like заряжай, бань, прибей, накати, пали (later contracted to пли). But then the military technology demanded the commander to pass more complicated commands to subordinates: you can't specify shell type, fuze and aiming data with verbs anymore. "Огонь!" is even later then that, from the WWI era, perhaps it's an ellipsis from the commands denoting type of the fire (like бёглый огонь)
    – ain92
    Nov 9, 2021 at 17:12
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    I would add, that you won't hear "расход!" to mean "dismiss!" in the military; they use the term "свободны!" — the usual, — or "рассыпсь!" (which is short for "рассы́паться!") which adds a great deal of urgency (say, it's uttered when an aerial strike is about to happen).
    – kostix
    Nov 10, 2021 at 13:03
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    @kostix: sure, that's exactly what I was trying to say with "it is not a real military command"
    – Quassnoi
    Nov 10, 2021 at 13:31
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I did not find the specific invocation, but there are two possible uses of this word:

Turning the verb расходимся (we part ways) to a noun. This is unusual but can surely arise in a subculture slang. Note that пойдём has an opposite meaning since it implies shared action.

Also, the word расход means getting rid of someone, usually by murder: пустить в расход. I doubt it is relevant here directly but needs to be mentioned.

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    Could also be a derivation of "Разойтись!" command to an army formation.
    – Dan M.
    Nov 8, 2021 at 17:06
  • I didn't watch this movie, but, perhaps, this is the specific command to the robots ? :> Nov 8, 2021 at 18:28
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    @alamar "пустить в расход" is the only collocation (is it a right term to call a combination of words?) where word "расход" is somehow related to murder. Word "расход" here has an origin from the verb "расходовать", "израсходовать" (think English "expandables", "расходный материал" in Russian). Nov 9, 2021 at 0:31
  • @IvanShatsky expEndables (spend), not expandables (expand?)
    – Anixx
    Nov 11, 2021 at 18:53
  • @Anixx Of course, I mean "expendables". The verb "to spend" can be translated to "расходовать" in Russian. Nov 12, 2021 at 8:09
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I can't catch this moment, but it's wrong to use the word 'Расход' in meaning 'Let's go'. It's either specific slang in film or wrong subtitles.

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In this episode, the word "расход" is an abbreviation for the word "расходимся". The character who uttered this phrase is laconic and is explained with other short words-orders, so it is not surprising such a reduction. This is most likely such a find of the scriptwriter, but for a Russian-speaking person, such a command may sound ambiguous: it can be understood how "расходимся" (disperse), and you can understand how - "пустить в расход", that is to kill

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Don't know the context, but this is probably a slang command to end a meeting, most likely abruptly. I'd say the most appropriate translation would be "Let's scatter," although "Расход" doesn't necessarily mean parting quickly. There's a more slang-heavy expression "по расходу", used in a phrase like "Ну что, по расходу?", meaning a suggestion to walk apart.

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It literally means something like "the going apart from each other." Saying that is like saying "break it up." It's not the same as "let's go" and is just creative slang. I would interpret that as "everyone get out of here and do what you need to do." I've never heard anyone say that and I don't think it's a common way to break up a meeting.

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"let's go" is not a correct translation, but I have no idea if a correct one is possible, since it relies on cultural tropes. "Расход" is the state of "расходится", i.e. go separate ways. The speaker is stating the state of something, with the unspoken implication that since he is the leader, it's his desire for the state to become a reality in the immediate future. This laconic fashion is the way senior army sergeants give orders. E.g. to tell a barracks full of troops to get up in the morning, the order would be a one-word "подъём", i.e. the state of "подниматся", getting up.

What that one word portrays to the Russian viewer(if he is male, he will have gone through this during military conscription) is that the dude has enough command authority over his underlings, that he can just give them one word orders and they are disciplined enough to obey without question.

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It's absolutely not common and I doubt that usual person could understand "расход" as "let's go" Indeed, there are several meanings of this word such as "scatter" or even "consumption". This word is absolutely usual in Russian but with another meaning. But in military slang, there is word "расходись" (it's like "разойдись") that you could hear in the marching as the final command - "Fall out!" (or "Dismiss!") I assume that "расход" it's a short version of the "расходись"

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