When I recently read in the column Bagehot of The Economist (25.08.2012) the term kite-flying-speech I had the impression that I had found the long searched for equivalent of the German Sonntagsrede. It reminded me of the German term, a word I have wanted to present here for some time. I simply cannot translate it satisfactorily into Spanish. So now I would have two expressions, one English and one German, which I cannot translate into Spanish, but at last I can translate them into one another. That’s progress. Of sorts. Or so I thought, until I found out I was wrong. The term kite-flying-speech is used to refer to an action or statement issued to try to find out what other people think about it. But that is easy to translate: you could say a Versuchsballon in German or a globo sonda in Spanish.
After further digging, I found out the German term Sonntagsrede is not translated into English as a kite-flying-speech at all, which is logical, as that word means something different, but rather as speechifying, soapbox speech, Sunday speech (sorry, too literal for my taste) and trite, grand or turgid speeches. I admit I only like the first two suggestions, perhaps because they are still not easily translatable into Spanish. Listening to Spanish politicians I cannot help but wonder why Spanish has not invented a word for this kind of speech. Discurso altisonante or discurso grandilocuente just don’t seem to me to do justice to the beauty of a Sonntagsrede or a speechified soapbox speech. But that, of course, might only be a subjective impression.