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What Does “Не тормозит” Mean?

· 2 min read

This question usually arises when people see official ClickHouse t-shirts. They have large words “ClickHouse не тормозит” on the front.

Before ClickHouse became open-source, it has been developed as an in-house storage system by the largest Russian IT company, Yandex. That’s why it initially got its slogan in Russian, which is “не тормозит” (pronounced as “ne tormozit”). After the open-source release we first produced some of those t-shirts for events in Russia and it was a no-brainer to use the slogan as-is.

One of the following batches of those t-shirts was supposed to be given away on events outside of Russia and we tried to make the English version of the slogan. Unfortunately, the Russian language is kind of elegant in terms of expressing stuff and there was a restriction of limited space on a t-shirt, so we failed to come up with good enough translation (most options appeared to be either long or inaccurate) and decided to keep the slogan in Russian even on t-shirts produced for international events. It appeared to be a great decision because people all over the world get positively surprised and curious when they see it.

So, what does it mean? Here are some ways to translate “не тормозит”:

  • If you translate it literally, it’d be something like “ClickHouse does not press the brake pedal”.
  • If you’d want to express it as close to how it sounds to a Russian person with IT background, it’d be something like “If your larger system lags, it’s not because it uses ClickHouse”.
  • Shorter, but not so precise versions could be “ClickHouse is not slow”, “ClickHouse does not lag” or just “ClickHouse is fast”.

If you haven’t seen one of those t-shirts in person, you can check them out online in many ClickHouse-related videos. For example, this one:

P.S. These t-shirts are not for sale, they are given away for free on most ClickHouse Meetups, usually for best questions or other forms of active participation.