Idioms Lost in Translation

Translation is an art, but sometimes meanings get lost in #translation.

For instance, what does the idiom “to have tomatoes on your eyes” mean in German or “the carrots are cooked!” in French? Read on to find out, plus find some idioms below from Portugal and Japan 😉

FRENCH

The idiom: Avaler des couleuvres.
Literal translation: “To swallow grass snakes.”
What it means: “It means being so insulted that you’re not able to reply.” 

The idiom: Sauter du coq à l’âne.
Literal translation: “To jump from the cock to the donkey.”
What it means: “It means to keep changing topics without logic in a conversation.” 

The idiom: Se regarder en chiens de faïence.
Literal translation: “To look at each other like earthenware dogs.”
What it means: “Basically, to look at each other coldly, with distrust.” 

The idiom: Les carottes sont cuites!
Literal translation
: “The carrots are cooked!”
What it means: “The situation can’t be changed.”
Other language connections: It’s bit like the phrase, “It’s no use crying over spilt milk,” in English.

GERMAN

The idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
Literal translation: “You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
What it means: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see. It refers to real objects, though — not abstract meanings.”

The idiom: Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.
Literal translation: “I only understand the train station.”
What it means: “I don’t understand a thing about what that person is saying.’”

The idiom: Die Katze im Sack kaufen.
Literal translation
: “To buy a cat in a sack.”
What it means: That a buyer purchased something without inspecting it first.
Other languages this idiom exists in: We hear from translators that this is an idiom in Swedish, Polish, Latvian and Norwegian. In English, the phrase is “buying a pig in poke,” but English speakers do also  “let the cat out of the bag,” which means to reveal something that’s supposed to be secret.

PORTUGUESE

The idiom: Quem não se comunica se trumbica
Literal translation: “He who doesn’t communicate, gets his fingers burnt.”
What it means: “He who doesn’t communicate gets into trouble.”’

The idiom: Quem não tem cão caça com gato
Literal translation: “He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.”
What it means: “You make the most of what you’ve got.” Basically, you do what you need to do, with what the resources you have. 

The idiom: Empurrar com a barriga
Literal translation: “To push something with your belly.”
What it means: “To keep postponing an important chore.”

The idiom: Pagar o pato
Literal translation: 
“Pay the duck.”
What it means: “To take the blame for something you did not do.”

JAPANESE

The idiom: 猫をかぶる
Literal translation: “To wear a cat on one’s head.”
What it means: “You’re hiding your claws and pretending to be a nice, harmless person.”

The idiom: 猫の手も借りたい
Literal translation: “Willing to borrow a cat’s paws.”*
What it means: “You’re so busy that you’re willing to take help from anyone.” 

The idiom: 猫の額
Literal translation: “Cat’s forehead.”
What it means: “A tiny space. Often, you use it when you’re speaking humbly about land that you own.”

The idiom: 猫舌
Literal translation: “Cat tongue.”
What it means: “Needing to wait until hot food cools to eat it.”

*Yes, Japanese has quite a few cat idioms.

Hope you enjoyed reading the translations! #Languages #NaTakallam

Source, Translations & Image: https://blog.ted.com/40-idioms-that-cant-be-translated-literally/

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