Off topic: 40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally
Thread poster: Jasmina

Jasmina  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:08
Italian to English
Feb 12, 2015

There are always lots of these floating around. Some quite funny ones here:

http://blog.ted.com/2015/01/20/40-idioms-that-cant-be-translated-literally/


 

Georgi Kovachev  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 03:08
Member (2010)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
The Croatian idioms are really great Feb 13, 2015

Hi Jasmina,

Thanks for sharing.

I especially liked the Croatian ones because some forms of the modern Croatian language are used as slang in Bulgarian, for instance the equivalent of "prdnuo" in "You sing like an elephant farted in your ear (Pjevaš kao da ti je slon prdnuo u uho.)" is "пърдя" ("fart") that is usually used in the oral Bulgarian language.

Regards,
Georgi


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:08
Chinese to English
Starting to get quite irritated here Feb 13, 2015

Right, these lists of idioms and the word "literally" are starting to get my goat.

Here's the news: the phrase "get my goat" is LITERALLY not about a goat. Idioms are LITERALLY not about the things their words are about. Just as the word "door" has nothing to do with "do" or "or", the phrase "cat got your tongue" has nothing to do with cats. Literally.

Metaphors have two levels: the literal and the metaphorical. Idioms (often) do not. It is a mistake to mix them up.


 

Jasmina  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:08
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Cool your boots Phil, it's only a bit of fun! :) Feb 13, 2015

.

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:08
Chinese to English
Yeah, of course Feb 13, 2015

I didn't mean to be having a go at you. You're right, there are loads of these lists around, and they are quite fun to read. But having seen a few of them now, it's starting to annoy me that the translation profession is being misrepresented. Translators don't translate *anything* literally (as in word-by-word). I don't see why a list which should be titled "here are some amusing idioms" should be thought of as a particular challenge for translators.

 


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