Foreign idioms with informal translations


(henki000) #1

In Finland we have this saying: That dog yelps, where billet clanks.
(Se koira älähtää, missä kalikka kalahtaa)

Feel free to share your proverb or motto.


(Wintergreen) #2

Hmm. Can’t think of too many phrases Americans use that other English speaking countries don’t, but I’ll go ahead and list some common terms a lot of folks use down South. Most of these will be pretty familiar to other Americans even if they’re not from the South.

Y’all = you all.
Fixin’ to = you want to do something.
Buggy = shopping cart.
Coke = any soda. A Pepsi is a coke, a Sprite is a coke, a Mountain Dew is a coke, etc. A waitress will ask you what you’d like to drink and you’ll say coke. She’ll ask you what kind and then you’ll say Dr. Pepper or whatever.
Yonder = any direction. ‘Over yonder’. I mostly only hear older generations using this one still.
Bless your heart = bless your heart. Gonna have a rough time figuring this one out if a lady at a grocery store tells you this and you aren’t from around here.

How about some universal American terms for being drunk?

Tore up, hammered, trashed, wasted, gone, smashed. ‘Prayin’ to the porcelain god’ means you’re throwing up in a toilet from drinking too much.

K, I’m drawing blanks here trying to think of some other ones. Sh1t-hot means something good or skilled. 12-year-old girls and dudes who still live in their parent’s basement smoking pot all day will use terms like lit and bruh. I’ll add more later if I can think of some.


(GatoCommodore) #3

indonesian:

when the sweetness has been drained, the carcass gets discarded.
(Habis Manis Sepah Dibuang)

its meaning is when something has outlived its usefulness, it gets discarded.

Mandarin(?):

Trial often exhibits truly wonderful results.
(讀萬卷書不如行萬裡路)

english equivalent of Theres nothing like trying


(henki000) #4

Good idea to add description. My first proverb is almost impossible to translate and dont know if there is equivelant. You can use it in any situation where person do something, because you did something. It usually is something ordinary.

Here is another one:
If spirits, tar and sauna doesn’t help, thus you have to dig a grave.
(Jos ei viina, terva ja sauna auta, niin sitten kaivetaan hauta.)

It’s comfort to someone if nothing works.


(AlbinMatt) #5

More sons, more salary
More daughters, more dowry.


(bgyoshi) #6

Ukrainian:

No yes
Ні так (nee tah-k)

It’s like saying “Yes and no” when answering a question that does not have a straight answer.
////////////////////////
For one beaten you get two non-beaten, but they don’t take.
За битого двох небитих дають, та й то не беруть (Za bytoho dvoh nebytyh dah-yoot, tah-y-toh neh behr-oot)

Basically, karma is a bitch. If you do something bad, the bad stuff comes back to you but worse.
////////////////////////
You can’t fool an old sparrow with polova.
Старого горобця на полові не обдуриш (Staroho horobtsya na polovi neh obdoorysh)

Polova is chaff, husks of seeds and grains separated by threshing. It’s saying that you can’t fool an experienced person with a cheap knockoff. An old sparrow would know the difference between seeds and chaff.


(Ptiloui) #7

French :
Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison -> Chirstmas on the balcony, Easter by the fireplace.
It means that if the weather is particularly hot during Christmas, then it will be cold during Easter

Il pleut comme vache qui pisse -> It’s raining like a cow is peeing.
In english, i know you’re saying “it’s raining cats and dogs”.


(Chilled Sanity) #8

@Wintergreen said:

Coke = any soda. A Pepsi is a coke, a Sprite is a coke, a Mountain Dew is a coke, etc.

Hmm.

Well fuck me to the beat of a song, my coke dealer is apparently scamming me,

All I got was some sweet ass white powder goodness


(TheStrangerous) #9

Królik Doświadczalny = Literally Experimental Rabbit = Guinea Pig
So technically “Guinea Pig” should be translated to “Świnka Morska”
But then again, if we wanna go deeper, then “Świnka Morska” should even more literally be translated to “Sea Pig”.


(K1X455) #10

Don’t know if it’s relevant, but from Sun Tzu:

Power draws the bow; timing releases the arrow.


(Reddeadcap) #11

In the country that I live in, the catch all term for a product tends to be the name of a specific brand name

Cloro = Clorox = Bleach

Chiqle = chicklets = Gum

and so on and so forth, I doubt I could mark everything down, without taking an entire page, another weird one is Oranges, other spanish speaking countries say Naranjas while Puerto Rico they say China, which comes from “Naranja, China Mandarina”, literally meaning “Orange from Mandarin China”.

Machete is also a weird one, it’s a hybrid of Macho and ete meaning mace/mallet… so the literal translation for a large knife/cleaver, small sword is “male mace”


(bgyoshi) #12

@Reddeadcap said:
and so on and so forth, I doubt I could mark everything down, without taking an entire page, another weird one is Oranges, other spanish speaking countries say Naranjas while Puerto Rico they say China, which comes from “Naranja, China Mandarina”, literally meaning “Orange from Mandarin China”.

Can confirm. My roomie and his parents are from PR and they’ve mentioned that they called oranges China (chee-na), and all of them think it’s stupid.