As you may have noticed from our previous post, our passion for idioms is second to none. As translators and interpreters, we appreciate their ties to the culture that generated them and the challenges of transposing them into another language.
This is why we decided to broaden our collection of idioms with a new post. Here are 10 more great expressions from around the world!
To have one’s eyes lined with ham (Italy)
Everyone knows how much Italians love food, and this important part of their culture is playing a primary role in proverbs and idiomatic expressions. This particular idiom means to be blind to something obvious.
To pedal in the sauerkraut (France)
This expression means to go very slowly or to have trouble finishing something. Its origins date back to the early Tour de France bicycle competitions, when the athletes who couldn’t finish the stage were picked up by vans often displaying ads for sauerkraut.
To hamster (Netherlands)
As hamsters stuck up food in their cheeks, “to hamster” means to gather large quantities of food or other goods.
Everything has one end, only the sausage has two (Germany)
Another food-based and rather philosophical idiom coming from Europe. Meaning: Everything comes to an end.
Playing an instrument to a cow (China)
Animals are another recurring element in idioms and proverbs around the world. While some cows might appreciate good music, this expression means talking to an audience that does not understand.
Don’t blame your mirror for your ugly face (Russia)
This rather brutal phrase reminds us that we should not blame others for our mistakes.
When the cow performs a pilgrimage on its horns (Saudi Arabia)
The cow returns in this old Arabic expression which signifies asking something impossible to someone.
It’s like buses (United Kingdom)
Have you ever waited ages for a bus and then many arrived in quick succession? Well, like buses, long desired things might come one after another.
Idioms in Translation
Idioms rarely have a perfect correspondent in another language. This means that translators have to convey the same meaning in an appealing manner, without losing the original feel.
This task can only be performed by professionals who have a strong command of both languages and, most of all, the right cultural sensibility to identify idioms and treat them with respect. Imagine translating one of the idioms we have seen verbatim: the result would be meaningless if not comical!
At Langpros, we select only the best translators when dealing with idioms, puns, and abstract language. This is why many established companies already chose us for the translation of their marketing campaigns, website content, and social media posts. Find out more about our services on our websites or contact us today at [email protected] for a free quote!
Did we miss any funny idiom in your language? Let us know in the comments!