At the Ted talk blog, Helene Batt and Kate Torgovnick May examine 40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally
As our Open Translation Project volunteers translate TED Talks into 105 languages, they’re often challenged to translate English idioms into their language. Which made us wonder: what are their favorite idioms in their own tongue?
The idiom: ชาติหน้าตอนบ่าย ๆ
Literal translation: “One afternoon in your next reincarnation.”
What it means: “It’s never gonna happen.”
Thai translator Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut
Other languages this idiom exists in: A phrase that means a similar thing in English: “When pigs fly.” In French, the same idea is conveyed by the phrase, “when hens have teeth (quand les poules auront des dents).” In Russian, it’s the intriguing phrase, “When a lobster whistles on top of a mountain (Когда рак на горе свистнет).” And in Dutch, it’s “When the cows are dancing on the ice (Als de koeien op het ijs dansen).”
About those tomatoes
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.
German translator Johanna Pichler
If it is hot you want, Jay A. Fernandez and Word & Film has eight movies beyond “50 Shades of Gray” for you to look at, from “Dangerous Liaisons” to “Nine 1/2 Weeks” — and some honorable mentions.
You know about that movie, of course. “The film adaptation of E.L. James’s mega-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey is out and hearts and other delicate organs are all aflutter at the prospect of Jamie Dornan’s billionaire control-freak Mr. Grey finally introducing Dakota Johnson’s naïve college grad Anastasia Steele to the exquisite joys (and pains) of BDSM on the big screen…if you find yourself hungry for more book-based, big-screen eroticism, here’s our ranking of some of the steamier options on offer (on a scale of one to five shades). Curious?”
Girls read more than boys, a Flavorwire article notes, but the classic, canonical growing-up books tend to represent the male experience. Emily Temple asks, where are the books for girls to grow up on?
I wondered the same thing myself at the start of the Harry Potter tidal wave and set out to something about that with my Worldweavers YA series. Its central figure, Thea Winthrup, was The Girl Who Couldn’t who became over the four books, The Woman Who Saved The World. Quite a role model.
Temple offers 50 other “Essential Books about the female experience.”
Speaking of Worldweavers, the fourth and final book in the series, Dawn of Magic, is now out and I am sponsoring a giveaway at Goodreads.
Go to the site and enter your name for a chance to win a copy of the book in which Thea, Nikola Tesla and Corey the Trickster rescue mankind’s stolen Core of Magic..
50 Books Guaranteed to Make You More Interesting
At Flavorwire, Emily Temple offers a list of books that will make you smarter, funnier, deeper, and yes, more interesting — at least to some people.
Take, for example:
The Gilda Stories, Jewelle Gomez: OK: this is a feminist lesbian vampire novel, a coming-of-age story starring an undead escaped slave that spans some 200 years as the title character works her way from Louisiana in 1850 to New Hampshire in 2020. It’s bound to teach anybody something new.
And one more:
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie: Not only one of the best, funniest, and smartest books about the Native American experience in America, but also one of the best, funniest, and smartest books. Alexie’s interwoven shorts will improve you in almost every way.
Sounds of Silence
Silence has become an endangered species. Gordon Hempton writes at Daily Good, and that is bad for us and the planet.
“Our cities, our suburbs, our farm communities, even our most expansive and remote national parks are not free from human noise intrusions. Nor is there relief even at the North Pole; continent-hopping jets see to that.”
“Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything. It lives here, profoundly, at One Square Inch in the Hoh Rain Forest, part of Olympic National Park — arguably the quietest place in the United States. It is the presence of time, undisturbed. It can be felt within the chest. Silence nurtures our nature, our human nature, and lets us know who we are…To experience the soul-swelling wonder of silence, you must hear it.”
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