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Metaglossia: The Translation World
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Literal translations of idioms - don't try to figure it out

Literal translations of idioms - don't try to figure it out | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it
There are no two ways about idioms: either tak’m or leav’em, but do not try to change or figure them out, in any language.

attended the universities of Duquesne and Pittsburgh, PA. He holds a Ph.D. from the Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain. He has compiled ten bilingual dictionaries, a four-volume English grammar for speakers of Spanish; a total of 34 published titles.

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Literal translations of idioms – don’t try to figure it out
Posted on September 21, 2012By D. Carbonell BassetEducation
Language is not logical, and does not have to be: it is an art, not a science. An idiom, for example, is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements.

If we hear that someone has kicked the bucket we know he has died, and we never stop to think about kicking or buckets. We hear the words together, the idiomatic expression, and we react to them with a meaning that has nothing to do with its constituent elements, bucket, kick.

Language is not logical, and does not have to be: it is an art, not a science. An idiom, for example, is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements. (Shutterstock)
We are mostly oblivious to the literal meaning of idioms and we do not consider dogs and cats in it’s raining cats and dogs, but rather the fact that it is pouring, raining very hard.

However, this is not the case when we study a foreign language, or when we compare two languages. Different languages have different idioms, which mostly escape us when translating literally.

Read more: http://www.voxxi.com/literal-translations-idioms/#ixzz27s0AG800

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Business Line : Features / New Manager : Intercultural competence includes using idioms aptly

Business Line : Features / New Manager : Intercultural competence includes using idioms aptly | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

Getting it right can not only narrow the cultural divide, but actually help you to fit right in with your foreign associates

The other day I said to one of our lead trainers in cross-culture, “Neil, why don’t you come over tomorrow and we can shoot the breeze on some of the thoughts we had on the project.” He replied, “Sure, let’s chew the fat.”

These Americanisms leave me chuckling, but I also realise that as new managers, we are likely to come across idiomatic usage from so many different countries that we’re likely to be all at sea (read confused).

Idioms are used by all cultures. People of each background take these usages for granted, assume they’re universally understood, and often feel a mere literal translation will be enough to convey the same meaning to people of other backgrounds. But that’s not really so. Often, we end up getting the wrong end of the stick (which, of course, means misunderstanding what was meant) when our expat colleagues use idiomatic speech.

Piece of cake?

I’ve found myself in such a situation quite often. And often, I’ve had others telling me stories of how they’ve either misunderstood or been misunderstood. I’ve put together some of the common phrases in British and American English, as well as some popular usages from other countries, to give you a taste of how being on the same page isn’t a piece of cake! (Translate as: it isn’t easy for multiple people to understand the discussion the same way).

Let’s start with the things I misunderstood initially. Getting down to the wire — when my American client said this about his project, I thought it was something to do with having a slim chance and made suitable sympathetic noises, but it turned out to mean getting close to the deadline.

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