Translation can be very fun, and funny, work. There’s something very satisfying in finding just the exact combination of words which will unlock that bit of knowledge. Unfortunately one of the most difficult things to translate are idioms, since you have to find the equivalent figurative combination of words in a different language and culture. But once you find them, you can be sure that the laughs will make it worth your while.
Luckily at bab.la we have people from many different places of the world in the same office!
So here go a few of our favourite idioms:
1. English: To be cool as a cucumber
Portuguese: Ficar de boa na lagoa (to be cool in the lagoon)
Spanish: Fresco como una lechuga (to be cool as a lettuce)
German: die Ruhe selbst sein (to be tranquility itself)
Finnish: Olla rauhallinen kuin viilipytty (to be cool as a sour milk churn)
Swedish: vara lugn som en filbunke (to be calm as a bowl of sour milk)
2. English: It’s raining cats and dogs
Portuguese: Está chovendo canivete (it is raining pocket knives)
French: il pleut comme vache qui pisse (it’s raining like a peeing cow)
German: Es gießt in Strömen (its pouring in streams)
Finnish: Sataa kaatamalla (to rain so much that one falls)
Swedish: Det regnar småspik (It’s raining small nails)
3. English: Life is hard
Portuguese: Não tá fácil para ninguém (it is not easy for anybody)
Spanish: la vida es dura (life is hard)
German: Leben ist kein Ponnyhof (life is not a pony farm)
Finnish: Elämä ei ole helppoa (lit. the life isn’t easy)
Swedish: Livet är hårt (life is hard)
4. English: Forget it!
Portuguese: Pode tirar o tirar o cavalinho da chuva! (you can go ahead and take the small horse out of the rain)
Spanish: ¡Ni de coña! (not even kidding!)
German: Vergiss es! (forget it)
Swedish: Inte en chans! (Not a chance!)
5. English: I’ve got 99 problems, but that’s not one of them.
Portuguese: POP: Problema de outra pessoa (somebody else’s problem)
German: Das ist nicht mein Bier (that is not my beer)
Polish: Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy (Not my circus, not my monkeys)
Go ahead and post your favourite idioms in the comments below and we will add them to our series!