An expression or a proverb in any language is like looking through a window into a country’s culture. In fact, these wise words or proverbs contain life lessons that shape and perpetuate certain behaviors in each country. On occasion, professional translation services are required for idioms, proverbs, or fixed expressions. This can be a daunting task for an international translator, especially an interpreter for meetings, who are tasked with producing an equivalent on the spot. Essentially, these expressions mean more than the sum of their words and direct translations tend to be bizarre or distort the meaning. Specifically, when comparing idioms across languages, a professional translator faces a unique task. Considering these phrases are riddled with unusual references and comparisons, professional translating is required to avoid strange interpretations. Similarly, for an interpreter for business it is important to understand both languages inside and out to accurately transfer the meaning of the expression into the target language immediately.
Overall, professional translating is a delicate balance between understanding the message and developing a wealth of knowledge in the target language, so you can generate an elegant, succinct rendition of the meaning. Below, is a list of examples along with their direct translations and meaning from various countries:
Hindi: “Kaise kaise aise vaise ho ga.e, aise vaise kaise kaise ho ga.e ” (How how became this that, this that became how how)
The fundamental meaning is to illustrate how ordinary people become the extraordinary and the extraordinary become ordinary. Specifically, after the wealthy fled during the India-Pakistan partition and wealthy land owners left all their property to their servants.
Estonian: “Igal oinal oma mihklipaev” (Every ram has his St. Michael’s Day)
The proverb means that everything good will come to an end at one point. St. Michael’s Day marked the end of summer and traditionally a sheep or ram was killed and eaten on that day.
Azerbaijan: “Qani qaralmaq” (Blood turning black)
It is an expression used to show that one is feeling upset or disappointed.
Albania: “Edhe ndergjegjja e tepert te ben frikacak.” (Too much consciousness makes people cowards)
In this sense, it can be compared to the English saying “ignorance is bliss” meaning too much awareness is a burden, since there is no escape from knowledge.
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