Determining English equivalents for words or phrases in other languages (that is, translation into English)

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23
votes
10answers
3k views

Idiom for “the first attempt (of something) is never right”

In Russian there's a saying that 'the first crepe always comes out wrong' (literally 'stuck together into a ball'), meaning that you'll have to try more than once to succeed at something - because ...
5
votes
3answers
633 views

What is the geographical origin of the idiom “be a fly on the wall”?

Does the following expression originate from English? I'd like to be a fly on the wall I discovered today that a similar expression exists in Brazilian Portuguese: "I'd like to be a fly" (with ...
29
votes
14answers
5k views

Is there a verb for remaining silent?

Dutch has the verb zwijgen, which means remaining silent. Ik zwijg means I remain silent or I say nothing. It is also often used as an imperative, similar to shut up. I have been discussing this ...
3
votes
4answers
440 views

Is there an English word for “fargin”?

I have heard many people claim that Yiddish is a much richer language than English, and follow up with an attempt to prove their point by pulling out a Yiddish word they claim has no English analogue. ...
2
votes
3answers
571 views

Should I use “is” or “are”? [closed]

I am supposed to make a translation for a session to be submitted, but I'm stumbled upon this. We say "content is fed from a centralised location", right? How about "hundreds of websites' content"? Is ...
0
votes
2answers
218 views

What's the conventional style for writing a conversation taking place in another language?

I'm writing a story and I'm having a bit of trouble with styling conversations that take place in another language. I want the reader to be privy to this conversation, so it has to be communicated in ...
1
vote
4answers
289 views

How to translate “to eat their own face off”?

I'm trying to translate an interview with Scottish musician (from Mogwai) Barry Burns and I stumbled upon one sentence which I can't understand. If Rave Tapes, comes from reminiscing of 90’s dance ...
-2
votes
1answer
785 views

How to say: I only speak spanish [closed]

Are these sentences correct? I only speak spanish. I speak spanish alone. I just speak spanish. Are there other ways to say the same thing?
2
votes
3answers
174 views

Can you say “which goes in a downward direction” in English?

The inventory check conducted by a private contractor (name-of-the contract) has revealed a 20 percent discrepancy which goes in a downward direction. The warehouse ledger shows the total inventory ...
0
votes
1answer
197 views

How to use translator websites? [closed]

When I recently checked out the Google Translate website, where I translated some text from English into Tamil, I found that it translates individual words literally but does not translate sentences ...
29
votes
15answers
6k views

A word for a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh

There is a word for this in Indonesian language: jayus. (Maybe, it is used in Filipino and Malaysian language also.) It is a joke that is so bad, it's funny. It is often mentioned as ...
1
vote
4answers
286 views

Word for ability to understand, analyse and judge things

Is there one specific word in English to describe one's ability to understand, analyse and judge things? I'm trying to find an equivalence for 悟性 in English. Thanks.
1
vote
3answers
167 views

How do you say “question de cours” in English?

In French, une question de cours, is a question in a test for which you just need to know the content of your course. It is an easy question (usually) which does not require any reflection.
3
votes
3answers
676 views

Word for children that have a babysitter or au pair

In Dutch a babysitter is called an "oppas". This gave rise to the word "oppaskinderen" which translates literally to "babysitter children". As far as I could research, there is no single English word ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Why are the same words translated differently into English depending on their meaning?

I've seen it several times before, but only have one example at hand right now. This Forbes article mentions Russia as country's name, but Rossiya as the bank's name, despite that these words are ...
1
vote
3answers
343 views

Meaning of “holloway”

Does it mean just "hollowed underground way" or there is something else? Word is taken from fantasy text.
-1
votes
1answer
54 views

Meaning of goat-footed nature gods play in the fields and woods

There,shepherds play their pipes and sigh with longing for flirtatious nymphs and goat-footed nature gods play in the fields and woods. How can I understand this sentence? And does "play pipes" mean ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Need a word to represent the opposite of busy

Today I came across the Japanese word which conveys the meaning of having a lot of free time, and is the opposite of busy. The closest word which I can think of is idle, but that word seems to mean ...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

Tasks for tutorial class sessions, not at home

Writing worksheets for students at university, I'd like to distinguish tasks intended to be solved in tutorial classes from tasks intended as homework. What would be the appropriate term to refer to ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Translating a sentense from Swahili to English [duplicate]

So there's this sentence that people have been sharing on facebook that's in Swahili and requires a direct word to word translation to English. Superficially it seems like an easy translation but once ...
2
votes
2answers
186 views

What's the English equivalent to the German “Manufaktur”?

I'm looking for the English equivalent to the German word Manufaktur. Basically, a Manufaktur is just a factory, but in German it is assigned with "premium" and "hand-made". The term comes up as a ...
6
votes
6answers
385 views

What is the proper English term for polycopié (de cours)?

In French, several universities use polycopiés instead of course books for teaching. The term polycopié can be translated as handout. Is it correct to use it in this case, in which a polycopié ...
-1
votes
3answers
83 views

Does the “defense sickle” exist in english football/soccer language?

In German football vocabulary, there exists a so called Abwehrsichel during defensive play. The meaning can best be seen at this youtube video at the 09 second mark: ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Looking for a way to say that no buses or trams are arriving

I am creating an app for Android in my locale language (French) and in English. It will display when the next buses or trams will be coming in real time. I would like to know if this sentence is ...
1
vote
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between translation and transliteration

It's always intrigued me what the difference is between these two terms. I can guess that translation is a contextual translation whereby the original foreign text is maintained with any language ...
19
votes
33answers
5k views

What's the English equivalent of “Drilling one's head”?

In Arabic (Specifically, north-western Levantine), there's a saying that goes like He drilled my head about/with that lunch meeting (بخشلي راسي باجتماع الغدا) Which means something along the ...
1
vote
3answers
203 views

What does “in charge look” in this sentence mean?

A guy sent me this: I love your in charge look lol guys should bow to you. I really don't get what he means especially that "in charge look " part, as English isn't my native language. Thanks in ...
4
votes
2answers
398 views

Translating Gerunds from Spanish to English (verb+ing)

In Spanish, the gerund form (-ando, -endo) is frequently used adverbially to modify and describe the verb: El alma es dichosa dando y sirviendo. El niño anda bailando. El artista vive provocando ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

What is the translation for French expression “fiche produit”

In production sector we talk about "fiche produit" to designate the document defining a product. I would like to know what the English translation for that is.
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Why do people use the word “or” when offering a translation?

I have encountered many times speakers & authors who use the word "or" in the process of translating. Here is an example I ran across tonight: Could you keep a different kind of fast such as a ...
2
votes
0answers
101 views

What does “electrical typical” mean? [closed]

I stumbled upon the following text: Motor starting circuits In the table above is mentioned which electrical typical has to be used for the motor starting circuits. The attached electrical ...
0
votes
4answers
491 views

In English can you say something like: To feel addressed?

I am puzzling how to translate an expression in Dutch to English. There is a way of saying something in German and Dutch that is literally translated to: Do you feel (as) spoken to? For example you ...
2
votes
2answers
953 views

Why does the word 'peasant' have such a negative meaning in English?

In French the word *paysan (fem. paysanne) translates to English as 'farmer', as well as 'peasant'. (Collins). It is by no means demeaning in many European countries (including France) to refer to ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Translating irresponsibility

"I had forgotten" can be translated in two different ways in both Spanish and French. One could say: "J’avais oublié" "Había olvidado" Or — and this is the point I am getting at — you could use a ...
26
votes
18answers
5k views

Term describing the practice of anticipating dangers while driving

When one is driving a car (or any other vehicle for that matter) there is a German term that describes the practice trying to predict situations that might occur. When attempting to translate it I can ...
13
votes
19answers
8k views

Single word for a very small amount of time [closed]

In French, if I want to quantify a very small amount of time (but not fixed: it can be 5 ms or 0.1 ms) I can use a pouième. Is there an equivalent in English? I'm not looking for an expression but ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views

Are there any rules I can follow to make my own derived adjectives from a noun in English? E.g. xenogamy to xenogamic

I'm currently looking through dictionaries (both online and "offline") for an adjective of the word xenogamy. Basically I want to translate the Dutch phrase "De kruibestuivende onderneming". What I ...
3
votes
1answer
275 views

What is the English equivalent of the Russian saying “my ears are curling into tubes”?

Background: Russians use this saying to describe extreme heat conditions in "Banya" when it is becoming almost unbearable. Russian Мои уши в трубочку сворачиваются? English literal translation My ...
0
votes
2answers
321 views

Is there a word for false false friends?

How would you call a translation which resembles a false friend, but is acutally correct? A false friend resembling translation here is one where the target-language word or phrase: is not ...
1
vote
1answer
175 views

“Account currency” translation [closed]

I'm not a native English speaker and I'd like to translate the following sentence: "Here you can see your Account Terms including the freight and payment terms, minimum order value, and account ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What do you call the green slippery thing formed, due to standing in water?

I can only think of "algae" or preferably "green algae", these are in the context of science. But is there any other general word in English used for this green slippery thing? In Hindi we say, ...
2
votes
1answer
247 views

Are sentences starting with “that” (conjunction) standard English

In Dutch one could say things such as Dat hij dat durft! That he that dares! (An exclamation of astonishment) Which would be roughly translated as: that he dares to do that. Is that initial that ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Need a quick translation [closed]

What is the meaning of this sentence: What is the Need you are going after? **Edit** here is the context 1) PowerPoint presentation Intro (4 – 5 slides) a) What is the Need ...
0
votes
1answer
500 views

I find that this monologue is very hard to understand [closed]

This is monologue from Caddyshack movie, which's become pretty famous internet mem. And some points of his speech are hard for understanding for me. So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way ...
19
votes
2answers
751 views

When did we stop translating proper names?

It used to be that one would just translate a proper name that was in another language into English when referring to that entity. For example, William the Conqueror, Christopher Columbus, King ...
0
votes
1answer
258 views

How to use 'persevere'?

I need to translate a sentence and I cannot figure out a good way to do so. Can I use the word 'persevere' like this, or are there better ways? Vincas consistently deepens his knowledge, he is not ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Can you begin a sentence with an emotion?

Is it incorrect to begin a sentence with an emotion? For example: "Afraid and alone, he no longer wished to continue on." I'm translating some work from a foreign language into English, but I ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Can I use the term “project platform”?

I'm currently creating a web application for specialized projects. They can be added, edited, graded, published in a database etc. We were looking for a name for this app and thought that "Project ...
3
votes
6answers
559 views

Is there a better term than “technology”?

I already started quite a fruitful discussion about the term methodology over here, but today's topic is the term technology. Whenever words end in -logy, my brain links them to the field of ...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

What does “enrollment” mean here? [closed]

I have a sentence to translate: The school shall notify parents in writing at the beginning of each school year, and upon any enrollment during the school year, of the obligation to ensure all ...