Determining English equivalents for words or phrases in other languages.

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12
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there an idiom that conveys the meaning of the French “mi figue mi raisin”?

The French idiom “mi figue, mi raisin” (literally: “half fig, half grape”) refers to someone or something that is neither entirely good, nor entirely bad. I guess the meaning of the expression can be ...
10
votes
8answers
615 views

English term for pre-thinker?

I was searching for an English translation for the German Vordenker. Basically a person, often a scientist, who began or further significantly developed a new concept or theory by contributing ...
3
votes
7answers
6k views

What are the different nuances of “passing with distinction” in a CV?

I am in the middle of translating my (German) CV to English. In the German/Austrian school system, there is the notion of passing ... ... "mit gutem Erfolg" (which is better than average, yet not ...
10
votes
4answers
712 views

Minimum and maximum age of “guy”

Guy has pretty much the same meaning as the German counterpart Kerl. There is the progression of age in the sequence child, teenager, adolescent, (young) fellow, guy, old man/guy (?), senior. But ...
4
votes
3answers
388 views

Translation of Soccer term: disarm

I'm looking for the translation of the soccer term that in Portuguese we use as "disarm". It is the action of taking the ball from the opponent player or when the player with the ball attempts to ...
2
votes
2answers
915 views

What is the proper name of a “line account”?

I've come across having to translate the Danish word "stregregnskab" to English. The direct translation would be "line account", but I seem to recall there being a proper name for this sort of ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

“I'm all mashed up inside.”

I'm all mashed up inside. Inside the Lost (TV series) a guy named Boone who got desperately injured imparted his physical situation to the doctor with the above sentence. The guy prefers to die, ...
1
vote
2answers
151 views

“The odor of strong rum made a greasy pass through the room.”

I found the sentence as a ldoce sample sentence for "odor". The odor of strong rum made a greasy pass through the room. "... made a greasy pass through the room". What does the writer mean? ...
2
votes
3answers
332 views

Why are names abbreviated in translations? [closed]

Often when reading English translations I will encounter names of places or people that have been abbreviated. An example is in Catherine Hutter's translation of Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Word for “distance in time”

I need the correct English word for the German expression (zeitlicher) Abstand. Abstand means "distance", and zeitlich means "in time". The "distance" between building maintenance dates is about ...
1
vote
0answers
188 views

Where can I get a model / template English text that is translated in more than 30 languages? [closed]

I'm sorry for this off-topic question, but you guys could know and help me out. I created an application for language recognition and I need a model text to test with. The more languages the better. ...
4
votes
4answers
309 views

What can I call the two possible directions on a line (as a category)?

In English, a vector is said to have two properties: a length and a direction. The possible directions correspond to half-lines out of the origin (so that, eg, up and down are different directions). ...
11
votes
4answers
558 views

Are English language books translated to contemporary English? [closed]

Were Shakespeare books translated to contemporary English? Which version is more common? Is there a rule to choose which books will have its language updated? Are poems updated too? From which year I ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “no-op” mean?

In the Remarks section of a Microsoft dbset.add page I read Remarks: Note that entities that are already in the context in some other state will have their state set to Added. Add is a no-op if ...
1
vote
3answers
429 views

Housekeeping App — does it make sense?

We are providing an app which manages your finances — like a housekeeping book. Our space is limited; therefore, we want to use the slogan "Housekeeping App". Would an English speaker know what is ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

How do you mark a translator's note?

Inside a piece of text, I have a word in another language. I'd like to keep it that way, and add a translator's note with the translation to English. What is the common practice of doing that? I'd ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

What does “lost sales” mean?

What does "lost sales" mean in the sentence below? The most important quality cost, lost sales, is often omitted from quality cost reports.
4
votes
3answers
336 views

Thanks or no thanks

I'm currently translating an article of Joel Spolsky's which is called Thanks or No thanks and I'm a bit confused about the meaning of the title. The only two possible meanings that I could guess ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “palazzo” and “palace”?

I have noticed that palazzo is used not only in Italian but in English too. So what is the difference between palazzo, and palace (in English)?
0
votes
1answer
54 views

service record translation [closed]

How do you say "El servicio militar" in English?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “persona non grata” mean? [closed]

In Gossip Girl, there’s a line like this: Spotted, Lonely Boy going from Teacher’s Pet to persona non grata in the pitter-patter of a heartbeat. What’s persona non grata?
1
vote
1answer
141 views

Can I name one client of my application “tenant” if I have multitenancy?

I'm a software developer and want to add the feature "multitenancy" (German: Man­danten­fähig­keit, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multitenancy) to my application. Each entity in my ...
10
votes
4answers
747 views

How do you tell when you're reading a poor translation?

John Ciardi, in his foreword to his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, observes that any translation is, at best, a failure. He means it is impossible to convey the depth and levels of meaning of ...
4
votes
0answers
300 views

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Is become” vs “has become” This is a famous quote from J. Robert Oppenheimer after the successful detonation of the first nuclear weapon. The ...
1
vote
3answers
142 views

“In the middle” of a time span – will “middle” work? Better ideas?

I am translating a German text into English. It contains a sentence that translates roughly to In the middle of life, you stand alone. I'm unsure about "middle" here, and can't think of a more ...
140
votes
15answers
19k views

Do most languages need more space than English?

I saw the following statement on User Experience: Supporting multiple languages can break the user interface, because most languages need more space than english This seems to be a gross ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Are there sentences in languages which use grammatical gender that lose meaning when translated into English?

English nouns which don't denote people or animals with natural gender do not (apart from a few rare examples) use grammatical gender. So for example, "table" is always an "it" in English, whereas it ...
15
votes
24answers
2k views

Favourite untranslatables [closed]

What are your favourite words and idioms in other languages that don't have good, succinct equivalents in English? (The issue of whether there is, or could be, a sentence on one language whose ...