Determining English equivalents for words or phrases in other languages.

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130
votes
15answers
16k 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
49 views

Modern English to Early Modern English [on hold]

What will be a proper translation from modern english to Shakespearean english of this line: The Demon I have faced, is the Demon I have become.
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there an English term for “L'esprit de l'escalier”?

L'esprit de l'escalier or l'esprit d'escalier (literally, staircase wit) is a French term that describes the predicament of thinking of the perfect comeback too late. Merriam-Webster dictionary ...
15
votes
7answers
897 views

English equivalent of komorebi (木漏れ日) — “sunshine filtering through leaves”

Is there an English equivalent of komorebi (木漏れ日), which means the sunshine filtering through the leaves of a tree (or trees)? It is made up of three kanji and the hiragana particle れ. The first ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

JFK (Mis)quote Chinese: “不怕神一样的对手 就怕猪一样的队友”

I've been looking for an English equivalent of the Chinese, "不怕神一样的对手 就怕猪一样的队友," which has been, rather directly, translated as: We fear not God-like rivals, but pig-like team members and rather ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

Translation of German “Bolzplatz” – what's the name for an outdoor area whose purpose is to provide room for soccer/football?

I am particularly looking for a good translation for the German word "Bolzplatz". This is an outdoor area where people can play soccer/football (you know, this is the most favorite sports in Germany). ...
0
votes
4answers
73 views

English Translation of “Umay”

As a Filipino-Canadian, I often go to Filipino gatherings with lots of tasty Filipino food. In some cases, we eat so much food that we become full; however, in other cases, we say that we are ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

The meaning of “blue canoe” in the lyrics of “Where to Now, St. Peter” sung by Elton John

In his song Where to Now, St. Peter, Sir Elton John sings: I took myself a blue canoe, And I floated like a leaf Dazzling, dancing half enchanted In my Merlin sleep. Crazy was the ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

we are in receipt of something

what does it mean "to be in receipt of something"? I have checked the meaning but have not figured it out fully, since I am a translator I need a literal translation for me to build out a meaningful, ...
8
votes
11answers
615 views

Equivalent of sarcastic song “non ti preoccupare, l'importante è partecipare” among Italian football supporters

Is there an equivalent in English or American sports culture of the sarcastic song that originated among Italian football supporters, that they sing to the losing opposition team? It's like this: ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Some problems in understanding a word in a sentence [closed]

I am translating the following text from English to Italian and it is not very clear for me the meanig of the phrase written in bold. Can somebody help me? Thank you in advance. Twitter is an ...
3
votes
4answers
147 views

What's the noun for “off-key” or “out of tune”?

The answer isn't off-keyness, although I wish it were. I am interested in the secondary meaning of something being off-key, in the sense that it is irregular or incongruous, for example: "An off-key ...
3
votes
5answers
139 views

How does one translate 'mast' into English

The Persian word مست (romanized as 'mast') is a staple of mystic poetry. Literally, it means drunk or inebriated. More accurately, it is used to mean a state of spiritual euphoria. It has very ...
2
votes
3answers
515 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 ...
25
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

What are the technical symbols used in the margin of a page called?

I research Latin texts which discuss a peculiar medieval practice: the addition of minute graphic symbols into the margins of the page, for example in order to indicate passages of interest, flaws in ...
6
votes
3answers
366 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
15answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
239 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
4answers
180 views

Pessimism idiom - opposite of rose-tinted glasses?

In Hebrew, we say "pink glasses" to mean optimistic observation, and "black glasses" for pessimism. I was trying to figure out how popular the literal translations are in English. I found "rose-tinted ...
23
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
316 views

A case that exhibits all the possible conditions a subject can suffer from?

We have this Hungarian phrase "Állatorvosi ló", which literally translates to "Veterinarian horse". It originated in 19th century Hungarian literature, when someone created an illustration of a horse ...
29
votes
14answers
4k 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
563 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
233 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
4answers
143 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
66 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
votes
2answers
64 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: ...
1
vote
4answers
104 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
104 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.
-2
votes
1answer
79 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
87 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
64 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
76 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.
18
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
627 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
643 views

What do British and American post boxes say when they don't want any advertising?

Advertising leaflets shoved en masse into mail boxes are one of the banes of modern society. In Germany, putting a note saying "Bitte keine Werbung" ("No advertising please") on your box protects ...
0
votes
10answers
580 views

Single word for “unqualified truth”

Suppose someone (let's call him Alex) is bad at playing soccer, but he does not want to hear that. Now if someone says to Alex in his face, "you are a really bad soccer player", what would be an apt ...
1
vote
3answers
91 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
32 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
82 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
6answers
317 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
70 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
30 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

The opposite of close set (eyes)

What's the opposite of close set eyes? wide set eyes? far set eyes? :D I heard this in the TV show Grimm. I got curious what would be the opposite
2
votes
2answers
106 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
282 views

What word or phrase expresses briefly detaining a suspect on the street and then letting him/her go?

Today, a Dutch paper published a little research triggered by a politician outing the English phrase (abbreviated) "65 percent of them have been detained by the police at least once." I think, and ...
19
votes
33answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
318 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 ...