• Danielle Sanchez

Lost (and Found) in Translation 3 - english


When we moved “de mala e cuia” (left, and never came back, unlike Elsa) to the United States, I felt that in the communication part “o bicho pegou” (business got serious). You think you are almost the “bam-bam-bam” (crème de la crème) in English (or any other foreign language), you think you “pode se virar nos trinta” (you can just wing it), but end up “fazendo das tripas coração” (struggle the most we can and can’t to get it) and “morrendo na praia” (is cut short, can’t manage to do it by own failure). And “fica chorando a cântaros” (whine and wail) because “ficou boiando” (didn’t get anything) and “viajando na maionese” (imagined things that didn’t get said), and “o bonde passou” (“e voce nem estava na janelinha!”) (you missed the point of the conversation, completely) and, “como camarão que dorme a onde leva” (if you snooze, you lose), “pimba” (wham!), “tomou nos cornos” (you got yourself into trouble, or missed something important)! “Ninguém merece” (It’s not something you’d want)! Idioms are a very iffy area of any language, because it weaves in culture and history in a few words. Whoever arrives into a strange land (like me), and hears such metaphorical expressions that describe something in a way that only if you research about the subject, or you are born and raised hearing such thing constantly, it loses its meaning, and you can’t understand for a while what is spoken, written, communicated. I felt like Gurgle Translate in the comic strip from Mox’s blog, or, at least, people laughed from me (and I did from them as well) the same way:


However, idioms are “cultural patrimonies of the people from a certain region” indeed. And whoever arrives, newcomer, to this region, has to get used to, and “dive in” to them, to understand what the local population really means with that expression. And, even if every new day, new expressions are created or adapted (many times from other languages), to use them is a way to pay homage to the culture and history of this population, and to the language that encompasses them. Surfing in the web, my daughter Sofia found the EAT RIO blog, which I loved so much, and read several pages from it, and chose this one to share, which is exactly about what I’m talking about:

Portuguese Idioms: Armless John and the fat chicken nextdoor

The type of reaction that Tom had when faced with some of the Brazilian idiom was very, very akin to mine (why in the heavens the last straw is what brings all down? But straw is so light!). Have fun: he writes very well, and is very funny, I really liked it. I say goodbye to you with a hug, until the next newsletter.

#freelance #culture #culturalbarriers #idioms #english

3 views

© 2011-2020 by Dani's Translations