With the 2018 Man Booker International prize winner to be announced on 22 May , nominated translators share their favourite sayings that dont easily translate to English. Can you decipher the correct meanings?
The South Korean telling “cingcanbadeun goraedo cumcunda” translates as” even a whale will dance if you compliment it “. What does it mean?
No one is immune to flattery.
It’s hard to resist a good dancing session.
Whales are complete narcissists. A Spanish saying used in Argentina, “Querer la chancha, los veinte y la maquina de hacer chorizos”, translates as” to want the sow, the 20 and the sausage-making machine”. Which means?
To be a remarkably indulgent carnivore.
To want to have your cake and eat it too.
Someone who believes in the benefits of economic interventionism. The French dialect “mettre la clef sous la porte” translates literally as” set the key under the door”- what does the dialect mean?
To discontinue doing something early because it doesn’t seem like it is going well.
To close a business or stop performing an activity.
A sleazy approach by an older man. In German,” Du gehst mir auf den Keks” means:” You’re getting on my biscuits.” What’s the English equivalent?
You’re getting on my nerves.
You’re a brazen snack snatcher and I dislike you. In French,” Avoir le cafard” literally translates as” have the cockroach “. What does it genuinely mean?
To be down in the dumps, or to have the blues.
To be saddled with a burden that is likely to never go forth.
To have a desperate need to dance each time one hears La Cucaracha. In South Korea, “baeggobi bbajyeora usda” translates literally as” to laugh until your navel falls out “. What does this signify?
To divide your sides chuckling.
To be punished for laughing at something cruel.
To get fit with hilarious antics. There is an Austrian telling- “Reden wie einem der Schnabel gewachsen ist”- that translates from German literally as” to speak the way one’s nose grew”. What’s the idiomatic meaning?
To talk straight, to be someone who doesn’t mince words.
To speak in the language of your “countries “.
To wet one’s nose. The Spanish phrase” entre culo y calzon” translates literally as” between arse and boxer shorts “. What does the idiom entail?
To be trapped in a tricky spot.
To feel a liberating sense of liberty.
To be thick as thieves, or bosom buddies.” An den Haaren herbeigezogen” translates literally as” dragged in by the hair”. What does it entail?
To be dragged kicking and screaming.
Like something the cat dragged in. In Spanish,” Poner la mano en el fuego” translates literally as” to put one’s hand in the flame “. What does it mean?
To do something very stupid.
To attempt a task that is dangerous, but maybe lucrative.
To risk one’s reputation for someone or something.