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What words/phrases in your language have funny, beautiful or weird direct translations into English?
What expression from your language would English speakers find really funny if translated word for word?
Ah, you remind me of the Golden Treasury of Greek-English expressions: we have not seen him yet, and we have removed him John
I posted an analyses of a few of these on my Greek linguistics blog in 2010: Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος
- Don’t you defecate us you and your cricket: Δεν μας χέζεις εσύ και ο γρύλος σου! = I rebuff your expression of concern. (Actually: Take your car jack and shove it, alluding to an old joke.)
- We have not seen him yet, and we have removed him John: ακόμα δεν τον είδαμε, Γιάννη τον εβγάλαμε. = We rushed to a conclusion. (Actually: We haven’t even seen the baby yet, and we’ve already come up with the name John for it; ‘remove’ = ‘take out, publish’.)
- Eye-removal beats name-removal: Κάλλιο να σου βγει το μάτι παρά το όνομα. = Better your eye be poked out than your reputation.
- Will I extract the snake from the hole; Εγώ θα βγάλω το φίδι από την τρύπα; = It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it.
- He doesn’t understand Christ: Δεν καταλαβαίνει Χριστό = He does not understand common sense (Actually: “He doesn’t understand any Christ” = “Christianity” = “what is self evident in our culture”)
- He saw G.I. Christ: Είδε τον Χριστό φαντάρο = He is so terrified, he is hallucinating.
- He cannot crucify girlfriend: Δεν μπορεί να σταυρώσει γκόμενα = He can never get a girlfriend (Actually, “make the sign of the cross over, as a blessing” = “thank his lucky stars that he finally got one”)
There are funnier ones, those are just the ones I’ve published analyses of…