There is an idiom in our native language that translates black letters are nothing more than buffaloes to an illiterate.

Which means: "To an illiterate person letters are nothing more than black marks."

Is there any such idiom in English?


2 Answers 2


There is an expression (I believe coined by Shakespeare) that goes “It’s all Greek to me.” It means that you understand it so poorly that it may as well be a totally different language.

  • Can I also say "It's all Greek to him"?
    – user100323
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 0:21
  • "It's all Greek to me" refers to both spoken or written language, so wouldn't apply to an illiterate. "It might as well be hieroglyphics" works better.
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 5:26

No idiom but the meaning of the expression seems perfectly clear (to me). You could use it in translation, perhaps saying

As we say in my country, "letters are nothing more..."

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