Questions tagged [translation]

This tag is for question about determining English equivalents for words or phrases in other languages.

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34
votes
14answers
9k views

Is there an English equivalent for the Italian saying “It's another pair of sleeves”?

In a meeting an Italian told a puzzled English audience: "It's another pair of sleeves". It's an Italian way of saying: "it's another thing", or "this new argument is something different or off topic"...
29
votes
9answers
16k views

Is “She is under the shower” a proper English sentence?

There is currently a debate on Duolingo about the proper translation of a sentence to English (the original language isn't the point of this question). The sentence, literally translates to "She is ...
22
votes
8answers
13k views

English equivalent of “garam” (warming) food?

I want to know how we say in English when we want to say that almonds or other dry fruits are "hot" for our body. I am an Indian, and in India, we use the word garam which literally means hot in ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

English equivalent to the german “zig”

The German language has the term zig as a kind of affix to signal a following quantity as a unknown multiple of 10. Just like dutzend (dozen) signals an unknown multiple of 12. For example: ...
14
votes
9answers
7k views

An appropriate term for an overly by-the-rules person

In Swedish, we've got a term that loosely translates as paragraph jockey. It refers to a person, often a clerk or a referee, who is following all the rules, prescriptions and agreements ad absurdum. ...
14
votes
1answer
148k views

How to write “just so you know” politely in formal letters?

In my first language (Thai), a typical formal letter usually has quite a similar format to English letters, with one exception... Between the last paragraph of the body of the letter and that "Yours ...
14
votes
4answers
11k views

English equivalent of French “quiproquo”

In English, quid pro quo refers to a barter-style exchange. I'll do this for you and you'll do something for me. There is this quote from the movie The Silence of the Lambs(1991) where Dr Lecter says: ...
14
votes
2answers
969 views

Saying for distracting someone with other activity?

There's a Polish saying jak pies je to nie szczeka, which (literally translated) means "when dog is eating, it is not barking." What is the English saying with the same meaning, used to mean that if ...
13
votes
7answers
5k views

How do you say “enchufado” in English?

"Enchufado" or "enchufe" is a colloquial way of saying that a person got a job because a friend or relative gave it to him, instead of earning it themselves. I thought about the word "appointed" but ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

English equivalent for French “Moi oui”?

In French, there are some situations where we say "Moi non" or "Moi oui" (that could be literally translated as "Me no" or "Me yes"). You can use it when somebody told you something and for you, it is ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a proverb that means “to solve two problems at once”?

In my language, we have a proverb that means "to solve two problems with only one solution". It would be literally translated as: I've killed two bunnies with only one hit How would this be said ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Which one do you call “pepper”, pimienta o pimiento?

So I always thought pepper was the english equivalent of the spanish word pimienta But now I look the translation for pimiento and it also returns pepper (Google Translator) Do you call both ...
11
votes
3answers
165 views

Why has Marx's “Das Kapital” been translated to “Capital” in English and not “The Capital”

Why has Marx's "Das Kapital" been translated to "Capital" and not to "The Capital"? Actually, the article "Das" in German points out that it is not any capital, but the capital as the process of the ...
11
votes
6answers
339 views

A meeting of an administrative body far from its usual meeting place (headquarters etc.)

Native Russian translators have trouble translating one stock phrase which means "a meeting of an administrative body (Parliament, State Council, etc.) conducted not at the body's usual location". ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a figure of speech for “illlness which passes without a special treatment”?

In German we have a figure of speech: "Das geht von selbst vorbei", which normally means that an illness will pass without the need to treat it with medicaments or something special at all. Is there a ...
10
votes
6answers
8k views

Words to say about someone being almost the same age as you are

Seeking the alternatives to saying about someone that he is almost the same age as I am, I came across the words agemate and batchmate. In the Russian language, there are several one-word terms to ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the saying “speaking English like a Spanish cow” exist in English?

In French we have an expression which is: Parler (une langue, l'anglais par exemple) comme une vache espagnole which literally translates to: Speaking (a language, like English) like a Spanish ...
9
votes
2answers
803 views

Can exams in university be called “session”? (Similarly to Russian “сессия”)

In Russian, the period of time when students need to pass the exams after a semester are called "sessiya"(сессия), "session". Can the same word "session" be used in English or is it just wrong?
9
votes
8answers
300 views

Word for “gradually removing the vacuum”

I'm translating a description of a lyophilization procedure. One of the sentences goes like this, in my translation: After keeping the samples in the vacuum for 24 hours, we gradually relieved the ...
9
votes
3answers
688 views

What is a not-cut-in/printed index called?

There are thumb indexes, also called a cut-in indexes (see also the images at Daumenregister). In contrast to this, there are also not-cut-in-indexes (that is, they are only printed, and leave a mark ...
8
votes
10answers
2k views

English equivalent for French “manquer de réussite” in a soccer game

In French, when a soccer team plays pretty well but doesn't manage to score, we say they "manque de réussite". Is there any English expression that conveys a similar meaning? (I feel that "lack of ...
8
votes
1answer
334 views

Using “it” as dummy pronoun

When I translate an Italian sentence, I often use the "dummy it" to keep the same structure of the Italian sentence. For example, translating è stato difficile trovare il colpevole, I would say "it ...
7
votes
2answers
391 views

They love their f***ing family

I am trying to translate Osamu Dazai's essay 如是我聞(Thus I heard from the Buddha) into English. The original text belongs to the public domain: http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000035/files/1084_15078....
7
votes
1answer
151 views

Best English equivalent for the French word “parcelle”: plot or parcel?

I am working on a project where I have to define some spaces we define in French as parcelles, which are in my case part of lands used for a specific usage, such as plantations. After looking for a ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

English equivalent for French “la rentrée"?

In French we use “la rentrée" to mean the return to work after the slack period of the summer break in France. It is used by students, workers and pretty much anyone else. Is there any English ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Is there an English equivalent to this Japanese proverb?

My boss asked me if his translation of a Japanese proverb was accurate the other day. Unfortunately, I don't have the Japanese written down with me, but I can describe it. His translation was "better ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

English translation of Spanish imperfect tenses

I'm confused because my first language (Spanish) has imperfect and perfect tenses that don't exist in English. How do you know which English tense to use? Here's an example taken from the first ...
6
votes
1answer
919 views

an English proverb meaning “the good suffer with the bad”

In my native language, when we want to describe a situation in which a group of people suffer a special consequence regardless of how they performed or whether they deserve that or not, we say "(When ...
6
votes
1answer
310 views

A spoken English equivalent of 'someone who has glass-dust'

In my native language we have the expression having glass-dust by which in spoken language we describe a person who's generally good but sometimes gets dishonest to take advantage of a situation or ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Phrase for describing a cable without a connector at the end

I've been translating a truck scale description in a business offer letter, and the specification table there, listing the five parts comprising the prospective order, says on line five: Cable for ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

How to translate the word “college” from Italian to English

I am Italian and I've lived for a while in the US and I heard a lot of people using the word college as a synonym of university; however in Italy the word college often refers to the place where you ...
5
votes
4answers
503 views

What is the English term for “dousing yourself with cold water to build immunity”

In russian, the word "обливаться" can be colloquially used to describe a specific recurring activity where you pour a container of cold water on a person with the goal of building up that person's ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the saying that those who scream loud aren't the most dangerous ones?

There is a Polish saying Im pies mniej szczeka, tym bardziej gryzie. Literally translated: The less dogs barks, the more it bites which means that not those people are the most dangerous, ...
5
votes
2answers
71 views

Naming a section on responsible persons in a study report

Imagine you have a pharmacological study report, and one section of the report lists the persons who performed the study. That section is basically a table: name \ position \ responsibility. How would ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

Word order. Is that two sentences differ?

What words order is better: This may not be her plan, but then again it might be so. or This may not be her plan, but then it might be so again. If it helps, I am trying translate this ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

English equivalent of French “quiproquo” (bis)

This question is related to this one and this other one, both regarding the same matter but from distinct points of view. After reading the above posts I remained unsatisfied because of what I see ...
4
votes
4answers
580 views

Improve translation: You are nobody and your name is no one

In Russian culture there is a saying: Ты никто и звать тебя никак Which means that the person is of no importance (in this society) and even his name doesn't mean anything (to this society members)...
4
votes
3answers
41k views

What do we call that green coloured substance inside our nose in English

I had caught fever and and my nose was running. I want to know that what to call the stuff that comes out of a running nose, in English. In Hindi, we say "Naak".
4
votes
3answers
1k views

English equivalent for 'تازه به دوران رسیده'

I explain this word by an example: a person who recently became someone important or rich but, he behaves very pretentiously such a way that one might think he was rich or important for many years. ...
4
votes
2answers
228 views

Can you paraphrase “hold all of humankind”?

Writing to the woman who would become his third wife, Hermann Hesse complained: “Life for me now holds almost no pleasures any more, in fact I am living in Hell.” The event that had reduced Hesse to ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Are “normative document” and “regulatory document” synonymous?

From the Russian Federal Law on Circulation of Medicines: The registration dossier shall comprise the following documents: 1) draft designs of primary packages and secondary (retail) packages ...
4
votes
2answers
321 views

One can only be so unsensible, you know. -> explain please?

One can only be so unsensible, you know. That line came from an Anime, so it's Japanese to English translation. The original Japanese line is something like "A lack of common sense is allowed only to ...
4
votes
2answers
564 views

Is there a verb in English that means the act of postponing something in detriment of other people?

In Portuguese we have the verb "enrolar", which can be used to denote the act of postpone something, either by keeping silence about it or by giving excuses. It's used when someone is being negatively ...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

What does it mean: to roll into the wild

Context: Android 4.2.2: A better Jelly Bean rolls into the wild. Does it mean that Android 4.2.2 becomes something like an animal, something crazy?
4
votes
3answers
453 views

What is the earth made of?

I am looking for the traduction of the french word "terre". Which means the planet earth, the ground and also the material the ground is made of. I don't know how to translate a specific meaning of it,...
4
votes
1answer
530 views

Looking for a common term for “non-circular pipe”

In Russia, there's a special term for a pipe that is not circular in its section: "a profiled pipe" (профильная труба). There's even a Wikipedia page for it: профильная труба. Such pipes come in a ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Recommendations: register with an oncologist (?)

I'm translating a sample discharge summary into English. The summary describes the tests the person was subjected to (ultrasound, Spiral CT scan, etc) and some treatments he/she received. It is clear ...
4
votes
1answer
283 views

What idiom should I use for this paragraph?

What idiom should I use for the following phrase? Is the last line fine? He often had to get up at four AM. Sometimes he had to lift on an old minibus colt to get to his office. He would sit on the ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

Medick or burclover is a “multiple harvest” (?) plant: word for a hay plant with several yields per season

What is the most proper adjective or adjectival construction to describe a plant like medick (burclover) that can be harvested for hay several times per season? Medick is noted for being a ...
4
votes
1answer
705 views

Translate “héhé” to English

I know that's a really weird question but really interesting I think. In French, we say héhé when we're kindly (like a friend would do) making fun of someone or something. We could also replace it by ...