Translation can be dangerous in some situations!! You probably don’t agree with that but it is fine because you’ve never faced a situation like that. Ok! Try to translate the Spanish word “Zorra” into English which is “Fox”, but you have to be careful if the text you are translating is about a woman. Do you know why? Because what’s a compliment in English can be an insult in Spanish. Yes, an insult because “A fox” when describing a woman in English is a compliment, however, in Spanish this word has another connotation which means a wicked woman.
Here are 15 hidden insults only experienced translators can avoid:
1. Une vache espagnole (French)
Literally: A Spanish cow.
Means: Someone who speaks French with a poor accent.
2. Se te fueron las cabras al monte (Mexican Spanish)
Literally: Your goats have gone to the mountain.
Means: you’ve gone crazy.
3. anasının gözü (Turkish)
Literally: their mother’s eyes.
Means: the person is cunning.
4. Я тебе покажу где раки зимуют (Russian)
Literally: I’ll show you where crayfish hibernate.
Means: I’ll teach you a lesson.
5. Vollkoffer (German)
Literally: full suitcase.
6. Tog (Danish)
7. 豆腐の角に頭をぶつけて死ね (Japanese)
Literally: Go hit your head on a corner of tofu and die.
Means: complete idiots.
8. Twmffat (Welsh)
9. Gey kakken oifen yam (Yiddish)
Literally: Go take a poop in the sea.
Means: Go to hell.
10. Estás mandando fruta (Argentine Spanish)
Literally: You’re sending fruit.
Means: You’re talking nonsense.
11. Casse-toi (French)
Literally: Go break yourself.
Means: Get lost.
12. Nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben (German)
Literally: To not have all the cups in the cupboard.
Means: To be a bit of an idiot.
13. Gey strashe di gen (Yiddish)
Literally: Go threaten geese.
Means: You don’t scare me.
14. A Mongol (French-Canadian)
Literally: a native or inhabitant of Mongolia.
Means: Someone who is intellectually, genetically, and fundamentally retarded.
15. Anjing (Indonesian)
Believe it or not! Some of these horrible mistakes in translation accrued on TV. Therefore, translation requires more knowledge and experience. It is never a normal job any bilingual person can do.