Spanish Translation  //  Traductor inglÚs-espa˝ol  //  Traduction franšais-espagnol

Syndicate this blog XML

What is RSS?
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

07/12/07

Spanish phrases and words #6

From Chris Royston, weekly collaborator here at Into Spanish Translation Blog:

Here are some somewhat lugubrious idioms. In English, when someone is gravely ill we say "he's at death's door" or "He's got one foot in the grave". Here are some Spanish equivalents:

- "Está en las últimas" which translates to "He's in the last throes"
- "Está en los umbrales de la muerte" meaning "He's in the thresholds of death"
- "Está a dos pasos de la muerte" signifies "He's two steps away from death"
- "Tiene un pie en la hoya (huesa)" translates to "He has one foot in the grave"

Thanks Chris! I would add a few more idioms related to death:

- "Tiene los días contados" is "His days are numbered"
- "Te quedan dos telediarios" (humourous, ofen used when hearing a relative or friend coughing like mad) means "Only two news programs left for you"
- "Está de muerte" (referring to some delicious food) literally means "It's deadly good" and could be translated as "It's finger-licking good"
- "Me dio un susto de muerte" is "He scared me to death"
- "Un pueblo de mala muerte" literally means "a village of bad death" and may be translated as a dump or a hole
- There's also "Un hotel de mala muerte", literally meaning "a hotel of bad death", and it may be translated as "A grotty hotel".

Want more? Don't hesitate to visit Colloquial Spanish blog!

Permalink

07/03/07

Spanish phrases and words #5

From Chris Royston, weekly collaborator here at Into Spanish Translation Blog:

Here are some idioms involving gallina (hen) or gallo (rooster):

- "Gallina ciega" literally translates to "blind hen". In English we know this game as "Blind man's bluff".

- "Acostarse con las gallinas" has the shocking literal translation of "To go to sleep with the hens", but the idiomatic meaning is far more pedestrian: "To go to bed early".

Yes Chris, the literal translation indeed distorts the idiomatic meaning of this saying. "Con" can most of the time be safely translated as "with". However, in this context it means "at the same time (as the hens)". So you go to sleep at the same time as the hens or you wake up at the same time as the hens (that's the version I'm more familiar to, "Levantarse con las gallinas").


In English we sometimes employ the saying "The wife wears the pants (trousers) in that house" to signify that the the woman rules the roost. In Spanish the colloquial equivalent is "En casa de XYZ más puede la gallina que el gallo", which literally means "In XYZ's house the hen is more powerful than the rooster".

Thanks Chris! Here are some other related Spanish expressions that I know:

- "Ser un gallito", literally "To be a little rooster" can be translated as "To be cocky".

- "Estar como gallina en corral ajeno", literally "To be like a hen in somebody else's farmyard", can be translated as "To be like a fish out of water".

- "La gallina de los huevos de oro" is equivalent to "The goose that lays the golden eggs".

Want more? Don't hesitate to visit Colloquial Spanish blog!

Permalink

06/28/07

Spanish phrases and words #4

From Chris Royston, weekly collaborator here at Into Spanish Translation Blog:

Some insect related idioms and words: "Ser una hormiga", "To be an ant" connotes industriousness or thriftiness. A "pulga" is a flea. It is also the root of the Spanish word for thumb, "pulgar" which has an unsavory origin. I have it on good authority (my Spanish Spanish teacher) that it derives from the medieval custom of killing fleas with one's thumbnail. The Spanish word for inch derives from the measure of a thumb, a "pulgada". In English we also use body parts for measurements, most notably the foot. An arcane measure, but still used with horses, is the hand. Another Spanish idiom allows the substitution of a flea for a fly, as in "Tener la mosca (pulga) detras de la oreja" which literally translates to "To have the fly behind the ear". The colloquial meaning is "To be suspicious or uneasy".

Thanks Chris! Another very familiar Spanish saying is “Estar mosqueado”, literally “To be flied” (referring to flies, not the verb “to fly”). It means “To be annoyed/suspicious”, depending on the context.

Here are some other Spanish expressions with insects:

- “Ser un moscón”, “To be a big fly”, is “To be a pest”, in the sense of somebody who won’t leave you alone for a minute.
- “No se oye ni una mosca”, literally “Not even a fly can be heard”, would have an English equivalent in “You could have heard a pin drop”.
- “¿Qué mosca te ha picado?”, literally “What fly bit you?”, means “What’s wrong with you?”
- “Por si las moscas”, literally “In case the flies...”, is “Just in case”.
- “Estar zumbado”, literally “To be buzzed”, means “To be crazy”.

Want more? Don't hesitate to visit Colloquial Spanish blog!

Permalink

06/19/07

Spanish phrases and words #3

From Chris Royston, weekly collaborator here at Into Spanish Translation Blog:

Let's look at how beans are treated in English and Spanish. In English we employ the phrase "To spill the beans". Its colloquial meaning is pretty close to "To let the cat out of the bag". The equivalent in Spanish is "Descubrir el pastel" which translates to "To uncover the cake". In Spanish people don't spill beans, but they do throw them, as in "Echar las habas a ...." which means "To cast a spell on ..."

Thanks for this contribution Chris! You are right, “habas” is a kind of beans in Spanish, namely “broad beans”. There’s another idiom with this particular sort of beans: “Esas son habas contadas” — literally, “Those are counted beans” — meaning “There are no 2 ways about it”. Here are some other colloquial Spanish phrases including beans that I can think of:

— “Ganarse los garbanzos / las habichuelas / las lentejas” — literally, “To earn one’s garbanzo beans/beans/lentils” — would have an English equivalent in “To earn one’s daily bread”, which actually has a literal equivalent in Spanish in turn: “Ganarse el pan”.

— “Ser el garbanzo negro de la familia” — literally, “To be the black garbanzo bean of the family” — would be equivalent to “To be the black sheep of the family”, which also exists in Spanish as “Ser la oveja negra de la famillia”.

Want more? Don't hesitate to visit Colloquial Spanish blog!

Permalink

06/09/07

Spanish phrases and words #2

From Chris Royston, weekly collaborator here at Into Spanish Translation Blog:

Here are some nationality/ethnicity idioms, one of my favorite categories:

— In English we identify a heavy drinker as someone who "drinks like a fish". In Spanish that same person would "drink like a sponge", "beber como una esponja". There are two nationality based idioms also: "Beber como un cosaco" and "Beber como un tudesco". The first one is "To drink like a Cossack". The second one is "To drink like a German", "tudesco" being an alternative, less common way of saying "German" in Spanish.

— "Hacerse el sueco" literally translates as "To act like a Swede" but colloquially translates as "To act dumb", often used to signify that someone is pretending not to know what's going on. "Más celoso que un turco" translates as "More jealous than a Turk" and the idiomatic meaning is not hard to guess. It means to be consumed with jealousy.

Thanks for these contributions Chris! I would add that "Hacerse el sueco" is often used to complain that somebody pretends not to be hearing or understanding what you say because what you're saying is not very convenient for him or her...

Some other idioms I know that would be included in this category:

— "Despedirse a la francesa" is "To take the French leave". Seems to be a widely accepted stereotype since it's the same in both languages...

— "Guay del Paraguay" means "way cool" and the rhyme between those words is playful and humorous.

— For some reason, there are many idioms involving the Chinese. The less favorable one is "Engañar a alguien como a un chino", which would be translated literally as "To deceive somebody like you would deceive a Chinese person" and would be equivalent to "To take somebody for a ride". But other idioms portray Chinese people as hard workers: "Trabajar como un chino" —"To work like a Chinese"— can be translated as "To work oneself to death". "Sudar tinta china" —"To sweat Chinese/India ink"— can be translated as "To sweat blood". Finally, "Me suena a chino" —"It sounds like Chinese to me"— can be translated as "It's all Greek to me".

— "Hacer el indio" —"to do the Indian"— would translate as "To act/play the fool".

Want more? Don't hesitate to visit Colloquial Spanish blog!

Permalink

<< Previous Page :: Next Page >>


Copyright JB Translations, 2006 //  Web site design by Wildfire Marketing Group