Sayings – or idiomatic expressions as they’re sometimes called – can be both a blessing and a curse for translators. In fact, the metaphorical meaning of an idiomatic expression often doesn’t correspond to its literal meaning, which is precisely where its suggestive power tends to lie.
Translation errors on restaurant menus are par for the course, just like parmesan on macaroni pasta with tomato sauce (or ‘macarons to the sauce of tomato,’ of course).
The internet is a real gold mine for people wanting to have a good laugh at the expense of restaurant-owners who have underestimated the importance of translation, and there is certainly a lot of content out there.
Are you wondering why your Turkish contact arrived half an hour late to a company meeting? Do you have a left-handed colleague who was sent by the company to negotiate with an Arab business partner, resulting in disaster?
What are some of the most commonly spoken languages in the world and which are the most important? The answers are complex, especially from a translator’s point of view!