Read Between the Lines: Idioms from Around the World

Are you Bilingual? Or perhaps you have tried, or are in the process of, learning a new language?

TED Talks asked their Translators to give them a few of their favorite idioms in their own tongues. Gotta say, these idioms are second to none.

Some of our favorites include:


From Swedish

The idiom: Det är ingen ko på isen
Literal translation
: “There’s no cow on the ice.”
What it means: “There’s no need to worry. We also use ‘Det är ingen fara på taket,’ or ‘There’s no danger on the roof,’ to mean the same thing.”


From French

The idiom: Les carottes sont cuites!
Literal translation
: “The carrots are cooked!”

What it means: “The situation can’t be changed.”
Other language connections: It’s bit like the phrase, “It’s no use crying over spilt milk,” in English.


From Japanese

The idiom: 猫をかぶる
Literal translation: 
“To wear a cat on one’s head.”
What it means: “You’re hiding your claws and pretending to be a nice, harmless person.”


And… From Portuguese

The idiom: Quem não tem cão caça com gato
Literal translation
: “He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.”
What it means: “You make the most of what you’ve got.” Basically, you do what you need to do, with what the resources you have. 


Think you could have read between the lines on these ones?

Well, cross your fingers, because if not and you had responded had someone spoken one of these idioms to you and you  literally thought that someone was putting a cat on their head, you’d be in some hot water. Everyone would be laughing at you.

This is why it is so important to know the subtleties of languages when you learn them.


Learning idioms kind of reminds us of learning Social Media Terms. “Post that to social, would you?” “Work on that Engagement!” And the acronyms! Oh the acronyms! IRL, FTW, RT, OOTD. Don’t get us started.

However, learning the lingo is a necessary evil. Brush that chip on your shoulder off and get back to work.

When it comes to marketing, being kept in the loop is huge. When you don’t know what’s going on, it’s like you’re intentionally being kept in the dark. The new terms, the trending news, it’s all news to you – which makes it way harder to get ahead of it and engage with users.

Have no fear though! Whether you’re learning about new web terms, or a new language, we’re sure you’ll find it a piece of cake!

Some advice: Prepare and avoid leaving studying new languages to the last minute. Likewise, avoid playing it by ear when it comes to Social Media – not being prepared is a marketer’s downfall.

Remember, language is the way we connect! Learning something new is just the icing on the cake!

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