Arabic Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Icelandic Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Norwegian Persian(farsi) Polish Portuguese (Europe) Romanian Slovak

Back To Top

Blog

Circle Translations

Blog

Table of Content

    Translating Tomorrow's Success Today

    Circle Translations is one of the leading localization agencies in Baltic states offering different services

    Top Posts

    What is a Language Service Provider (LSP)?
    Legal Impact of a Translation
    What Is Transcreation?

    The challenge of idioms translation and how to overcome it

    27/03/2024

    Practical Tips

    If you ask the average translator one figure of speech they struggle with, they will tell you that idioms translation is high on the list. Idioms are everyday expressions used to convey a message without using the proper words one would normally use. Expressions like “kicked the bucket,” “out of the blue,” and “hit the nail on the head” are common expressions used in the English language.

    Other languages have their own expressions that may mean something different in English or make no sense at all. This is a challenge many translators face when dealing with expressions in an original text that will make no sense if they are translated word for word as they are into a new language. You might consider working with translation services.

    The root of idioms

    Idioms are deeply rooted and influenced by human culture, religion, history, values, and even ideology. Take these deeply rooted factors away, and many of the expressions we use will not make sense. In the same vein, an expression may make sense to speakers of a particular language but make little or no sense to foreign speakers, even if the words are translated.

    Furthermore, idioms may have superficial or literal meanings depending on the words used. So while native speakers of the language will understand whether an idiom should be understood literally or not, a foreign speaker without a deep rooted understanding of the language will not understand whether to take the expression literally or figuratively.

    Idioms with sister equivalent

    Other challenges many translators have with the translation of idioms are idioms that have equivalents. This is common in many Indo-European languages, where you find two different expressions that have the same meanings. Deciding on the right expression to use can be a little tricky.

    Furthermore, some idioms are universally understood among international speakers of the same language, like the examples used at the start of this article, while others are not.

    So as a translator working on a document to be translated into English, for instance, knowing which idiom to use that will appeal to a wider audience is a decision you will have to make. Use the right one, and your wider audience will understand it; use the wrong one, and only a limited section will. This is common with some idioms understood by the general English speaking world and idioms understood by only regional speakers in countries like the US or Britain.

    Idioms translation strategy to adopt when translating to a wider audience

    If you are translating a document for a wider audience and you have no choice but to use idioms expressed in the original text, here are helpful strategies to adopt to prevent mistranslations.

    Use widely accepted idioms

    If you have to use an idiom that will convey the same meaning as it appears in the original text, it is best to use a widely accepted idiom that the wider audience will understand. This should be your strategy, even if the document is for a regional audience.

    This approach holds value for the future In case there is a need for the document to be published to a wider audience. Since you have used a widely understood variant that conveys the same meaning, there won’t be any need to make wholesale changes to the text.

    Use a similar idiom

    Another way to use idioms translation is to use a similar idiom to the target language. This strategy should only be adopted if there isn’t a widely accepted idiom to use as a substitute. The structure may be different from the source document, but as long as it conveys the same message, it should not be a problem.

    Paraphrase It

    Another strategy is to paraphrase it figuratively, similar to the original text. This will help preserve the original meaning if there isn’t an idiom equivalent you can use. This should only be a last resort if other strategies will not work.

    Omit It

    The last strategy is to omit the idiom entirely in the translation if the above three strategies do not work. Omitting an entire idiomatic expression may not alter the message in any way; this is because idioms only amplify the message already described in a previous sentence. Rather than ruin your work with the wrong words that make no sense, it is best to just do away with the idiom.

    Final Thoughts

    At Circle Translations, we understand the importance of idioms translation and how to use them properly in translated texts. Our language experts will not only help with your text translation but will also polish it with the right idioms necessary to increase engagement value.

     

    Subtitles

    Professional and Accurate Subtitle Services for your Videos.


    • Video subtitles specifically tailor-made for improving accessibility.
    • Using highly experienced subtitlers with years of industry experience.
    • Professionally written and expertly timed.

    Translation

    We help the world’s top companies translate their content in over 73 languages!


    • We localize content for internet websites, games, travel, cryptocurrencies, and more
    • Expand your global audience by adding different languages.
    • We work only with qualified translators and experienced content creators

    Audio translation

    Ensuring full accessibility for Blind and visual impaired audiences.


    • Visual descriptive events as they occur in the video.
    • Working with top audio describers to perfectly describe what is happening on-screen
    • Professional sound recording.

    We always receive a great delivery: accurate translations, great communication throughout the translation process.

    Loreta Z

    Kilo.Health


    Related Posts

    Practical Tips

    What is a Language Service Provider (LSP)?

    In most cases, people confuse themselves with the terms translation company, language service provider, localization company, and translation company. While localization is part of the translation process, other mentioned terms mean one thing. You might encounter a language service provider (LSP) when you work in the translation industry. Most people call it when referring to organizations and […]

    Practical Tips

    Legal Impact of a Translation

    Producing correct translations in business is of crucial importance. Whilst poor translations may be abstractly amusing, little errors can have an unexpectedly huge impact when it comes to corporate safety and legality. Aiming to prevent such mistakes can help protect today’s businesses against major legal difficulties. Let us have a look at some of the […]

    Practical Tips

    What Is Transcreation?

    Most of us are very familiar with the process of translation, which is the rendering of a given text from one language into another. But not many have heard of the term transcreation. What is transcreation, anyway? If you own a business and are hoping to expand to a broader market, then you might want […]

    Practical Tips

    Most Difficult Languages – How Brands Maintain Multilingual Online Presence?

    The most important feature for international brands to succeed is their multilingual approach towards branding and marketing. If you want to expand your target market and reach a much wider and diverse audience, then you need to break down language barriers. Multilingual branding and marketing should be a cornerstone technique for international brands. Even if […]

    Practical Tips

    How Software Localization Can Improve Translation

    If you are a professional translator you may have heard of software localization. Even if you haven’t, there are many businesses that engage with international audiences who use software localization to improve the quality of your campaigns and messaging. But how can software localization improve translation? Keep reading to find out. What is software localization? […]

    Let’s Get Started!

    We're here for anything you need. Just drop us a quick message below. We'll get back in 24 hrs.

      Name


      Email Address


      Mobile ( optional )


      Company ( optional )


      Message

      Upload Document ( optional )



      By submitting this form you agree to our terms and conditions and our Privacy Policy which explains how we may collect, use and disclose your personal information including to third parties.

      This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.