Lost in Translation - Idiom of the Week

Lost in Translation - Idiom of the Week

Apto is here to help break down any cultural and linguistic barriers. Unfortunately, some things can just be lost in translation. For example, how about this yellow hazard sign that can be found in public areas all around the world, like airports, train stations, or shopping malls. This sign is here to alert anyone nearby that the floor is wet, potentially causing someone to slip. But unfortunately, if you read the sign, you’ll see the translator who had these signs printed definitely lost some meaning in the translation!

You have to be able to have a sense of humor about mistakes like this, or adapting to a new culture will just be more difficult. Take the time to laugh with each other and yourself. This will help you get out of your comfort zone. Misunderstandings like this happen all the time, so let’s help each other out! In fact, when you have some free time and would like a laugh, read some of these lists of these translation mistakes:

  1. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/2011/11/24/lost-in-translation-our-top-20-photos/

  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/13-hilarious-slogans-lost-in-translation-2011-10

  3. http://mentalfloss.com/article/48795/9-little-translation-mistakes-caused-big-problems

As you’ve probably figured out, this week’s idiom is “lost in translation”. This idiom means a  word or words that have lost their full meaning or significance when translated from the original language to another. Can you think of any examples when this might have happened to you?

This week’s definition comes from The Free Dictionary:

Be Lost in Translation

Of a word or words, to lose the full subtlety of meaning or significance when translated from one language to another, especially when done literally. My friend tried explaining a few French idioms to me, but I’m afraid they were lost in translation. It’s amazing how much is lost in translation in the subtitles of foreign films.

Oh, and did you think translation fails only occurred with language? Think again - evidently the meaning of emojis can be just as confusing! Click here for a fun article on emoji meaning and misunderstanding! If you haven’t yet, give Apto a try. You’ll be pleased to discover how quickly you adapt to the cultural and linguistic differences life in America presents!