Figurative Killing

When Los Angeles Sparks co-owner Kathy Goodman said we’re going to kill them at Staples Center on Sunday night!, she was not confessing to murder. Similarly, when an Iranian says Death to Americans it means roughly damned Americans An Iranian might say Death to the plumbing to complain about the rattling pipes. Nikita Khrushchev said we will bury you panicking Americans who though he planned to literally bury them in radioactive rubble. A more accurate translation of the Russian idiom might have been we will certainly prevail. Translators deliberately made Nasser look ridiculous by literally translating his flowery Arabic idioms into English. To Arabic ears, such everyday idioms don’t sound flowery. Imagine how odd air your dirty laundry in public might sound translated into Persian, where people always dry their clean laundry in public. Translators dissemble and create mischief when they translate literally.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)