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Hi,

I'm looking for an example of an idiomatic expression in any language that can't be translated or at least doesn't have an acknowledged, correct translation.

Does anybody have any suggestions?
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I have one... I think. I've heard that in Italy there's a saying that roughly translated means "make a movie!" The meaning of the phrase is that if you're going to do something, do it big! Make a movie! However, it really doesn't make as much sense to an American. Unfortunately I don't have the exact Italian phrase. Any Italianos out there?

There is another hard to translate phrase that I'm aware of. It comes from Sweden I think. I learned it from watching a documentary on Annika Sorenstam, female golfer extraordinaire. Apperently in her home of Sweden there is a certain state of mind that says that you should keep life at a comfortable medium. Not too loud, not too big, just right. If I understood it correctly, It even goes so far as to depricate superior achievement. This mindset has a verbal manifestation. Unfortunately, again I do not have the idiom in its original language. Any Norsefolk out there?

I guess I really haven't answered your question, but I hope this gives you some leads.

--Lionheart
Hi I'm Italian, I never heard about it, maybe is a regional expression, but I always say "Se devi fare una cosa, falla tutta" it's almoust like "if you're going to do something try to complete it, to end it".

I have another funny idiom that is tipical of my city: "Facci pace col cervello!". The english translation is almoust like this: "reconcile with your brain". In italian means that you have a big confusion in your mind that you don't know what you are saying; I don't know if english people use something like this

Ciao
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Lionheart, do you know if perhaps that Italian phrase came from the film Fellini film 8 1/2? If it did, then I think the phrase would make sense even in English.
YoungCalifornianLionheart, do you know if perhaps that Italian phrase came from the film Fellini film 8 1/2? If it did, then I think the phrase would make sense even in English.

No, I'm sorry, I don't know where I heard the phrase. I've never seen a Fellini movie (I'm so deprived) so I doubt it would have come from that source. I believe it was just some documentary; I can't remember the subject matter. I wish I could be more concrete than that. I just used an Italian phrase finer at www.tiscali.co.uk and couldn't find anything. Hmmm... maybe I've been given a bum steer (BTW, any foreign translations for 'bum steer'? Emotion: smile )

That's what you get for listening to a German/Czech talk about Italian phraseology. Ha! Oh well. Sono spiacente che non sono più utile.

Ciao.

--Lionheart
Well, I don't really get the topic - there are hundreds such idiomatic expressions. I can give you one, which is so completely national that there is no way any English translation of it exists. It's Polish: "Madry Polak po szkodzie", which roughly goes: "A Pole is wise after a damage is done" (but it sounds really awful this way). It means that a Pole knows what should HAVE been done when it's too late to do anything (after the damage etc.).

What do you think about that? Emotion: smile

===
Kuba
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My bad english doesn't make me understand: first of all I don't know what a bum steer is, then what did you search at www.tiscali.co.uk ? If it was an italian phrase search it at www.tiscali.it .

Sorry but I don't understand the meaning of this: "That's what you get for listening to a German/Czech talk about Italian phraseology. Ha! Oh well. Sono spiacente che non sono più utile. "

The correct italian phrase is "sono spiacente di non essere più utile" and not "Sono spiacente che non sono più utile " and its english translation is almoust like this "I'm sorry I can't help you". But I'm not sure to understand what you want to know, sorry! Can you explain it with other words? Thanks

Ciao!
I must correct my self: the english translation is almoust like this: ""I'm sorry I can't help you anymore"

Ciao!Emotion: wink
Francesca My bad english doesn't make me understand: first of all I don't know what a bum steer is,
A 'bum steer' is an English idiom. The word bum can mean many things, but in this phrase it means false or wrong. The word 'steer' means a course or direction. So, if someone gave you a bum steer, that means that they steered you in the wrong direction, or told you something that wasn't true. What I meant by that was: Maybe the person that said "Make a movie" was an Italian phrase was wrong... they gave me a 'bum steer'.
Francesca then what did you search at www.tiscali.co.uk ?

I searched for the phrase "Make a movie" to see if it was really an Italian saying.

Francesca If it was an italian phrase search it at www.tiscali.it .

I used to tiscali.co.uk site because I don't speak Italian and can't understand the tiscali.it site.

Francesca Sorry but I don't understand the meaning of this: "That's what you get for listening to a German/Czech talk about Italian phraseology. Ha!

I'm the German/Czech. That's my family's descent. My meaning was this: I"m telling people that "Make a movie" was an Italian phrase, and yet I'm not Italian! I'm Central European, not Mediterranean! So If I make a mistake about Italian terms, It's because I'm a brain-dead Deutsch! Emotion: stick out tongue (By the way, I don't speak German either)

Francesca Oh well. Sono spiacente che non sono più utile.
"The correct italian phrase is "sono spiacente di non essere più utile" and not "Sono spiacente che non sono più utile " and its english translation is almoust like this "I'm sorry I can't help you". But I'm not sure to understand what you want to know, sorry! Can you explain it with other words? Thanks

Since I don't speak Italian, I relied on Microsoft Word's translation feature. I typed in 'I'm sorry I can't help you' and 'Sono spiacente che non sono più utile' is what came out. One more reason to dislike Bill Gates, I guess. I meant to say that I wished I could be more of a help. What I wanted to know is if "Make a movie", or something similar, was an Italian saying.

I apologize for causing such confusion. Hope this doesn't dent the American-Italian relationship! Emotion: smile I think I'll stick with English and leave the translators alone.

Later,
--Lionheart

P.S. You're english isn't that bad. I can understand you fine. It's much better than my Italian!
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