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Dar a Luz

In English, women give birth, in Spanish, they dar a luz or dar a la luz, which can be translated as, “bring to light” or “shed light on,” although the literal translation would be “give to (the) light.” Another...

Hindi Expressions

“Half-filled pots splash more” is the literal translation of a Hindi expression suggesting that those who make the most noise have the least worth noticing. Another Hindi idiom translates literally as “who saw a peacock dance in...

Who Is She From Home?

Who is she from home? meaning “What’s her maiden name?” is a construction common in communities with significant Polish heritage. It’s what linguists call a calque — a word or phrase from another language translated literally...

Japanese Professional Farewell

A Jackson, Mississippi, woman who used to work in Japan says that each day as she left the office, her colleagues would say Otsukaresama desu, which means something along the lines of “Thank you for your hard work.” Although its literal...

A Whole New Ball Game

A listener from Texas heard an NPR report from Asia in which an interpreter translated a speaker’s words into English as “a whole new ball game.” He wants to know if that’s a literal translation from an Asian language, and if...

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