global English russian English

Sayings: lost in translation?

What's your English? Over on Facebook we asked fans to translate – word for word – sayings from their language into English where the translation really doesn’t make sense in English. This turned out to be quite entertaining for a day at the office, and I’m sure there is a lot more fun to be had in this area.

I’ll admit it may only be fun for a certain type of language lover: one without better things to do? Anyway. I’m bringing across the Russian ones from the ‘What’s your English?’ Facebook page as it’s Russian English month. There are others which you may want to look at.

The first Russian saying:

Julia Bay
from Russian:) would you, please, be so kind as to give me some water … because I’m so hungry that I even have no place to stay for the night …

And the second:

Nastya Yandulskaya
– Do you want some cake?
– Yes, no, maybe …

If you’d like to add your own, please post a comment to this post.

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author


Laine Redpath Cole

1 Comment

  • – Do you want some cake?
    – Yes, no, maybe …

    This is not a saying. It’s confusing because of some grammar being incorrectly translated. In Russian it’s “da net, navernoye”, where “da” is an informal emphatic particle, rather than a positive one meaning “yes”. “Navernoye” (maybe) here expresses a bit of uncertainty, though why people use it along a strict answer “no”) is still unknown.

Leave a Comment