Sometimes when I’m up to my eyeballs in the source language, I have a hard time finding just the right target phrase. Especially if I’m distracted by a particularly pretty, amusing, or oddball idiom that doesn’t exist in English. (A flea shouldn’t jump just because the elephant moves its leg? Say what?)
Behold! Yet another useful internet resource to the rescue: http://www.americanidioms.net/. Type in the general idea you’re trying to capture, and it often pulls up a couple good suggestions to at least put you back on the right track. Enjoy!
And, just because I like them, a short list of some of my favorite distracting foreign idiomatic expressions:
- Az Kenyában! Literally, that’s in Kenya. Better English equivalent: might as well be in Timbuktu!
- Se füle, se farka. Neither ear nor tail. Clear as mud.
- Farkaséhes vagyok. I’m wolfhungry. I could eat a horse. (And, in French: avoir un faim de loup)
- La fin des haricots. The end of the beans. The last straw.
- Boire comme un trou. To drink like a hole. To drink like a fish, be a bottomless pit.
- Ne pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué. Don’t sell the hide before you’ve killed the bear. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (The bear image is so much scarier!)
Feel free to chime in with your favorite idioms below! Really, you’ll make my day with a good one.