21 Idioms That Don't Make Sense When Translated Into English
“There is no cow on the ice.”
Even though you may be fluent in another language, there are just some phrases that are incomprehensible to a foreign ear.
In Sweden, a local may tell you “there is no cow on the ice.” Although this may seem like a generally obvious saying (after all, what would a cow be doing on ice?), the meaning actually amounts to something more like “don’t worry.”
British real estate agency CityBase rounded up 21 of the most offbeat and hilarious times when the meaning of an expression was very much lost in its translation.
After you make a prudent decision, a Japanese person may liken the choice to “dumplings over flowers.” While the phrase might elicit a beautiful mental image of dumplings growing across a field of wildflowers (yum!), it just means that you’ve chosen something practical over something beautiful.
Despite the maxim that all dogs go to heaven, Italians don’t want them in church. When referring to an unwanted guest at a party, an Italian may call them “a dog in church.”
When a Swedish person “slides in on a shrimp sandwich,” it means that they reached their status without having to work for it.
A Czech person may “walk around in hot porridge” to avoid an uncomfortable subject.
The only way to truly learn a foreign language with all its quirks, idioms and cultural implications is to spend time in a country where that language is spoken. So to avoid letting a frog out of your mouth (Finnish for saying the wrong thing), book a trip to a learn the language on a study vacation, and become more attractive in the process.