The elephant in the room, the wolf in sheep’s clothing or the frog in our throat – so many of our idioms revolve around animals. This is not unique to English, many other languages use similar ideas. The fascinating thing, however, is that different languages use different animals. The French, for example, have a cat rather than a frog in their throats. Translators need to understand both cultures in order to be able to successfully and creatively translate idioms.
Some of TED’s translators shared their favourite idioms and illustrated just how tricky translating them can be.