The dangers of direct translation


A colleague of mine was running a course for a group of Swedish people. As part of the course, participants had to get up and make a presentation. One after one, participants stood up and presented, with varying success.

It came to the turn of the second from last person. Feeling nervous, she stood up and started to talk. Her nerves got the better of her and she started to cough and splutter. She stumbled over her words.

Embarrassed, she said, ‘Excuse me, I’ve had a cock in my throat all morning.’

How wrong it can be when we directly translate!

Note: The Swedish expression ‘tupp i halsen’ translates literally as ‘a cock in the throat’. In English, the closest we get is ‘a frog in the throat.’

Not that this makes more sense, but at least it’s not as dirty.

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