Gained in translation



We know that sometimes meaning is lost during translation from one language to another, but there are times when something is gained, perhaps an insight, maybe a surprised laugh. I’m starting a little collection of these (and am happy that Loquita made a little translation machine to help us visualize the process). If you have some of your own to offer, let me know in the comments.

Not too long ago one of El Guapo’s music video students included a Bible verse in a project. The text was Job 8:7. To set this up, let’s look at two English versions. The King James version gives us this:

“Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” 

And we get this from the New International Version: “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.”

I don’t know whether the student, not a native English speaker, did her own translation, but her version has the advantage of originality, and may be my new favorite:

Your start is humble, but your later will be full of beans.”


A box full of very long beans

She probably wasn’t talking about these sorts of beans, but aren’t they amazing?


Perhaps “full of energy and life” was more what the translator had in mind, but I enjoy the image either way. Here’s to a later full of beans!


[Images: Loquita, David at Wikipedia]


2 thoughts on “Gained in translation

  1. (and here I was thinking that ‘latter end’ could mean your ‘backside’/, ‘posterior’…and then a favorite pair of jeans may no longer fit?) 😀

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