can’t be translated literally

40 hilarious idioms that simply can’t be translated literally

What does it mean to “have tomatoes on your eyes?” Find out below…

By Helene Batt and Kate Torgovnick May

It’s a piece of cake. You can put lipstick on a pig. To add fuel to the fire. Idioms are those phrases that mean more than the sum of their words. As our Open Translation Project volunteers translate TED Talks into 105 languages, they’re often challenged to translate English idioms into their language. Which made us wonder: what are their favorite idioms in their own tongue?

Below, we asked translators to share their favorite idioms and how they would translate literally. The results are laugh-out-loud funny.

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