Entering The World of Sayings


Entering the the world it is a rich and fun experience. In my point of view it is a language phenomenon due to the fact that they allows us to say something that we feel or think in only one single sentence.

By definition a saying is a short,pithy expression that generally contains advice and wisdom. When entering this world we can find: proverbs, nautical phrases  among others but today I am going to concentrate on these two. Due to the fact that they have brought so much to what we know today as sayings. And they are such a big part of how we speak.

  • Proverbs: a short popular saying that expresses effectively some commonplace of truth or useful thought. Proverbs are a great form of expression and have been a great contribution to our language.  The Bible is one books that contains an amazing amount of proverbs and it has influenced our speech like no other. For example:


  • A house divided against itself cannot stand.
  • A soft answer turns away wrath
  • All things must pass
  • As you sow so shall you reap


  • Nautical phrases: Many of these phrases have been adopted into our everyday use. All of the nautical phrases are virtually metaphors. The word metaphor is derived from the ancient Greek which means “to carry” or “to travel”. Many English phrases are from nautical origins. Here are just a few examples:


  • All at sea
  • Cut and run
  • Edging forward
  • Full of gunwales
  • Groggy
  • Hand over fist
  • Know the ropes
  • Loose canon


In truth these phrases and proverbs have been brought to life in many literary pieces and obviously in our everyday life. They have become in many cases almost like a second nature and it is ingrained in our speech and our thoughts. Now… when an author or writer have to take into account  is that when a literary piece contains a healthy amount of these phrases and proverbs, what has to be understood is that not all translators are familiar with the phrases or proverbs that your book contains. Another factor of great importance is that each country ( like U.S.A and Great Britain ) has cultural proverbs or phrases that the translator has to be familiar with in order to do a quality translation and therefore transfer that into your Spanish speaking readers. Because the sayings that are said for instance in United States are not the same that are said in Mexico City, Argentina, or even Chile.  And so therefore the translator of your choice has to understand your cultural background and be extremely familiar with it, to be able to capture the soul of your piece and therefore connect with your readers.

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