Lost in translation

A while back, I found a IG account to help people learn Swedish. They had some examples of “direct translations” that sound funny in English.

There are several languages spoken here on the forums, it might be interesting to see what weird expressions we use without thinking twice, and how funny it sounds when you translate it :slight_smile:

I’ll begin with two German expressions:

Es ist nicht mein Bier
Literal meaning: That is not my beer
Actual meaning: That’s none of my business.

Das ist mir Wurst!
Literal meaning: That is sausage to me
Actual meaning: I don’t care/It doesn’t matter to me

and one of the Swedish examples from the IG account

Literal meaning: Un-happiness
Actual meaning: Accident

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‘Lycka’ is related to the English word ‘luck’, turning ‘olycka’ into something more like ‘un-luck’.

Yes and no. Lycka is related to the word luck, but doesn’t mean that in Swedish.

Lycka = happiness
Tur = luck

I used the phrase “Are you pooped?” with one of my residents the other day. My PTA coworker thought I asked if they had pooped (normal enough question in my job). I had to explain that one.

“Are you pooped?” means “Are you tired/worn out?”


Å være midt i smørøyet - basically, to be in the middle of the butter eye. Meaning: to be in a great place. This is because the smørøye is the spot left by melting butter in a bowl of porridge, like risgrøt.


When I was growing up my parents used the phrase, Seeibg your grandmothers kittens.’ When I was really young I was confused because neither of them had cats. But it meant having weird dreams.

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