Translate From Spanish Idioms, Featuring el Diablo


Welcome once again to translate from Spanish to English; Bienvenido otra vez al Translate from Spanish to English.  And today we will study some usual Spanish idioms and some very interesting ones.
Why do we need to know Spanish idioms? ¿Porque debemos conocer a modismos? Because they are “interesting”; Porque son interesantes. That’s it. And you can learn better using interesting stuff than boring stuff and I do know that everybody knows that; even your donkey knows that-  hasta su burro sabe esto.
Another one good reason is that the Spanish are obviously very rich culture-wise; therefore there is a lot to learn from their sayings and “modismos” and at the same time we can learn more from these modismos about what kind of people the Spanish are.

Note: Idioms don’t translate to “idiomas”. The idioms taht we will be talking about refers to the expressions, or in Spanish; “modismos”.
Idioms or “modismos” in Spanish are expressions that usually deviates from the use of grammar or at least from their literal meaning; which is perfect for us; to burn into our heads that literal translations are not everything.
Below are some interesting Spanish idioms and their explanations.
· En boca cerrada; no entran moscas. –Literally translates to: In a closed mouth; Flies do not enter. (notice entran is the pluran third person for entrar= to enter)
What this phrase means is that “If you do not know what to say; better shut up.” Yeah works all the time. Flies do not enter your mouth which signifies nonmaleficence.
· él tiene boca se equivoca –Literally translates to: He who has mouth is mistaken; But this only means that it is only natural to make mistakes or to say wrong things; you cannot say the right things all the time. So if you failed at the first idiom, just tap yourself in the back and remember the second idiom; because they are completely related. You spoke; but you were wrong; flies enter your mouth, you felt bad but don’t! Remember: “él tiene boca se equivocal”! That’s the spirit!
· Vale un Potosi –Literally translates to: It costs (is worth) a Potosi. Potosi is a wealthy city in Bolivia; it is very famous for that therefore it is the Spanish way of saying that a thing is worth a fortune.
· El errar es humano; perdonar es divino –Well this is literal and it’s literal translation is it’s meaning no need for further explanation, basically: To err is human; to forgive is divine. We make mistakes God forgives, there are no mistakes that need to be dwelt upon. The Spanish wants things to be light; they don’t want to dwell on simple things; basically they are more relaxed people; happier people.
Now my favorite for the day:

Más sabe el Diablo por viejo que por Diablo

El diablo the devil
Literally translated to:  The devil knows more because he is old than because he’s the devil.
Although we can learn from that it basically means that experience is the greatest teacher. The devil is old, therefore he knows more; his being a devil is an unnecessary part of the equation; can it get more interesting than that? Apparently the devil refers to a cunning person, a sleek, cold and calculated guy who always seem to have a way of showing you that you are lower than he is. Well the Spanish just corrects you since you probably see this person as a “Devil” out of jealousy. Therefore the Spanish tells you that you must not be jealous of this “Devil” because it’s not that he is a “devil”; he just happens to have more experience in what you do, therefore he does it better than you do. I don’t know, that is just me but this seems to reflect that Spaniards don’t want jealously and they have a very darn interesting quote for that.

Pretty much the above quote/idiom is can be applied into your Spanish learning journey, experience is key. In language learning, that means more exposure, more conversations with natives, more Spanish tv, more Spanish music.

Bueno, that’s it for today! ¡Hasta luego! Que Dios te bendiga.

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About the author

I go by the name of Magallanes in this blog. My mission here is to influence you folks in the most effective way to learn the Spanish language. Welcome to my fleet!