I’ve always been fascinated by how different languages go about communicating the same idea. So in this series of posts, I’ll be looking at how idiomatic expressions translate across English, Chinese, French, and Korean.
First up is a Chinese idiom that I recently fell in love with…it just appeals so much to the senses.
CN | 雪上加霜 | xuě shàng jiā shuāng
Literal translation: to add frost on top of snow
Actual meaning: to make matters worse, to make a relationship with another person even worse by offending him as well as actually harming him
And now matching it to the others —
EN | to add insult to injury
to rub salt into wounds
FR | retourner le couteau dans la plaie
to return the knife into the wound
mettre du sel dans la plaie
to put salt in the wound
KR | 엎친 데 덮친 격으로
to be ambushed when you’re down on the ground already
to add frost to snow (probably derived from Chinese…?)
These are the best translations I could come up with — would appreciate any feedback from native speakers!