Posted by: episystechpubs | February 19, 2019

Editor’s Corner: It’s All Greek to Me

My husband walked in to the kitchen the other day and asked, “Since your relatives are Greek, what phrase do they use if they don’t understand something? They wouldn’t say ‘It’s all Greek to me,’ would they?” “Good question,” I responded. Before I could do any research, a link appeared in my email like magic! Here, from Wikipedia, is a selection of phrases people use to indicate that they don’t understand something. If you want to see the full list, click here.

Language Phrase (translated)
English It’s Greek to me.
Albanian Do not speak Chinese.
Afrikaans It’s Greek to me.
Arabic Are you speaking Hindi?
Bulgarian It’s like you’re talking Patagonian.
Cantonese Is this ghost’s handwriting? (Referring to illegible handwriting.)
Croatian These are to me the Spanish countryside.
Czech This is a Spanish village to me.
Finnish It’s all Hebrew.
French It’s Chinese.
German Note: The Germans have seven different phrases, including:

§ That sounds like Spanish to me.

§ Am I speaking Chinese?

§ It sounds like Polish reversed.

Greek This strikes me as Chinese.
Hebrew It is Chinese to me.
Latin This is Greek; it can’t be read.
Mandarin § It looks like hieroglyphics.

§ It sounds like the birds.

Persian Am I speaking Turkish?
Portuguese Note: Tying the Germans with seven phrases, the Portuguese translations include:

§ This is Chinese to me.

§ Are you speaking Greek? (Latin? Arabic?)

§ I can’t read Japanese.

Russian That’s Chinese writing to me.
Spanish This is in Chinese (or Aramaic).
Turkish § I am French to the topic.

§ If I could understand, I’d be an Arab.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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