When I write about critical thinking in this blog, I would have liked to call this skill “having our heads screwed on straight.” That’s a wieldy phrase, so it’s not a tag for this blog. It’s also a metaphor, but in the industrial age, such a metaphor is understandable. Also, this a colloquial expression for English speakers.
When I used Google Translate, the phrase “would have liked to call this skill ‘having our heads screwed on straight’. That’s a wieldy phrase . . .” resulted in Modern Hebrew that made sense — “After our heads screwed straight.” I’m actually not surprised that Israelis sometimes use translations of English colloquialisms. However, Google Translate left the word ‘wieldy’ untranslated. Then I took the Hebrew wording and let Google translate it back to English, then back to Hebrew again. This time the translation read, “After our heads screwed up straight.” This Hebrew wording actually borders on the vulgar.
I used Google Translate for a Spanish translation and got, “que tiene la cabeza en recta” — “whose head [is] straight.” Back to English it became, “that has his head straight.” It reads as I intended. This translation utility completely messed up the full idea, though. In Spanish it became, “Esa es una frase manejable” – “that is a handy phrase.” If it’s a handy phrase, then why am I not using it? Back and forth again it became, “Esa es una frase muy útil.” To the extent that I read Spanish, this means, “that is a very useful phrase.” In a good English-Spanish dictionary, the adjective ‘wieldy’ doesn’t even appear.
While I’m having fun — a German translation came back into English as, “would like to have this ability to call ‘have screwed on just our heads’. This is a handy set, so it is not a day for this blog.” The translation utility confused the English word ‘tag’ with the German word ‘Tag’ which means ‘day’.
In French, we might not like “to have our heads attached to his head.”