The iron woman turned on Jamie. "Stop screaming," she said crisply. "Stop it this instant. You'll frighten the horses."Middle-schoolers and I have been reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and an eighth grader approached me before spring break with the following tidbit: "Mr. Rozinsky, did you know that the book isn't even called To Kill a Mockingbird in Brazil where my mom's from?"
Jamie stopped. He looked around. "What horses?"
The iron woman said, "It's a figure of speech." (The War That Save My Life, page 73)
"I had no idea," I replied. "What's it called?"
"In Portuguese, the translation is, 'The Sun Rises for Everyone,' " he told me.
We followed this tangent into how different languages have their own idioms, which usually don't translate without meaning being lost irretrievably. We weighed the impacts of the English and Portuguese alternatives in this case, with the student preferring the less idiosyncratic sun-based one.
I'm curious to hear his latest thinking once he finishes the novel.