I know I say many strange things in Portuguese, especially when I’m translating directly from English which often doesn’t translate correctly. I probably sound a bit like Colin Firth at the end of Love Actually. What’s funny, though, is when I understand the direct translations of Portuguese into English. Here are two funny examples:
After International Women’s Day, one of my colleagues said to my housemate, “I need to say happy birthday to you for yesterday.” What he meant to say was “congratulations”, but in Portuguese parabens, which means “congratulations” is used for “happy birthday”.
Then the other day this same colleague and I were talking about prawns since we passed a vendor selling absolutely enormous ones. I asked if they were from the sea (knowing that river prawns are also sold). He said, “I don’t know if they are from salt water or sugar water.” Here they say agua doce (sweet water) to mean “fresh water”.