“I understand what you mean but we don’t say it that way.” How many times have you heard someone tell you that as you foundered your way through their language? The ability to word things in a native-like manner is called idiomaticity. I came across an example in my reading recently. It stated that the Buddha went out into the forest and stayed “busy” with meditation. Well, obviously, ‘busy’ is not the appropriate word here but ‘masruuf’ is routinely translated that way and it works most of the time. But we don’t say the parson was ‘busy’ praying. “Engaged in meditation, in prayer” is the normal way to express that in English.

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