Translation:More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil.
Isn't that supposed to be "with age comes wisdom" ? I noticed duolingo sometimes has two versions of a translation where the difference is in the order of the words. In some cases they seem to be saying that either version is correct, when there is also a difference in meaning in duolingo's 2 English translations. Maybe the contex in which the phrase or sentance is used indicates the meaning to those fluent in Spanish. At my level, I'm not always so sure.
Many people ask about the two meanings, so here there is some additional detail.
"El diablo" = The devil (Noun)
"ser diablo" = To be cunning/devious (Adjective)
From the dictionary, one of the many meanings of diablo says: "Persona astuta, sagaz, que tiene sutileza y maña aun en las cosas buenas."
A person sharp, clever, who is subtle and uses tricks even in good things.
The idiom is mostly saying that a person is wiser for age(due to experience and time) than for who they are(as in whatever position they may hold).
Devil is used mostly because it is thought that the devil knows a lot thus being compare to being smart, but in this idiom, the smartness is due to age. Plus it makes the idiom easier to remember and say. My dad says that it is mostly said so that older people should be respected because they've experienced more and thus know more. (both my parents are native speakers, i'm here mostly to freshen up on my spanish so i don't get ridiculed by my cousins when i visit them)
Yes, I understand it is a play on words, but I mention this for anyone who studies the bible also. The Devil is so crafty, but a big part of why he is so good at deceiving people isn't only because of who he is, but from trial and error, and he has been around, deceiving people for a long time, which brings us back to the idiom.
Actually, I don't think the devil is the 'he' in this sentence. I think it's a play on the double meaning of diablo, so the literal translation would be "He better knows the devil through age than by being smart". In other words he has come to recognise certain truths (wisdom) by having lived a long time and not because he is smart. There is a more appropriate equivalent English idiom but I can't remember it at the moment.
Very analytical, and in the end, you got the idea behind the idiom even if you got the translation totally wrong. The devil is literally the person mentioned (where you got it wrong) but the point is that wisdom comes with age (the idea behind the idiom has nothing to do with an actual devil but with the benefit of experience and age).
The most fun, and also the most frustrating in some ways, as some of the English "equivalents" are pretty tortured, and I really do so want to know all of the literal translations to expand my vocabulary. So I have a love/hate relationship with it. Well worth the lingots I spent to get it, though, and I wish there were more to buy!
I think it would've been better if the "diablo" showed an alt translation of "devious"/"cunning". I guessed the structure of the wordplay pretty well, and thought the second diablo looked very much like an adjective to mirror with "old", but the popup claimed different… so I failed at "a" devil.
I translated it correctly, yet got it wrong.
Thev devil knows more due to age than for being the devil.
Specifically relating to the assumption; idea; that experience is more valuable than: ability, abilities aquired or inate nature. Which of course is often false. Knowing what to do based upon an aquired skill-set often trumps any supposed wisdom. With age wisdom often does not come. Sorry, but it is true.
From Wikipedia: Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo. Alt: Sabe más el diablo por viejo que por diablo. Translation: The devil knows more because he's old, than because he is devil. Interpretations: With age comes wisdom. Swedish equivalent: Old is the oldest. A person with age, acquires a certain prudence and knowledge from life's experiences. Source: Glazer, Mark (1987). A Dictionary of Mexican American Proverbs. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 78. ISBN 0313253854.
For you frustrated students of idioms. I actually found an example of this in use. I was browsing the FaceBook page of an old Puerto Rican soldier I served with he Vietnam. He posted a video of a young boxer at a gym. The guy was tall and muscular and was smirking confidently at a group of people talking to him from outside the ring. Finally and old man in sweat pants, a bent back, balding, and wearing an old Christmas sweater climbs into the ring with boxing gloves on. The young man standing tall laughs dismissively at the old man. The old man shuffles back and forth forcing the young man into the corner taking a few hits in the process. THEN the old codger unloads a couple of deadly combinations on the young boxer sending him first onto the ropes and then onto the floor. The young boxer gets up unsteadily and the old man drills in again and sends the younger but much younger opponent onto the floor this time with a flattened and bloody nose. Under the video a friend of my fellow veteran posted in broken English, "Jose Osvaldo The devil knows more fore old than for devil!!! Jajajajajaja verdad Javier R. Gonzalez-Urdaneta." Recently I was leafing through a list of government jobs for translators wanted for intelligence work. It was clear that they did want candidates even if they were members of the "Real Academy Espanola." They wanted people who would understand idioms and the street language used by terrorists and narco trafficantes.
I will play the devil's advocate and direct you to the following: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/m%C3%A1s_sabe_el_diablo_por_viejo_que_por_diablo It is one of many sources indicating that the DL version is correct.
Because it's an idiom, not a literal translation.
Similarly, you could translate "Are you pulling my leg?" as "¿Estás tomándome la pierna?" but that would be wrong, because the idiom that means a similar thing in Spanish is "tomando el pelo" -- hair, rather than leg. (In fact, amusingly, if you put "¿Estás tomándome el pelo?" into GTranslate, it gives you, "Are you kidding me?" as its top translation. Not bad.)
You can't trust GTranslate to get idioms right in general, and really its grammar is pretty poor. It's pretty useful for getting a sense of what a word means -- if you stick in a single word, it gives you several translations, which helps you understand both the main usage and the connotations.
Anyways, in this case, it's entirely backwards. An overly-literal translation would be, "The devil knows more from being old, than from being the devil." I'm actually surprised that Google got it that badly wrong -- It's swapping the order of "por viejo" and "por diablo" for no apparent reason.
I found this very difficult at first, but I am learning that literal translation is not simply a word for word process. As you start assembling words into two and three word groups the meanings begin to change. "Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo." Más sabe el diablo por viejo (The devil knows more because of age) que por diablo (than from being the devil).
I don't get what More knows the devil by old that by devil means! Then you have to translate that to Wisdom comes with age!!!! Seriously?!?! Give me a break! Duolingo is a really good free accurate site and I recommend it to people but this is so wrong! Duolingo PLEASE change this!
this is also a nice website for the origin of spanish idioms: http://www.frasesparalahistoria.com/paremia/m%C3%A1s-sabe-el-diablo-por-viejo-que-por-diablo
That's why this lesson is completely optional, and you don't have to pass it to access other lessons. It's really hard to teach things like idioms using Duolingo's formula (or in general, frankly), because they just don't hold up well to direct translation. Duolingo is giving you the opportunity to learn these Spanish sayings while still recognizing that this is a kind of unusually difficult lesson and should be kept separate from the rest.
Idioms will rarely translate directly. For example, if I were to say, "A taste of your own medicine," or, "Don't beat a dead horse," in English, you would probably know exactly what I meant. However, if you were to translate this to Spanish for someone trying to learn English they would probably be very confused.
Exactly. "Beating a dead horse" might translate to "belaboring the point," for example. It means the same thing, but uses different words.
In this case, the sentence translates directly as something like, "The devil knows more because he is old than because he is the devil." But this phrase doesn't really mean anything to us in English, so they used a translation that means the same thing but makes more sense to English speakers.
The literal translation is incorrect, because it says 'the devil' at the end. There is no 'el', and the idiom is a word play with the double meaning of diablo (devil) and diablo (smart, cunning, devious). The correct literal translation should be 'the devil/fiend knows more for being old than for being devious/fiendish'. Other words for smarts, cunning translate more clearly, but lose the pseudo-wordplay.
I agree with you! There are certain limitations to learning a foreign language on Duolingo. It is great on repetition and vocabulary building and learning points of grammar. It is NOT good on explaining the subtle differences in language/translation. Which makes it HORRIBLE at doing idiomatic expressions or proverbs. Or even better, check out the "flirting" optional exercise. It is totally off the wall. But the discussions are very helpful here. There are certain things I never learned correctly, like use of indirect pronouns and articles and I learned a lot from the other students.
I think it's supposed to be "mas SABEN," which is the third person plural form of the verb, "saber - to know." I don't think it should be "mas SABE because "mas" means more in Spanish so it is an implicitly plural word. ie. more people, more things, etc. The literal translation is, "More know the devil for being old than for being the devil.
The English translation on this one is whacked. :/ "More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil." is /really/ clunky. The translations the guys have on the long thread above would serve this idiom much better than this one. "The devil knows more from being old than from being the devil" would be better.
The Devil Knows, but More Know.
The construction of this sentence is absolutely messed up if it's about what the Devil knows rather than about what More Know.
At the very, very least, Duolingo should accept More Know as a correct response. Because it is THE correct response.
Or Duoilingo should change the English translation to something that actually makes sense in English instead of this gibberish.
I believe it is " The devil knows a lot because he is old, not because he is smart." because the words por and para both mean "for" but por is for the past affecting the now and para is the now affecting the future. "Bebo por ti" means i drink because of you(you did something to make me want to go drunk). "Bebo para ti" means "I drink in your honor" or "I drink for you."
I think there is an error in the instructor that for some reason sets this phrase and "cuentas claras, amistades largas" to never be first asked that you translate it in text. I always, .. literally always, find myself saying it first or else listening and transcribing the sound. So I never get quizzed to remember the meaning without first having seen the translation at the bottom after saying it once.
Sorry, but whatever this may mean in spanish to a native spanish speaker, the translation given in duolingo is absolutely rubbish and incomprehensible in english, and I cannot come up with an equivalent english saying for this, whereas I can come up with an equivalent english saying for all the other idioms given!
On doing a bit of research I found that there was not an English idiom that was the same as the answer. However, I did find the following two items on different sites. 1.Mas sabe el Diablo por viejo que por Diablo. Significado: Una persona sabe mas por su experiencia que por sus conocimientos. Meaning: A person knows more by his experience than by his knowledge.
- I suppose the Devil must be rather old… American society typically attributes wisdom to those who are advanced in years, yielding many sayings along those lines. We often say, “The older you are, the wiser you get” or the cynic may say, “With much wisdom comes much sorrow.” The Spanish, however, have a peculiar expression which is Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo, meaning ‘The Devil knows more from being old than from being the Devil.’ Although the concept is easily understood, and in fact some people do say, “The Devil knows a lot from being old,” the Spanish phrase goes further as to add the idea that experience is not only valuable, but perhaps more valuable than training or education.
I feel like this needs more sensible/colloquial translation into English. No native English speaker would ever say this as it's translated, and it doesn't make sense to me.
While it's good to know the literal translation, I think that a colloquial one would be more useful in terms of understanding what this idiom really means to a Spanish speaker.
This makes absolutely no sense in English, so why would I use it in conversation in Spanish? Duolingo should provide historical context in the idioms section so that English-speakers can make sense of it. About half of the idioms in this section are nonsensical in English, so it keeps me from wanting to learn them.