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比如说，汉语的“天生有福”，到了俄国人口里便成了“穿着衬衣生下来的”；到英国人那里又成了“生来嘴里就含着一把银勺”(born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth);若要德国人说，确是“梳好了头才出世的”。再如汉语成语“一箭双雕”或“一举两得”，用法语说相当于“一块石头打两处”；用英文说是“一石打死二鸟”(to kill two birds with one stone)；俄语说法相当于“一枪打死两只兔子”；德语说法相当于“一个拍子打两只苍蝇”。
不少语言都有许多以动物为内容或作比喻的习语，但同一动物在不同语言中的含义是互不相同的。英语民族有爱狗的传统，中国人却崇敬龙。中英民族对于这两种心理反应是不完全相同的，这表现在大量的熟语中，这就要求翻译时必须进行适当的转换。如：a 过着牛马不如的生活to lead a dog’s life b 瘦得像猴as thin as a shadow c 望子成龙long to see one’s son succeed in life; long to see one’s son become a dragon (i.e. win success in the world)
It was early June and Peking wore the green lace of spring,its thousands of willows and imperial cypresses making the Forbidden City a place of wonder and enchantment, and in many cool gardens it was impossible to believe in the China of breaking toil, starvation, revolution , and foreign invasion that lay beyond the glittering roofs of the palaces. Here well-fed foreigners could live in their own little never-never land of whisky-and-soda, Polo, tennis, and gossip, happily quite unaware of the pulse of Humanity outside the great city's silent, insulating walls as indeed many did.