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"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Complete sentences, phrases, and figurative speech

Moderator: acloudmovingby

Re: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Postby David and Bui » Wed May 17, 2017 1:26 am

Thank you for posting, Matt.

If there is any misinterpretation of "comfort zone" and "เขตที่สะดวกสบาย" it would lie in the difference between a concrete image and an abstract metaphor. A Thai might interpret the phrase as the former, an English speaker as the latter. Your friend used a literal translation of "comfort zone" -- perfectly fine. Whether a Thai reader would extend the physical terms to an abstract notion is not clear to me. Still, literal interpretations are used cross-culturally all the time and I suspect that this is a fine usage.

The phrase as translated is a bit much for a tattoo, don't you think?
David in Houston
David and Bui
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Location: Houston, Texas

Re: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Postby matts89 » Wed May 17, 2017 2:00 am

It is quite a bit of writing and I'll admit to having entertained the idea of it as a tattoo. At this point, I'm finding Im mostly determined to make more sense of it now that I'm seeing how tricky English/Thai translations can be.

When my friend was able to give me that explanation in English (a different person than who gave me the translation) of the literal Thai translation, it seemed to me that she interpreted the comfort zone as an abstract idea the way we do in English. Her words were "convenient live" (life) and seems certain Thais would interpret it the same as she had. Just in case I was confusing, this particular friend gave me that english explanation with only the literal Thai translation I had prior to me showing her the English quote I was aiming for. She also told me this was her own explanation, not form a translation service/app.

But I'm still looking through a lot of the other examples and phrases offered here so far and I'll be sure to follow up with my friends. This has become a bit of a challenge to me that I'm determined to see through. I'm definitely up for any other ideas and suggestions anyone has for the translation/quote/wording.

Thanks again
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Re: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Postby matts89 » Wed May 17, 2017 11:56 pm

So just to throw a wrench in things (wow i wonder how you'd express that one in thai), assuming the literal translation I currently have is an acceptable expression of the English quote, how would it be written out. Thai doesn't use spaces and commas etc. the way we do. And I am having a, well, interesting time asking that particular question to my Thai friends. If I wanted to write it in one long line, would it have that one space like in the original post? What if I wanted to write it in two or three lines? How would you guys determine where to break it up. Here's some screenshots of responses I'm getting from my Thai friends.

First the original for comparisons: การใช้ชีวิตจริงๆนั้นเพิ่งจะเริ่มต้นเมื่อคุณเริ่มก้าวออกจากเขต ที่สะดวกสบายของคุณ

This one came from a friend who split it into to sentences.

What threw me off here was that the original one I received had a split between ต ที่, but in this one, that split is where she broke it into two sentences and the ที่ is no longer there either. I'm not sure if the original space and the ที่ might represent some simple grammatical concept, so keep in mind my Thai is virtually non existent, i don't mean to cause an frustration if any of these are simple questions I'm asking.

This one was given to me by a different Thai friend as one line, missing the space from the original one posted initially, but still has the ที่.

Now the very original from the initial post and these two all seem to turn the same results (albeit imperfect) when I run them through various translators.

I hope this is more like good practice and exercise for you guys rather than a pain or irritation. As always, thanks for any help.
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Re: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Postby Tgeezer » Thu May 18, 2017 7:26 am

matts89 wrote:Hey everyone! I finally got connected so I can contribute a little more myself. I am the original poster. First let me tell everyone I've really enjoyed following along with all the responses and I appreciate the time you all have spent discussing this. Although I couldn't respond, I did still do some checking up on my own with a few Thai friends I have. Here's where I'm at:

So I’ve been back and forth with a few thai friends I have discussing the quote and its translation. The best progress I’ve made was with a female friend of mine who works as condo salesperson in Thailand. Without her knowing what I was trying to translate from english, I simply sent her the text that another Thai friend had given me (from the original post here) and asked if she could explain it to me in English as her English was very good.

Here’s that text again: การใช้ชีวิตจริงๆนั้นเพิ่งจะเริ่มต้นเมื่อคุณเริ่มก้าวออกจากเขต ที่สะดวกสบายของคุณ [edited]

Here’s word for word what she returned to me: “It mean you will know what is live really when you start step out of you convenient live and start to live without any desire.”

With some of the common grammar issues that most English learners have, she seems to have conveyed to me the same meaning I interpret when I read “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The ‘live without any desire’ part threw me a little but she seems to have clearly understood the concept in Thai that I would like. She also assured me “Thai people will understand” which I took to mean any typical Thai person would read the above Thai and interpret it similarly. I also double checked with her that her explanation was coming directly from her and not google translate or similar translation app.

When I sent her the English equivalent, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” she was quick to reply, “yeah that’s it, same.”

But from following along with this forum, it seems that the 'comfort zone' concept in English seems to be the biggest concern as far as how it's translated into Thai due to cultural differences. But when she was able to explain to me the idea it conveyed in English by only seeing the Thai, it seems to have gotten the message across. For what it's worth, I can translate the same quote into Spanish (which I'm more much competent with than Thai) and the meaning is easily understood, as far as the 'comfort zone' concept so I suppose it's just a matter of confirming how the majority of Thais would interpret the idea of a comfort zone??

So is what my Thai friend has given me as a translation already acceptable? Are there different/better ways to say it? I'm looking forward to being more involved now that Im connected here.

Any thoughts? Thanks a lot to everybody!!!


My thoughts are that you should have taken more note of to "live without desire" because I think it shows that no translation can be made without context. All words are metaphors dependent on context for meaning. Even nouns; 'dog', doesn't always mean 'dog'. "It is a dog's life." If you are looking at a soi dog's situation, then dog means dog, but if you are talking about your circumstances? So how do you translate it? You need only to substitute the words and let the translator imagine a context.
You say that your friend sees it exactly as you see it, how do you see 'life' in this context? Is it a life without desire?

We can substitute English for Thai; การใช้ชีวิตจริงๆนั้นเพิ่งจะเริ่มต้นเมื่อคุณเริ่มก้าวออกจากเขต ที่สะดวกสบายของคุณ This genuine living thing will start when you begin to step out of the zone of yours which is convenient and comfortable.
It appears to be a criticism, for some people criticism can only come from an authority like religion, one fault in Buddhism is "desire", so I guess that with no other context, out pops that word. However did the original translator see 'life' in the original English from a Buddhist point of view?

Better to answer the ที่ question.
ที่ is fashion, in this case a pronoun for เขต which is itself a metaphor for a way of life (ใช้ชีวิตอยางใด ) step out of your comfortable convenient life (ก้าวออกจากชีวิตอย่างสกวกสบาย. ของคุณ).
I think that where people feel that the modifying words can't be directly applied to the noun then ที is used to mask the fact. สดวก is an adverb, สบาย is an adjective.
All that is BS really, Thai is just as flexible as any other language I think, especially when they get mixed together. The secret is not to take them too seriously because 'face to face' or 'in context' it hardly matters what words are used.
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Re: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Postby matts89 » Tue May 23, 2017 2:55 pm

Tgeezer, thanks for the feedback. You've definitely made a few points that I hadn't considered and clarified a few things I knew nothing about. It's time to start building a foundation for my Thai and start to improve my actual understanding of the language and more of the culture as well.

I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
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