Heaven is high, and the emperor is far away. Popular in both China and Russia.
Izvestia, not Tass, but this is also one of my favorites. I don’t know the Russian, but in English I heard it as “In Pravda there is no izvestia and in Izvestia there is no pravda.”
I like that one, too. I’m also fond of Lorca, “Como una pieza de seda rasgada por diez cucillos.”
Ми шукаємо чорного кота
It means “I’m looking for a black cat…”. This refers to a Ukrainian saying: “It’s hard to find a black cat in a dark room. Especially when it is not there.”
This describes about 50% of my typical workday…
Let me guess: you’re in IT, aren’t you? Something with computers, no doubt.
I think the phrase could describe many jobs, from medicine to mathematics to management, accounting to astronomy to administration, legal to librarian to lab tech.
But I also am guessing you are right and it is IT.
Das ist nicht lustig! Ein Moment…
Oh, where to start! So many people have expressed such good ideas in such a concise and precise way! I’ll have a go:
Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Gotter selbst vergebens.
Even the Gods fight in vain against idiocy.
En España, la mejor manera de guardar un secreto es escribir un libro.
In Spain, the best way to keep a secret is to write a book (about it)
Der Horizont der meisten Menschen ist ein Kreis mit dem Radius Null. Und das nennen sie ihren Standpunkt.
The horizon of most people is a circle with a radius equal cero. They call it their point of view.
Wie glücklich viele Menschen wären, wenn sie sich genausowenig um die Angelegenheiten anderer kümmern würden wie um die eigenen.
How much happier many people could be, if they only cared about other pleople’s affairs just as little as they care about their own!
Les hommes ne seront pas libres tant que le dernier roi ne sera pas étranglé avec les tripes du dernier prêtre.
Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
I’m not sure if I have all the umlauts down or not, and I don’t know what the literal translation is, but I heard this quote once from German:
“Erst blicken, dann blücken!”
“Do your research before you start complaining!”
Spoilered for protection of the innocent.
“Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! … Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!”
I remember reading this in one of the Straight Dope books. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at something I’ve read in my life. Even now, when there’s a lot of snow outside, I say to my husband, “Observe the snow.”
The first quote that came to mind when I read this topic: “Die Gedanken sind frei.” “Thoughts are free.” It’s the title of a German song I read about in a MG novel by Jean Little, From Anna. When Anna’s father learns that his children can no longer sing that song in school, he insists that his family emigrate from Nazi Germany. (Wikipedia says that the lyricist and composer of this song are unknown.)
If we ever bump into each other in public, this will be our James Bond password phrase:
You: Observe the snow.
Me: It fornicates.
Then we exchange info and weapons and go our respective ways to take down SMERSH.
that reminds me of another German saying: stadtluft macht frei. “City air makes you free” (especially after growing up in mean little village)
This wasn’t just a metaphorical saying originally, but one of real social implications in the middle ages. If you lived in the country, you didn’t have any other choices than to be a serf to your local aristocrat, but if you somehow made it to a city (which was much more difficult than to just pack your things and move into it, because entry was always controlled), you had the chance to become your own master, even if that meant living as a panhandler or a beggar.
Software engineering. I once had a user send me an email: “I didn’t collect as much data as I wanted to and I get this error message:
‘The Spectrograph has timed out without getting any more commands. Please see Settings → SpectrographTimeout’.
Is the disk full?”
Exactly two weeks later: the same user sent exactly the same email.
I’ve done software engineering myself, I can feel your pain . I hated almost all clients with a passion (but was always exceptionally friendly to them). They wanted to have tweaks and features all the time that were impossible. And they didn’t understand why they were impossible. Bean counters…
" E pericoloso sporgersi" – the only Italian I knew when I arrived in Italy. It is dangerous to lean out the windows (of the train) – a warning posted in four languages on every windowsill on every international train in Europe.
“¡Pobre México, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de Estados Unidos!”
“Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!” - Porfirio Díaz
A phrase memorized from my youth riding the NYC subway: “La via del tren subterraneo es peligrosa. Si el tren se para entre las estacciones, no salga afuera. Siga las instrucciones de operadores del tren o la policia.” (“Subway tracks are dangerous. If the train stops between stations, do not go outside. Follow the instructions of train operators or the police.”)
Je ne sais quoi. I don’t know specifically what it means though.
Reading this I’m thinking that there is no english equivalent of “salir” and “entrar” right? you “go out” and “go in”, two words.
On the other hand this minimizes the risk of seemingly redundant expressions like “salga afuera” “get out out”.