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we've got that off to a fine art

English translation: after much practise we've become expert at that

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12:08 Apr 4, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary
English term or phrase: we've got that off to a fine art
Victoria is talking about her book and how she wanted to convince her readers
that she is a normal girl, working mum etc.

Michael Parkinson: Do they think you are too pushy perhaps?
Victoria Beckham: A bit too pushy? I’m sure some people do…
Michael Parkinson: Why are you laughing?
Victoria Beckham: Shut up David! You were waiting for that, weren’t you?
We’ve seen the comedy sketches, you see. We’ve got
that off to a fine art now.

My dictionary offers whole two pages of various meanings for 'get off' but somehow
I still can’t understand this sentence.
lim0nka
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:04
English translation:after much practise we've become expert at that
Explanation:
or perfected it
Selected response from:

Sarah Ponting
Italy
Local time: 12:04
Grading comment
Thank you, Sarah. :)

It's possible the transcription is wrong (and I don't have the video yet). In the last episode I was translating Parky was interviewing Pirs (!) Brosnan! No comments...
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +17after much practise we've become expert at that
Sarah Ponting
5 +2Just a comment...John Bowden
5dominar a la perfección
Andy Watkinson
4we've got that off to a fine start now.J. Leo
3Ruth - not for grading
Libero_Lang_Lab


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
dominar a la perfección


Explanation:

To have something off to a fine art = dominar algo mediante una práctica intensiva y prolongada.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-04-04 12:13:45 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Aquí significa que habiendo visto los \"sketches\" los conocen y dominan a la perfección.
Faltaría más contexto para saber exactamente donde está su marido David Beckham y por qué se ríe, aparte del hecho de que la genta piensa que su mujer es \"pushy\" (mandona)

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 12:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 33

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Sarah Ponting: this is English monolingual...
3 mins
  -> Sorry Sarah, you're quite right - It's Friday and I'm on automatic pilot......Duh!
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
we've got that off to a fine start now.


Explanation:
perhaps a play on words or mixing metaphores.

J. Leo
Local time: 12:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 51

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Chris Rowson: It´s a standard English saying, see next answer.
50 mins

neutral  John Bowden: Agree with Chris
1 hr

neutral  Christopher Crockett: Imaginative and, perhaps, true. But, does it fit the context ?
2 hrs
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +17
after much practise we've become expert at that


Explanation:
or perfected it

Sarah Ponting
Italy
Local time: 12:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 67
Grading comment
Thank you, Sarah. :)

It's possible the transcription is wrong (and I don't have the video yet). In the last episode I was translating Parky was interviewing Pirs (!) Brosnan! No comments...

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Andy Watkinson
0 min
  -> thanks, Andy, Friday afternoons are like that ;-)

agree  xxxErika P
17 mins
  -> thanks, Erika

agree  PCovs
26 mins
  -> thanks

agree  Chris Rowson
47 mins
  -> thanks, Chris

agree  YvoWoods
1 hr
  -> thanks

agree  John Bowden
1 hr
  -> thanks, John

agree  Steffen Walter
1 hr
  -> thanks, Steffen

agree  xxxntouzet
2 hrs
  -> thanks, Nadine

agree  Fuad Yahya
2 hrs
  -> thanks, Fuad

agree  Libero_Lang_Lab: strictly speaking, the expression is: DOWN to a fine art
2 hrs
  -> that's right. Thanks, Dan

agree  Christopher Crockett: That has to be the sense of it, though I agree with Dan, and have certainly never heard "get off to a fine art," in U.S. usage; just "we've got that down to a f.a."
2 hrs
  -> same in the UK, but it's Victoria Beckham speaking ;-) Thanks, Christopher

agree  jccantrell: But Posh Spice just can't be wrong! Agree with Christopher here.
3 hrs
  -> of course not, it's the rest of the English-speaking world that has got it wrong ;-)

agree  Hermeneutica: DOWN to a fine art is correct; either a hearing or transcription error, or she started to say "off to a good start" and changed midstream, another kind of Freudian slip ... :)
3 hrs
  -> or possibly she speaks bad English ;-)

agree  Amy Williams
4 hrs
  -> thanks, Amy

agree  Refugio: agree with Dee about changing horses.
4 hrs
  -> yes, it sounds possible, and would explain the phrase

agree  GaryG: esp w/Dan's note
5 hrs
  -> thanks, Gary - I still think it's "down" to a fine art too!

agree  Сергей Лузан
19 hrs
  -> thanks
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Just a comment...


Explanation:
you get about the same number of Google hits for "off to a fine art" and "down to a fine art"... just shows how the language is changing! (and they're not all UK sites either!)

John Bowden
Local time: 11:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 140

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxIno66
32 mins

neutral  Refugio: It's not necessarily that the language is changing; it seems the two phrases may be stored in the same brain bin and can get tangled up.
33 mins
  -> All I meant was that several replies to sarah's answer implied that "down" was correct, and they may well be right in saying that "down" is an earlier form - but whereas 10 years ago I would have thought "to" was wrong here, now it is quite common

agree  Amy Williams: yes, "Posh" Beckham is hardly a bastion of linguistic perfection. :)
59 mins
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Ruth - not for grading


Explanation:
Ruth -

changing horses midstream?

are you Posh Spice in disguise?

;-)

Libero_Lang_Lab
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:04
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 137
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