ProZ.com global directory of translation services
 The translation workplace
Ideas
KudoZ home » French to English » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings

On a toujours besoin d’un plus petit que soi

English translation: A mouse may be of service to a lion

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:On a toujours besoin d’un plus petit que soi
English translation:A mouse may be of service to a lion
Entered by: xxxPFB
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

18:23 Dec 17, 2005
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
French term or phrase: On a toujours besoin d’un plus petit que soi
From a marketing brochure for an international property development company (quotation marks are in the original text):

>, certes mais un petit minutieux, sérieux, soucieux des intérêts de ceux qu’il sert. Ces qualités propres à [company XXX] sont celles que ses clients révèlent à travers les pages de ce livre.

This seems to me a French maxim they are referring to, but does anyone know an English equivalent? Or have any suggestions for a translation (something about needing a little helper)?
Sylvia Smith
Local time: 10:29
A mouse may help / be of service to a lion
Explanation:
Aesop's fable "The Lion and the Rat", taken up by many authors, among whom Jean de la Fontaine who wrote a fable called "Le lion et le rat", from which your sentence comes.

A detail: the original La Fontaine line says:... souvent besoin...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 31 mins (2005-12-17 18:55:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Found this in my Oxford Dic of Proverbs: ;-)))
1563: The mouse may sometyme help the Lyon in nede. O prynces seke no foe.
1732: A Lyon may come to be beholding to a Mouse
1842: A mouse may help a lion, as the fable says.
1935: I only offer to show my gratitude by doing what I can. A mouse may help a lion.
Selected response from:

xxxPFB
Local time: 10:29
Grading comment
Thank you Philippe for the reference, and Josephine and Robert for the suggestions. I will see if I can incorporate the fable allusion to make sense for the target audience (as Josephine suggested).
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
3 +6we all need a little helperJosephine79
4A mouse may help / be of service to a lionxxxPFB
3We all need a miniature version of ourselvesRobert Forstag


  

Answers


14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
On a toujours besoin d’un plus petit que soi
We all need a miniature version of ourselves


Explanation:
Note: deliberate use of second-person to avoid dilemma of sexist language (him/herself)

"...who will be more detail-oriented, serious, carefully regarding our own interests.

An idea.

Bonne chance.

Robert Forstag
Local time: 04:29
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

24 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
On a toujours besoin d’un plus petit que soi
A mouse may help / be of service to a lion


Explanation:
Aesop's fable "The Lion and the Rat", taken up by many authors, among whom Jean de la Fontaine who wrote a fable called "Le lion et le rat", from which your sentence comes.

A detail: the original La Fontaine line says:... souvent besoin...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 31 mins (2005-12-17 18:55:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Found this in my Oxford Dic of Proverbs: ;-)))
1563: The mouse may sometyme help the Lyon in nede. O prynces seke no foe.
1732: A Lyon may come to be beholding to a Mouse
1842: A mouse may help a lion, as the fable says.
1935: I only offer to show my gratitude by doing what I can. A mouse may help a lion.

xxxPFB
Local time: 10:29
Works in field
Native speaker of: French
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thank you Philippe for the reference, and Josephine and Robert for the suggestions. I will see if I can incorporate the fable allusion to make sense for the target audience (as Josephine suggested).
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

47 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
On a toujours besoin d’un plus petit que soi
we all need a little helper


Explanation:
Philippe's reference to the fable is, of course, spot on, however it may prove difficult to carry through into the rest of the sentence. You really do need a referenc eto size. So I think you could develop your idea of a "little helper" which to me (and so hopefully to other English speakers) evokes "Santa's little helper". Whereas I think the reference to De la Fontaine is not going to be clear to your target audience.

Josephine79
Local time: 10:29
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxPFB: Oh, I see... All right then!
6 mins
  -> Thanks, Philippe.

agree  Peter Shortall: I thought of Santa the minute I read this (though not Aesop, philistine that I am!)
1 hr
  -> Well, it's that time of year.....

agree  xxxsarahl: I was thinking along the lines of the cat in the hat but this one is even better!
1 hr
  -> Well it was Sylvia's idea, really.

agree  poly
4 hrs
  -> Grazie!

agree  Kate Hudson
4 hrs
  -> Thank you

agree  Michele Fauble: C'est Michèle. :-)
11 hrs
  -> Thanks Michele (by the way is that a male or female given name? As Italian is one of your langauges I wondered.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also: