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ins Wasser fallen

English translation: on the rocks

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14:08 Feb 17, 2008
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / Book title
German term or phrase: ins Wasser fallen
I'm translating the blurb for a children's book. The title of the book is "Als Weihnachten fast ins Wasser fiel" and the blurb runs as follows:

"Dass Weihnachten ins Wasser fällt, das hätte der einsame Leuchtturmwärter Claus am liebsten. Doch als der Weihnachtsmann und sein Rentier auf dem Dach des Leuchtturms notlanden, kommt alles anders: Claus soll dem Weihnachtsmann beim Einsammeln der Geschenke helfen. Kaum zu glauben, denn Claus entdeckt dabei die Freude am Weihnachtsfest wieder!"

I'd like to find a translation for "ins Wasser fallen" that works with the literal meaning and the lighthouse imagery as well as the figurative one but at the moment I'm at a bit of a loss. Anybody feeling inspired?
Rachel Ward
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:59
English translation:on the rocks
Explanation:
This might be pushing it a bit, but I'm thinking along the lines of:

For Claus, the lonely lighthouse keeper, Christmas was on the rocks. [He just wasn't feeling festive] ....

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 hrs (2008-02-18 11:25:04 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You might have to add something to it, as I've done in brackets!
Selected response from:

Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 12:59
Grading comment
Thanks Hilary - I might go off in another direction altogether but this metaphor has given me something to work on! :o)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +2splash-landDavid Moore
4to be a flopCatherine Eising
3 +1when Christmas was [almost] washed out
Ingeborg Gowans
4goes down the drain
Vito Smolej
3because of bad weather
Stephen Gobin
3take a nosedive (or) do a bellyflop
LP Schumacher
3"could be rained off"
Stephen Gobin
3to be a wash-out/go down the plug holexxxCMJ_Trans
3to be dead in the water
S Ben Price
3 -1Mayday from Christmas
Anne Schulz
1on the rocks
Hilary Davies Shelby


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
splash-land


Explanation:
How about "When Christmas nearly splash-landed" for your title?

Just an idea to get the ball tolling...

David Moore
Local time: 19:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 40

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  LP Schumacher: I love it!
6 mins

agree  Kcda
22 hrs
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59 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
take a nosedive (or) do a bellyflop


Explanation:
This can't top David's "spash landing," but for the sake of having a selection, I'll offer these two related terms.

I don't believe "bellyflop" is used in the figurative sense nearly as often as "nosedive;" but the concept of someone's Christmas "being a flop" is common enough, I suppose.

LP Schumacher
Germany
Local time: 19:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Kcda: The word "flop" is all right to build on. IMO "flop" would work. Example: this christmas was almost going to turn out to be a flop for Claus. Nosedive: in a hurry,eager etc... could maybe work. Bellyflop? In my opinion (IMO) no way!
8 hrs
  -> (IMO) Thanks! ;)
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
goes down the drain


Explanation:
... possibly too hard: "That Xmas goes down the drain ..."

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 19:59
Native speaker of: Native in SlovenianSlovenian
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
to be a wash-out/go down the plug hole


Explanation:
to be a damp squib

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 19:59
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 64
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
to be dead in the water


Explanation:
or 'to see it dead in the water'. I like ' go down the drain' too. Mine and that one are both a bit harsh.

S Ben Price
Spain
Local time: 19:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
when Christmas was [almost] washed out


Explanation:
another variation on the theme...

Ingeborg Gowans
Canada
Local time: 14:59
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 27

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Roy Williams: I like washout best. How about: The lonley lighthouse keeper, Clause, would have preferred that Christmas was a washout...
12 hrs
  -> I like your idea: was a washout; let's see what the asker has to say about that :) / thanks
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18 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
"could be rained off"


Explanation:
"Claus , the lonely lighthouse keeper, would have preferred it if Christmas could be rained off."

Fairly similar image taken from the world of sport though.

Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
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19 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
to be a flop


Explanation:
Claus, the lonely lighthouse keeper, wanted nothing more than that Christmas should be a flop.

Catherine Eising
Local time: 19:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Kcda: Yes in the sentence you built corrrect grammar & tense for "flop". As a standalone term "to be a flop" IMO not appropriate.
3 hrs
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19 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Mayday from Christmas


Explanation:
for a title

I am not sure about using this or any other image or figurative expression in the sentence you gave. Why not use a figurative title, and simply "...would have loved to see Christmas canceled" for the first sentence?

Anne Schulz
Germany
Local time: 19:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Kcda: It is very joyfull.
2 days17 hrs
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21 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5
on the rocks


Explanation:
This might be pushing it a bit, but I'm thinking along the lines of:

For Claus, the lonely lighthouse keeper, Christmas was on the rocks. [He just wasn't feeling festive] ....

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 hrs (2008-02-18 11:25:04 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You might have to add something to it, as I've done in brackets!

Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 12:59
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 20
Grading comment
Thanks Hilary - I might go off in another direction altogether but this metaphor has given me something to work on! :o)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Kcda: Why? Claus drinks whisky "on the rocks" like - James Bond? The days when Sean Connery was acting as James it was a common expressions, phrase etc... The "rocks" are figurative: ice cubes in the glass surrounded by whisky./Wasn't my intention to confuse!?
53 mins
  -> I'm confused..."on the rocks" means "to be going badly", and is a shipwreck metaphor. It's fitting here as Claus is a lighthouse keeper - someone who would prevent this from happening.
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1 day42 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
because of bad weather


Explanation:
Claus, the lonely lighthouse keeper, would have much preferred it if Christmas were called off/cancelled because of bad weather.

A workable solution. The link between lighthouse keeping and where a lighthouse is located, what it does and what it's exposed to is clear to the reader.

Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
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