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Man hat's nicht leicht, aber leicht hat's einen.

English translation: That's life: you get to choose between a rock and a hard place.

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05:47 Aug 2, 2004
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
German term or phrase: Man hat's nicht leicht, aber leicht hat's einen.
...Manchmal erzählen sie ihr (der Oma) etwas ganz Trauriges. Dann hört sie nur stumm zu, bis sie sich alles vom Herzen geredet haben. Oft spendiert sie auch ein Gläschen von ihrem selbstgemachten Kirschlikör, um die bösen Geister zu beschwichtigen. "So ist das Leben", seufzt sie dann. **"Man hat's nicht leicht, aber leicht hat's einen."**

TIA!!
Fantutti
Local time: 08:10
English translation:That's life: you get to choose between a rock and a hard place.
Explanation:
A little poetic licence to maintain the chiasm
Selected response from:

Robert Schlarb
Local time: 17:10
Grading comment
Oh boy, I frankly didn't know which answer to pick, Cilian's or Robert's. I contacted the author, and she decided in Robert's favor. So there you go, Robert. 2 out of 2 ain't bad! Again, thank you so much everybody!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +5life's a bitch and then you die
Cilian O'Tuama
4 +1it's a hard or tough lifeIngrid Blank
3 +1That's life: you get to choose between a rock and a hard place.
Robert Schlarb
4It'es easier to get struggle than to keep strugglexxx------
1 -2God will protect us
Jonathan MacKerron


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it's a hard or tough life


Explanation:
according to Oxford Duden

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2004-08-02 07:12:16 (GMT)
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@Aniello: Nothing is missing according to Duden Oxford:
(einfach) easy «task, question, job, etc.»; (nicht anstrengend) light «work, duties, etc.»; ein leichtes Leben haben have an easy life; es leicht/nicht leicht haben have/not have it easy or an easy time of it; nichts leichter als das nothing could be simpler or easier; du machst dir die Sache zu leicht: you\'re making it too easy for yourself or not taking it seriously enough; es wäre ihm ein leichtes zu helfen it would be an easy or simple matter for him to help; keinen leichten Stand haben not have an easy time of it; mit jmdm. [kein] leichtes Spiel haben find sb. is [not] easy meat; *man hat\'s nicht leicht, aber leicht hat\'s einen (salopp) it\'s a hard or tough life*;

(c) Dudenverlag, Oxford University Press



Ingrid Blank
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  wrtransco: does not truly capture it -- aber leicht ... twist is missing
47 mins

agree  Aniello Scognamiglio: thanks for the reference, then it's an option... However, the second half is not in my active vocabulary ;-)
1 hr
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36 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): -2
God will protect us


Explanation:
some poetic license given the context

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Note added at 44 mins (2004-08-02 06:31:59 GMT)
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or \"God protect us!\"

Jonathan MacKerron
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 67

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  wrtransco: God has nothing to do with it
17 mins

disagree  Aniello Scognamiglio: I do not have a suggestion yet, but this is definitely not what the German says.
35 mins
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
It'es easier to get struggle than to keep struggle


Explanation:
Something like that.:)
Or simply "Struggle to get, struggle
to keep."

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Note added at 1 hr 29 mins (2004-08-02 07:16:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It\'s

xxx------
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 5
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
life's a bitch and then you die


Explanation:
never heard the "leicht hat's einen" before, but could this be a possible interpretation?

Cilian O'Tuama
Local time: 17:10
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 31

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gerrit Jan Groothedde: Yep. This was the one I was thinking of. It's all there, including the twist.
39 mins

agree  Heidi Stone-Schaller
1 hr

neutral  Amy Barter: seems a good way of putting it but it depends on the age of the grandmother as this seems maybe more like something a younger person would say.
1 hr

agree  Orla Ryan
2 hrs

agree  AnnikaLight: Nice :-)
4 hrs

agree  Mandy Williams: Hadn't heard it before either but really like this suggestion.
5 hrs
  -> thanks - Und wenn's einen hat, hat man's schwer :-)
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
That's life: you get to choose between a rock and a hard place.


Explanation:
A little poetic licence to maintain the chiasm

Robert Schlarb
Local time: 17:10
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Oh boy, I frankly didn't know which answer to pick, Cilian's or Robert's. I contacted the author, and she decided in Robert's favor. So there you go, Robert. 2 out of 2 ain't bad! Again, thank you so much everybody!!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Caro Maucher: I like Cilian's answer, but I think this one is more what granny would say. Especially if it's still Fantutti's text about the 50s.
39 mins

neutral  Armorel Young: Chiasm? - that's "contrast by parallelism in reverse order", such as "don't live to eat, but eat to live" - I don't see that in your translation.
44 mins
  -> Hm interesting... a very narrow definition of chiasm; what is your source? In any case, may we agree that the parallel structure is central?
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