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медвежья услуга.

English translation: more harm than good; Pyrrhic victory

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Russian term or phrase:медвежья услуга.
English translation:more harm than good; Pyrrhic victory
Entered by: Jack Doughty
Options:
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16:29 Jul 20, 2005
Russian to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Business/Commerce (general)
Russian term or phrase: медвежья услуга.
Некоторые предприятия пивоваренной отрасли тогда еще работали на оборудовании, привезенном из Германии в 1947-49 годах. СССР оказал себе медвежью услугу: немцы технологии поменяли и перешли на новый этап, мы же взяли старые технологии и эксплуатировали их до недавнего времени.

I don't much like what I find in Multitran for медвежья услуга. I was thinking either "The USSR shot itself in the foot" or "The USSR won a Pyrrhic victory." Am I on the right lines?
Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:22
more harm than good
Explanation:
@
Selected response from:

Andrey Belousov
United States
Local time: 16:22
Grading comment
Thanks. This confirms that I had more or less the right idea. Thanks for the other suggestions too.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +6more harm than goodAndrey Belousov
4 +1unintentional disservice
olganet
5bear(s) (bad) service (s)alex11
3did itself an ill turn
Andrew Vdovin
3to bestow a doubtbul benefit upon
Lagmar
2kill someone with kindness
Yavor Dimitrov


Discussion entries: 7





  

Answers


1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
медвежья услуга.
more harm than good


Explanation:
@

Andrey Belousov
United States
Local time: 16:22
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Russian
PRO pts in category: 197
Grading comment
Thanks. This confirms that I had more or less the right idea. Thanks for the other suggestions too.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  David Knowles: This sounds right, because Jack's suggestion is perhaps a bit colloquial. Depends on the whole translation of course.
2 hrs
  -> Thank you! :)

agree  Simon Gregory: Clear, without quirks , helps fast reading and comprehension, hence the best
3 hrs
  -> Thank you! :)

agree  GaryG: This, and "backfired", are given in Lubensky's R>E Dictionary of Idiioms
3 hrs
  -> Thank you! :)

agree  Natalka Samilenko
3 hrs
  -> Thank you! :)

agree  Sergei Tumanov
4 hrs
  -> Thank you! :)

agree  alex11: agree , or see my answer
4 hrs
  -> Thank you! :)
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
медвежья услуга.
to bestow a doubtbul benefit upon


Explanation:
if you paraphrase this sentence somehow, "clumsy assistance" will do either

Lagmar
Local time: 23:22
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
медвежья услуга.
did itself an ill turn


Explanation:
…did itself an ill (a bad) turn

As a variant.

Sure, Maher did himself an ill turn by not simply quoting Bush (easily done) re.
Jesus-inspired politics … but at least Maher referenced ONE actual incident ...
www.dvorak.org/blog/index.php?p=700

She turned instinctively to the King, but did herself an ill turn in that, for
she stood for a moment between the two, preventing that on which the King had ...
www.trussel.com/prehist/gwa.htm


Andrew Vdovin
Local time: 03:22
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 20
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
медвежья услуга.
kill someone with kindness


Explanation:
This is the expression I can think of. Not sure if it would be in the right register here though.

Yavor Dimitrov
Bulgaria
Local time: 23:22
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in BulgarianBulgarian
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
медвежья услуга.
bear(s) (bad) service (s)


Explanation:
Langenscheidt's Dictionary

alex11
United States
Local time: 16:22
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 7
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38 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
медвежья услуга.
unintentional disservice


Explanation:
an act intended to help that turns out badly; "he did them a disservice

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Note added at 4 hrs 53 mins (2005-07-20 21:23:21 GMT) Post-grading
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you may find it interesting:

Linguistic Tolerance – The Danish Language Council

By Else Mogensen

As an example, the new dictionary now says that \"zigzag\" is the correct spelling of the word that used to be \"siksak\" (because the new form has been widespread for such a long time, the Council has determined that it has become the common form).

The Council handles word denotation the same way. The term bjшrnetjeneste (literally \"bear service\") has traditionally denoted an \"ill-placed service\" or an \"unintentional disservice,\" but today\'s young people use it with the opposite meaning, namely a \"great service,\" and now it is no longer an error but an alternative meaning of the expression. The Council will provide such information to anyone who is in doubt.
http://www.erikseninc.com/pressroom-6.htm



olganet
Local time: 16:22
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kirill Semenov
2 hrs
  -> спасибо, Кирилл :)
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