من قلة الخيل شدّوا على الكلاب سروج

English translation: Your own translation "For lack of horses they saddled the dogs"

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Arabic term or phrase:من قلة الخيل شدّوا على الكلاب سروج
English translation:Your own translation "For lack of horses they saddled the dogs"
Entered by: Sami Khamou

23:28 Sep 24, 2007
Arabic to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Education / Pedagogy / Colloquial Arabic Proverb
Arabic term or phrase: من قلة الخيل شدّوا على الكلاب سروج
I would appreciate if a collegue knows the English equivalent to this Arabic proverb. Literary translation: "For lack of horses they saddled the dogs" which is a sarcastic proverb hinting at the appointment of people in positions they don't deserve because better people were not to be found.
Sami Khamou
Local time: 11:42
Your own translation "For lack of horses they saddled the dogs"
Explanation:
So be it then -
As I said in my note above, I think your own literal translation is most suitable here, as it expresses the intended meaning better than a not-quite-equivalent English proverb.
Selected response from:

Nesrin
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
Grading comment
Thank you Nesrin, your answer is most helpful. It is a mere coincidence that my supposed literary translation is identical to the English proverb equivalent to the Arabic one.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +1They hired unqualified people due to lack of qualified ones
Mohammed Abu-Risha
5Dreaming of excellence,They ride thier ignorance
Sayed Moustafa talawy
3 +2any port in a storm/ in the land of the blind...
Aisha Maniar
1 +3something is better than nothing
Mohamed Mehenoun
4they do not have any better/// better than nothing
Assem Mazloum
3Your own translation "For lack of horses they saddled the dogs"
Nesrin
1 +1Damn necessity that has made the blind drives.
Fathy Shehatto


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
they do not have any better/// better than nothing


Explanation:
or you could try the english one: when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

Assem Mazloum
Germany
Local time: 17:42
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
PRO pts in category: 8
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +3
something is better than nothing


Explanation:
the closest for me ...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-09-25 00:41:53 GMT)
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or : Better something than nothing

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-09-25 00:43:16 GMT)
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◊ من قلة الخيل شدوا على الكلاب سروج

والبعض يقول : من قلة الخيل شدّوا على الحمير سروج ، ويعني انه نظراً لانعدام بعض الأشياء الأصلية ، ونفاد الجيد منها ، فان الناس يلجأون إلى ما هو أقل جودة ، وما هو دون المستوى من ذلك .

Mohamed Mehenoun
Canada
Local time: 17:42
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in ArabicArabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Noha Kamal, PhD.
4 hrs
  -> thx

agree  ferines10: Je ne peux l'exprimer de meilleure façon
13 hrs
  -> merci

agree  Mohammed Abu-Risha: They hired unqualified people because "something was better than nothing". What do you think?
3 days 23 hrs
  -> thanks, yeah it could be that... But as they asked for a proverb I just skipped the they hired ...:)
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Damn necessity that has made the blind drives.


Explanation:
اجتهاد قابل للنقد - المقصود هنا - يلعن الظروف التى تجعل من الأعمى سائقا - يشير الى الحاجة التي قد تجعل من المهمل مسؤولا-

Fathy Shehatto
Egypt
Local time: 18:42
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mohammed Abu-Risha: This is just another wonderful translation
3 days 17 hrs
  -> Thanks Mr Mohammed
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
any port in a storm/ in the land of the blind...


Explanation:
here's a couple I might suggest, although I'm not sure they're equivalent:
"any port in a storm" means that in hard times you'll accept help from anywhere even if you don't particularly like the person/place whose help you are seeking.

"in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"...again meaning that although such a person is not the best qualified for the job, they're the best you've got anyway. This one is used more sarcastically than the former and is well-known enough to be shortened to "in the land of the blind..."

Aisha Maniar
Local time: 16:42
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nesrin: Best suggestions so far but I still think a literal translation of the proverb may be best here.
13 hrs
  -> depends on the context - if the document has to be translated fluently, then a sudden clearly translatese proverb will look out of place and disturb the reading experience

agree  sktrans: I also thought of "In the land of the blind..."
14 hrs
  -> yes, I think this is the more appropiate one here
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2 days 16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Dreaming of excellence,They ride thier ignorance


Explanation:
The bigger they are, the harder they fall
i see it like that here
http://www.manythings.org/proverbs/proverbs12.html

Sayed Moustafa talawy
Local time: 18:42
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
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4 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
They hired unqualified people due to lack of qualified ones


Explanation:
I have used what my colleague and friend Prof. Abdullah Shunnaq says: "Ideational equivalence". You simply translate the idea.

Mohammed Abu-Risha
Local time: 18:42
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Fathy Shehatto
9 mins
  -> Thank you Fathy. Your translation I guess is still more literary and better to be used.
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5 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Your own translation "For lack of horses they saddled the dogs"


Explanation:
So be it then -
As I said in my note above, I think your own literal translation is most suitable here, as it expresses the intended meaning better than a not-quite-equivalent English proverb.

Nesrin
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Arabic
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
Thank you Nesrin, your answer is most helpful. It is a mere coincidence that my supposed literary translation is identical to the English proverb equivalent to the Arabic one.
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