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done with mirrors

English translation: done with (automatic) projections

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02:28 May 25, 2002
English to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial
English term or phrase: done with mirrors
The whole budgetary process is done with mirrors
Daniela McKeeby
United States
Local time: 21:19
English translation:done with (automatic) projections
Explanation:
"All done with mirrors" definitely suggests illusion. Even if it has another meaning here, this is inescapable as a double meaning. But I have the same problem as you in understanding why anyone would create an illusionary budget, or at least that they would admit to it.

The only way it can have any sense in this way is if someone is criticising a budget, saying that he doesn´t believe it, it is all deception.

The other possibilities I can think of are

1) Mirror databases - but that doesn´t make sense, because the whole point of mirrors rather than copies is that mirrors get updated when the source database changes. For budgeting you would use static copies, since the budget must at some point be frozen. Or if not, then why not use the original database, you don´t need mirrors. So this idea doesn´t make sense.

2) It´s written by someone who misunderstood the phrase - but it is hard to imagine anyone who knows the phrase and misunderstands it, it is far too well known.

3) Very tentative, but the basis of my suggestion: that the company has set up an automatic budgeting system which does automatic projections based on current data. Thus they do not directly apply any thought to their budgeting process, their thinking is entirely encapsulated in the programs that do the projections. Unlikely, but possible I suppose.

Surely there must be some more context? In what context do you have this isolated sentence? Who wrote it?
Selected response from:

Chris Rowson
Local time: 03:19
Grading comment
thank you all for youl help
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +10done with deceptionFuad Yahya
3 +2The whole budgetary process is deceptive.Amy Sommer
4xxxxkatica
1 +1done with (automatic) projectionsChris Rowson
1 +1*ntext


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


51 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +1
*


Explanation:
Might this have anything to do with numbers or budgets mirroring (reflecting, copying, duplicating) other numbers or budgets?


    Reference: http://www.asms.org.nz/media/media57.html
ntext
United States
Local time: 20:19
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 379

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  R. A. Stegemann: Or mirrored accounting by which one account duplicates the work of another, as a means to insure accuracy.
31 mins
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +10
done with deception


Explanation:
“Done with mirrors” or “smoke and mirrors” is a reference to a process of compromised integrity, one that involves deception or, in this case, “creative accounting.”

The expression comes from the traditional practice of magic. According to the Jargon Dictionary:

“The phrase, popularized by newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin c.1975, has been said to derive from carnie slang for magic acts and `freak show' displays that depend on `trompe l'oeil' effects, but also calls to mind the fierce Aztec god Tezcatlipoca (lit. "Smoking Mirror") for whom the hearts of huge numbers of human sacrificial victims were regularly cut out.”


Fuad



    The Jargon Dictionary:
    Reference: http://info.astrian.net/jargon/terms/s/smoke_and_mirrors.htm...
Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 893

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  RHELLER
5 mins

agree  Sven Petersson
3 hrs

agree  jerrie: 'smoke and mirrors' is also about illusion...making something appear one way, when behind the 'smoke screen' it is something completely different.
3 hrs

agree  Chris Rowson: I´m pretty sure the phrase was popular well before 1975, though. I´m sure we used this in the 60´s. (Without particularly being aware of the reference to the Aztecs, though :-)
4 hrs

agree  Sue Goldian
4 hrs

agree  AhmedAMS
4 hrs

agree  Terry Burgess
5 hrs

agree  xxxkatica
8 hrs

agree  Tatiana Neroni
11 hrs

agree  jand
12 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +1
done with (automatic) projections


Explanation:
"All done with mirrors" definitely suggests illusion. Even if it has another meaning here, this is inescapable as a double meaning. But I have the same problem as you in understanding why anyone would create an illusionary budget, or at least that they would admit to it.

The only way it can have any sense in this way is if someone is criticising a budget, saying that he doesn´t believe it, it is all deception.

The other possibilities I can think of are

1) Mirror databases - but that doesn´t make sense, because the whole point of mirrors rather than copies is that mirrors get updated when the source database changes. For budgeting you would use static copies, since the budget must at some point be frozen. Or if not, then why not use the original database, you don´t need mirrors. So this idea doesn´t make sense.

2) It´s written by someone who misunderstood the phrase - but it is hard to imagine anyone who knows the phrase and misunderstands it, it is far too well known.

3) Very tentative, but the basis of my suggestion: that the company has set up an automatic budgeting system which does automatic projections based on current data. Thus they do not directly apply any thought to their budgeting process, their thinking is entirely encapsulated in the programs that do the projections. Unlikely, but possible I suppose.

Surely there must be some more context? In what context do you have this isolated sentence? Who wrote it?

Chris Rowson
Local time: 03:19
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 243
Grading comment
thank you all for youl help

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AhmedAMS
29 days
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
The whole budgetary process is deceptive.


Explanation:
If I had only the phrase with no context this would be my choice. The reasoning being that, to a certain extent, when creating a budget, one has to project figures that are not "real" in the sense that changes may still intervene before the monies are spent. Therefore there is a certain illusion.

Incidentally, re the above disussion of the origins of the expression, for what it is worth Agatha Christie wrote "They do it with mirrors" in 1955.

Amy Sommer
Local time: 03:19
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Terry Burgess: I like this.
36 mins

agree  Maria-Jose Pastor: nice job
2 hrs
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
x


Explanation:
I am not offering an answer because I AGREE WITH FUAD YAHYA

This is just to help you understand how "deception" works with a budgetary process:

...The entire industry rests on gulling the public, and making them think that their money is safe and that everything is OK; fractional-reserve banking is the only industry in the country that can and will collapse as soon as that "confidence" falls apart. Once the public realizes that the whole industry is a scam, the jig is up, and it goes crashing down; in short, the whole operation is done with mirrors, and falls apart once the public finds out the score.
www.mises.org/econosense/ch80.asp





xxxkatica
Local time: 03:19
PRO pts in pair: 4
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