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no duck soup

English translation: Yeuch!!!

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10:42 Nov 13, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / pun
English term or phrase: no duck soup
Hi there,
I'm translating a story featuring a pelican who talks about the good old days spent fishing in the river, where life was hard but sweet.
There is a sentence saying "Life was no picnic" but I was thinking of giving it an extra "birdy" flavour and say something like "life was no duck soup".
What do you think? How does it sound to you? Is this expression too uncommon to use?
Also, would an international audience understand? Would they at least get the gist of it?
Thanks for your help.
irene
irenef
Local time: 09:27
English translation:Yeuch!!!
Explanation:
Google for "duck soup", and I think you'll find it doesn't quite meet your obviously high standards; it means, more often than not, "avoid it altogether".

Personally, I don't like the expression, but then I'm definitely one of the (much!) older generation, and language does evolve, even if (at times) in directions we older members of the community deplore...

No, you stick to "no picnic" for me, and I might even buy the book!
Selected response from:

David Moore
Local time: 09:27
Grading comment
Thanks, David. I liked Gary's and Ken's suggestions too but in the end I decided to go for the safest option.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +13Yeuch!!!David Moore
3 +2some alternativesKen Cox
4Life wasn't cod loin served on a plate
Egil Presttun
4not an easy jobmythili


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +13
Yeuch!!!


Explanation:
Google for "duck soup", and I think you'll find it doesn't quite meet your obviously high standards; it means, more often than not, "avoid it altogether".

Personally, I don't like the expression, but then I'm definitely one of the (much!) older generation, and language does evolve, even if (at times) in directions we older members of the community deplore...

No, you stick to "no picnic" for me, and I might even buy the book!


David Moore
Local time: 09:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Thanks, David. I liked Gary's and Ken's suggestions too but in the end I decided to go for the safest option.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: and IMO an international audience would be bewildered by 'no duck soup', regardless of the intended meaning (not to mention the shades of near-cannibalism)
14 mins

agree  Suzan Hamer: and definitely with Ken.
1 hr

agree  Dylan Edwards: Generally agree with you, though I have found the meaning 'easy task' for 'duck soup' in the dictionary. That's the point, really: I had to look it up. 'Duck Soup' meant only one thing to me: the Marx Bros film of that name.
1 hr

agree  xxxcmwilliams: and agree with Ken
1 hr

agree  Liam Hamilton: I have to agree with Dylan too!
2 hrs

agree  chaman4723
2 hrs

agree  Jessie LN: I think you should just leave it as the innocuous "life was no picnic". If the term isn't bird-related in the original text, there's no need to complicate it in the translated one. Anything else will sound a bit contrived, I think.
2 hrs

agree  airmailrpl: -
3 hrs

agree  Demi Ebrite
14 hrs

agree  Phong Le
23 hrs

agree  Francesca Siotto
1 day41 mins

agree  Caroline Moreno
1 day5 hrs

agree  Rachel Fell: and agree with Dylan about the film, and miralaluna
2 days2 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Life was no picnic
Life wasn't cod loin served on a plate


Explanation:
Instead of "cod loin", some other sea delicacy can be used. Cod loin is a kind of cod fillet without any bones at all. That's why I have suggested that one.


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Note added at 1 hr (2008-11-13 12:19:01 GMT)
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Another suggestion of the same type:
-Life wasn't peeled shrimps served in a restaurant.


Egil Presttun
Norway
Local time: 09:27
Works in field
Native speaker of: Norwegian
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
not an easy job


Explanation:
Idioms: duck soup
An easily accomplished task or assignment, a cinch to succeed, as in Fixing this car is going to be duck soup. This expression gained currency as the title of a hilarious popular movie by the Marx Brothers (1933). The original allusion has been lost. [Early 1900s).
So "No duck soup" means not an easy job.



    Reference: http://www.answers.com/topic/duck-soup
mythili
India
Local time: 12:57
Native speaker of: Native in TamilTamil
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
some alternatives


Explanation:
'life wasn't a picnic' is a standard expression, but if you want something closers to the world of pelicans you could consider:

life wasn't an easy paddle
life wasn't just swimming downstream

or more generally

you had to work for your dinner



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Note added at 2 hrs (2008-11-13 13:12:18 GMT)
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sorry, *closer*

Ken Cox
Local time: 09:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 29

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alice Bootman: These are all good suggestions, and I would also avoid "duck soup." It's not common and sounds strange.
2 hrs

agree  Sheila Wilson: "swimming downstream" would be the pelican equiv. of "all downhill" - I like it
21 hrs
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