on ne peut même pas manger un poisson sans (in this context)

English translation: you can't even scratch your nose without

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:on ne peut même pas manger un poisson sans
English translation:you can't even scratch your nose without
Entered by: Charles Davis

12:09 Apr 7, 2017
French to English translations [PRO]
Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / Idioms
French term or phrase: on ne peut même pas manger un poisson sans (in this context)
I'm looking for an idiomatic expression, not a translation.

Context:

"With this company, you can't even ..... without writing a contract".

Your help is much appreciated!
Sandra & Kenneth Grossman
Israel
Local time: 13:43
you can't even scratch your nose without
Explanation:
writing a contract.

Almost anything trivial would do really, though in my opinion it doesn't want to be something you do all the time. "Scratch your nose" just sprang to mind. Of course, you could replace "nose" with something more unseemly if you wanted to change the tone.

"Korea, a country where your occupation is chosen from birth and where you can't even scratch your nose without the dictator's permission."
https://tickley42.wordpress.com/category/deeper-life-issues/...

"Too bad you can't even scratch your nose without someone saying it's a waste of BBC money."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/danwalker/2010/07/i_received_an_e...

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Note added at 23 mins (2017-04-07 12:32:36 GMT)
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Or alternatively (if I may), since perhaps what we want is something that is trivial and routine but a transaction of some kind, maybe
you can't even have your lunch without....
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 12:43
Grading comment
Thanks!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +6you can't even scratch your nose without
Charles Davis
4 +1breathe out of turn
Oliver Toogood
5one cannot even give a fart without
Odette Grille (X)
3 +1you can't even sneeze without...
Solen Fillatre


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
breathe out of turn


Explanation:
"With this company you can't even breathe out of turn"; - if what you're trying to convey is their rigid approach to the application of petty rules and regulations;

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Note added at 3 mins (2017-04-07 12:13:24 GMT)
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...but it does rather depend on what comes after ' sans'; " sans qu'ils en sachent", for example. "You can't even.... without them knowing about it".

Oliver Toogood
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.
6 mins
  -> Thanks!

neutral  AllegroTrans: is "out of turn" needed here?; why not just "breathe"?
43 mins
  -> Thanks
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
you can't even scratch your nose without


Explanation:
writing a contract.

Almost anything trivial would do really, though in my opinion it doesn't want to be something you do all the time. "Scratch your nose" just sprang to mind. Of course, you could replace "nose" with something more unseemly if you wanted to change the tone.

"Korea, a country where your occupation is chosen from birth and where you can't even scratch your nose without the dictator's permission."
https://tickley42.wordpress.com/category/deeper-life-issues/...

"Too bad you can't even scratch your nose without someone saying it's a waste of BBC money."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/danwalker/2010/07/i_received_an_e...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 23 mins (2017-04-07 12:32:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Or alternatively (if I may), since perhaps what we want is something that is trivial and routine but a transaction of some kind, maybe
you can't even have your lunch without....

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 12:43
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thanks!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AllegroTrans
26 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  philgoddard
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Phil!

agree  James A. Walsh
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, James!

agree  Michele Fauble
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Michele :)

agree  Nathalie Stewart
5 hrs
  -> Thanks, Nathalie :)

agree  Nikki Scott-Despaigne: Thanks for having taught me this expression.
1 day 13 mins
  -> Thanks, Nikki! As I insinuated, I think that you might sometimes refer to scratching something else. And on that subject, incidentally, there are Spanish expressions involving "huevos", with euphemistic versions replacing the offending word with "narices"
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40 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
one cannot even give a fart without


Explanation:
more general, if level of language permits

Example sentence(s):
  • Everything You Need to Know to Never Give a Fart About Farting ...

    Reference: http://greatist.com/discover/what-farts-reveal-about-diet
Odette Grille (X)
Canada
Local time: 06:43
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: French

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  AllegroTrans: even if language does permit, the verb on its own (i.e. without "give a") would be much clearer
5 mins
  -> I understand what you mean, but I think you are missing what I mean
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52 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
you can't even sneeze without...


Explanation:
a sneeze is involontary so I am not sure whether you are looking for someone voluntary or involontary.

Solen Fillatre
France
Local time: 12:43
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AllegroTrans: this also works well
1 hr
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