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le plus petit commun dénominateur des socialistes.

English translation: the very few issues that the socialists have in common

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15:13 Sep 5, 2006
French to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Government / Politics
French term or phrase: le plus petit commun dénominateur des socialistes.
The following sentence discusses a PS convention in preparation for the election.
Face à la multiplication des candidatures potentielles, les propositions issues de ces états généraux pourraient ne représenter que le plus petit commun dénominateur des socialistes.
should "le plus petit commun dénominateur des socialistes" be translated simply as "the lowest common denominator of socialists"? Thank you for your assistance
chloeob
English translation:the very few issues that the socialists have in common
Explanation:
I think that you could say:

the very few issues that the socialists have in common

I understand that they have lots of candidates and not much of a common front, but that they are divided... what they may get out of the convention is just some ideas, proposals, but not much.

cheers
ab
Selected response from:

Angelo Berbotto
Local time: 09:16
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +6the very few issues that the socialists have in common
Angelo Berbotto
4 +2the smallest common denominatorJH Trads
3the most trifling issues
Aisha Maniar


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
the very few issues that the socialists have in common


Explanation:
I think that you could say:

the very few issues that the socialists have in common

I understand that they have lots of candidates and not much of a common front, but that they are divided... what they may get out of the convention is just some ideas, proposals, but not much.

cheers
ab

Angelo Berbotto
Local time: 09:16
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Angela Dickson: yes, this is an alternative//also, as these are 'issues' (plural) then 'lowest common denominator' is not really appropriate.
2 mins
  -> thanks, Angela

agree  Piotr Burzykowski
2 mins
  -> thanks, Piotr

agree  juliebarba: a nice simple way of putting it
3 mins
  -> thanks, Juliebarba

agree  Aisha Maniar
6 mins
  -> thanks, Aisha

agree  Sandra Petch: though I would say "proposals" or "ideas" or sth along those lines rather than "issues".
6 mins
  -> thanks, Sandra

agree  Ingeborg Gowans
5 hrs
  -> thanks, Ingeborg
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
the most trifling issues


Explanation:
the most unimportant or insignificant issues facing the Party and/or the electorate...i.e. splitting hairs

Aisha Maniar
Local time: 09:16
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Angela Dickson: not sure this is quite right - for me, it's not the significance of the issues but rather the small quantity of common issues, given the large number of candidates, that is being talked about here
10 mins
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3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
the smallest common denominator


Explanation:
as "lowest" could have bad moral connotations, I prefer smallest here

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Note added at 5 mins (2006-09-05 15:19:02 GMT)
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of the socialists

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Note added at 23 mins (2006-09-05 15:36:40 GMT)
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Get a common denominator - the smallest number that both denominators can divide into ... Note: The smallest common denominator is called the "least common ...
regentsprep.org/Regents/mathb/3A2/addfrac.htm - 24k

JH Trads
United States
Local time: 03:16
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 3

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Angela Dickson: 'lowest common denominator' is a set phrase - 'smallest' sounds strange
2 mins
  -> thanks Angela :)

agree  juliebarba: agree for lowest/smallest comment
3 mins
  -> thanks juliebarba :)

agree  Fiorsam: I see no reason to paraphrase this. It's perfectly good idiomatic English.
18 mins
  -> thanks Fiorsam :)

neutral  Richard Benham: Angela is right. "Lowest common denominator" is a set phrase, occasionally also "least common denominator". You are right about "of *the*".
1 hr
  -> thanks Richard :)
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