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22:23 Apr 19, 2005
Russian to English translations [PRO] Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / local authority bureaucracy
Russian term or phrase:было бы к чему
I know that "это не к чему" means "this is pointless", but can't make this out. Is it, "if there was any point"? Or "there'd be some point in that"?
The context is that this governor has apparently spent huge sums of money for making secure and improving a transport depot. The journalist writes, "Кому и от кого вы обеспечиваете безопасность? И каким образом? Или на все 780 тысяч будут закуплены ремни безопасности? Это э можно всю область пристегнуть, было бы к чему..."
In the general case, this type of phrasing would suggest that there is a lack of ***suitable*** things to strap to. I used the word "lack" as it can mean either not enough or none at all. IMHO the emphasis is on *suitable* things, not just things.
so in that way my answer is probably better BUT the distinction is not made in Russian so this is just speculation. The truth is this expression is not meant to be taken literally - he's just saying that it's stupid to spend that much money on seat belts
The meaning in Russian can in fact be BOTH. It can be understood to mean "if you could find enough things" and/or "if you could find something to strap them to". Obviously, if you want to take it this literally, there would be something to strap people to
Hm. Andrey's answer means that there is NOTHING to strap/buckle people to, and Konstantin's that there aren't enough things. Could the Russian have either of those interpretations? Konstantin's seems to be the more likely - what do people think?
Automatic update in 00:
1 min confidence: peer agreement (net): +7
было бы к чему
Explanation: He's saying with that much money spent on seat belts, you could strap everyone in the region to something...if you could find enough things to strap them to...playing word games
Konstantin Kisin United Kingdom Local time: 19:12 Works in field Native speaker of: English, Russian PRO pts in category: 19