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Подчинённый перед лицом начальствующим должен иметь вид лихой и придурковатый дабы разумением своим

English translation: Pretty good! See my attempt below

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12:49 Jun 29, 2004
Russian to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / 18-century language
Russian term or phrase: Подчинённый перед лицом начальствующим должен иметь вид лихой и придурковатый дабы разумением своим
I would appreciate any comments on this translation. The objective is somewhat archaic language that hopefully should match 18 century English. THANKS!

Supposed decree by Peter The First:
Подчинённый перед лицом начальствующим должен иметь вид лихой и придурковатый дабы разумением своим не смущать начальство.

My attempt:
Before his superior a subordinate must appear jaunty and feeble-minded at once, lest he subvert the chief with his wits.
Mikhail Kropotov
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:09
English translation:Pretty good! See my attempt below
Explanation:
Before his superior a subordinate must appear both lively and feeble-minded, lest he subvert the leader with his wits.

I'm also thinking of "dim-witted", but I don't like the two "wit"s or the combination of lively and dim. Maybe "stupid" will do. Sounds a bit like an eager dog!

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Note added at 1 hr 1 min (2004-06-29 13:51:46 GMT)
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I replaced \"at once\" with \"both\", which I think is closer. You could say \"at the same time\", but but \"both\" covers this in a neater way. Superior and subordinate go well together.

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Note added at 1 hr 5 mins (2004-06-29 13:55:10 GMT)
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An alternative would be \"willing and stupid\". I didn\'t comment on \"jaunty\", but it has very restricted use nowadays - mostly for a cap set at a jaunty angle - and in this context it jars.

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Note added at 1 day 50 mins (2004-06-30 13:40:54 GMT)
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Looking at these responses, \"lively/alert but not too clever\" might get the sense better. Stupid servants drop things and aren\'t much use!
Selected response from:

David Knowles
Local time: 03:09
Grading comment
Thanks, David! I've passed on your suggestions to the asker.
Also, thanks to all the peer-graders!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +4Pretty good! See my attempt below
David Knowles


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Помогите проверить предложение
Pretty good! See my attempt below


Explanation:
Before his superior a subordinate must appear both lively and feeble-minded, lest he subvert the leader with his wits.

I'm also thinking of "dim-witted", but I don't like the two "wit"s or the combination of lively and dim. Maybe "stupid" will do. Sounds a bit like an eager dog!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 1 min (2004-06-29 13:51:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I replaced \"at once\" with \"both\", which I think is closer. You could say \"at the same time\", but but \"both\" covers this in a neater way. Superior and subordinate go well together.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 5 mins (2004-06-29 13:55:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

An alternative would be \"willing and stupid\". I didn\'t comment on \"jaunty\", but it has very restricted use nowadays - mostly for a cap set at a jaunty angle - and in this context it jars.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day 50 mins (2004-06-30 13:40:54 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Looking at these responses, \"lively/alert but not too clever\" might get the sense better. Stupid servants drop things and aren\'t much use!

David Knowles
Local time: 03:09
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 198
Grading comment
Thanks, David! I've passed on your suggestions to the asker.
Also, thanks to all the peer-graders!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Karusik: I think "perplex" or "confuse" better describes the meaning of "смущать", and "at once" is not necessary at all.
10 mins
  -> You are right in a literal sense, but "subvert" is a good word here, and I suspect is the underlying meaning, of not causing a threat by being too clever.

agree  xxxsergey: 'daring' for лихой?
1 hr
  -> Not really. A daring person is not subservient, whereas a lively one may be!

agree  Rusinterp: daring and not too bright...does sound like an eager dog, doesn't it :)
15 hrs
  -> See above about "daring". "Not too bright" might be good!

agree  Dmitry Kozlov: Used to be my fave phrase :) Lively and doltish, eh?
23 hrs
  -> Doltish is too colloquial, and gives the idea of clumsiness. Not helpful for a servant!
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