KudoZ home » Spanish to English » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings

tener la brújula cambiada

English translation: He is totally clueless. // He just doesn't get it.

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Spanish term or phrase:tener la brújula cambiada
English translation:He is totally clueless. // He just doesn't get it.
Entered by: Stuart Allsop
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

17:03 Aug 11, 2006
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
Spanish term or phrase: tener la brújula cambiada
This phrase occurs in a sarcastic speech that attacks the new administration of a company, after a major change in the board of directors. This specific comment is directed at one of the new directors, whom the speaker claims is inefective and does not know what he is doing. The exact context is:

"... no vemos gestión en (name of department), hay que retirar al payaso del (name of director), no tiene idea de lo que se necesita, tiene la brújula cambiada,..."

Is this some kind of idiom that refers to his intelligence, or is it just suggesting that he doesn't know where he is going? Either way, I'm looking for a colloquial phrase that means the same thing.
Stuart Allsop
Chile
Local time: 14:55
He is totally clueless. // He just doesn't get it.
Explanation:
OR, more literally:

He is going off in another direction.

Two very common American expressions that would appear to mean the same thing.

Suerte.
Selected response from:

Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 13:55
Grading comment
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I went with Robert's in the end, as I think it fits the context best.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
3 +5He is totally clueless. // He just doesn't get it.Robert Forstag
4 +1he's got his compass heading/pointing south
Marcelo González
5The lights are on but nobody's home.yolanda Speece
4 +1to have the compass pointing in the wrong direction
Luis Javier Otoya
4He lives in a different world.Cinnamon Nolan


  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
to have the compass pointing in the wrong direction


Explanation:
"... his compass is pointing in the wrong direction..."

Luis Javier Otoya
United States
Local time: 10:55
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  yolanda Speece: His "mental" compass. He's off on a tangent!
9 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
He is totally clueless. // He just doesn't get it.


Explanation:
OR, more literally:

He is going off in another direction.

Two very common American expressions that would appear to mean the same thing.

Suerte.

Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 13:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 88
Grading comment
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I went with Robert's in the end, as I think it fits the context best.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marina Soldati
6 mins
  -> Thank you, Marina.

agree  Francisco Rodriguez: Claro, "andar perdido" eufemisticamente
7 mins
  -> Gracias, Francisco.

agree  Rafa Lombardino: I like "clueless"! :-)
8 mins
  -> Muito obrigado, Rafa.

agree  yolanda Speece
9 mins
  -> Thank you, Yolanda.

agree  Jairo Payan
10 hrs
  -> Gracias, Jairo.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
The lights are on but nobody's home.


Explanation:
The elevator doesn't reach the penthouse.

He doesn't have any idea what the company needs. In other words, he is a just a figurehead.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 mins (2006-08-11 17:19:18 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

He's lost in his own thought.

yolanda Speece
Local time: 12:55
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
He lives in a different world.


Explanation:
It seems the original doesn't mean that he's stupid, more that he not on target, off on his own tangent (thanks, Yolanda and Luis).

Cinnamon Nolan
Spain
Local time: 19:55
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Robert Forstag: Me too. I still think that there is an inescapable connotation of "lack of smarts" here--a *connotation*, not an outright statement--with the use of the words *payaso* and *no tiene idea*.
16 hrs
  -> Agree that clown could be taken that way. However, I know people who are not stupid, but have "no idea" when it comes to business, accounting ... 'clueless' in those areas.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 day9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
he's got his compass heading/pointing south


Explanation:
In this context, I think something literal might be just fine.

He may not be intelligence that he's lacking, but rather, just proper direction/orientation.

Instead of pointing north, he's got his compass heading south. :-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 days2 hrs (2006-08-13 19:45:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Excuse me: that's "It may not be..." :-)

Marcelo González
North Mariana Isl.
Local time: 03:55
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  María Eugenia Wachtendorff
17 hrs
  -> Muchas gracias, María Eugenia :-)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search