Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by yolanda_van huyck, Apr 2, 2005.
Hola a todos... como traduciriais "buscarle cinco patas al gato"
muchas gracias por vuestra ayuda
Hola Yolanda, en mi diccionario Harrap's Spanish Idioms encontré que "complicate life"
No le busques tres pies al gato; pregúntaselo al profesor
Don't complicate life -ask the teacher about it
Como verás en lugar de 5 pies/patas al gato, también se usa decir 3 pies/patas. El significado no varía.
I think you can say "split hairs"
I hope it helps.
And.. to nitpick ? Could this word have the same meaning as "buscar la quinta pata al gato"??
Lo primero que se tiene que entender es lo que la expresión significa en español. En mi país se usa como "buscarle cinco PATAS al gato", en El Quijote lo usan como "buscarle TRES pies al gato"... lo que quiere decir es que alguien le está colmando la paciencia a uno y corre el riesgo de que explotemos en ira o hagamos precisamente lo que esa persona no quiere que hagamos.
Por eso no se puede traducir literalmente, habría que buscar la expresión en inglés que implique igual ánimo: "you are pulling my last nerve"..."don´t push your luck", etc.
Here in Spain we keep on saying "buscar tres pies al gato", meaning you keep on looking for a solution which is already evident, so I think "split hairs" is a very good translation.
I'm not familiar with the Spanish expression, but could it refer in a general sense to looking for something that isn't there?
To me, looking for something that isn't there could mean assuming that reality is more complicated than it is. It could either be deliberate or accidental. Looking for something that isn't there would certainly make life more complicated than necessary and could test someone else's patience.
If you're looking for a solution when the solution is already obvious, then you're looking for something that isn't really there (there's no solution to search for if the problem's already solved or effectively solved).
If you're splitting hairs, then you're bringing up details that are either nonexistent or so irrelevant that they should not have been considered (they are so insignificant that they weren't really there before you mentioned them). And if you pursue these details, then it's as if you're looking/hoping for them to be relevant even though they probably aren't.
If you don't understand something well enough to be able to solve a problem on your own, then chances are good that you don't know enough to look for the right thing in trying to find the solution, so in that sense you may very well be looking for something that isn't there.
Look here . Note the variation in the expression.
Instead of trying to guess without any context, what we need is a Spanish sentence to translate into English. Then we can choose the best English phrase for the context of that sentence.
¿Cómo se podría decir fuera del contexto?
Los que dicen "buscarle CINCO patas...", en vez de TRES, obviamente no han leido el Quijote.
Gracias por esa observación. Efectivamente no he leído el Quijote y me preguntaba por qué a veces dicen tres y a veces cinco.
Depende de como lo han oido.
To split hairs in my opinion is NOT a good translation for this expression. Look at these definitions;
to argue about whether details that are not important are exactly correct 'She earns three time what I earn.' 'Actually, it's more like two and a half.' 'Oh stop splitting hairs!'
Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press
to argue about very small differences or unimportant details It's splitting hairs to tell people that they cannot lie but it is all right if they exaggerate.
See also: hair, split
Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003.
I think "Don't complicate life/ Don't go looking for trouble" fit the bill much better.
I agree with Jenny.
I also agree with Jenny.
Since no more context has been forthconing, I'll throw these possibilities into the arena.
(a) Don't make a mountain out of a molehill - ask the teacher. (traditional saying)
(b) Don't get your knickers in a twist - ask the teacher. (humorous British phrase)
Separate names with a comma.