la montagne va accoucher d'une souris

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by starzkii, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. starzkii New Member

    USA/ English
    hello. I was hoping that someone could help me translate this expression into english... if at all possible. thanks for your help in advance.

    la montagne va accoucher d'une sourie
     
  2. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Wollongong, Australia
    English - Australia
    Something is going to seem pretty underwhelming (?)

    Do we have some context?

    There is a past thread here.
     
  3. Matamoscas Senior Member

    Ireland English
    Will the Mountain give birth to a mouse? I believe it may relate to Aesop...
     
  4. starzkii New Member

    USA/ English
    thanks. REALLY helpful thread!
     
  5. noddy

    noddy Senior Member

    English Uk
    is it the same as making mountains out of molehills?
     
  6. klodaway

    klodaway Senior Member

    Not quite...

    "la montagne accouche d'une souris" could be used for instance for a 12 member government commission who - after 6 months of consulting work & debating - produces a 2 pages document...

    klod-
     
  7. lucredbaron New Member

    france
    "What a great to-do with a precious little to show for it" est proposé dans le Robert et Collins Supersenior pour traduire la montagne a finalement accouché d'une sourisK.
     
  8. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    perhaps: this is like a storm in a water glass [tea cup]
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008
  9. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    There is, of course, the English expression 'The mountain brought forth a mouse', which is presumably from the same source as the French expression. It is a translation (from the Latin) of a quote from Horace
     
  10. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
    Mountains will heave giving birth, and a silly [little] mouse will be born.
     
  11. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    I don't think there's anything about heaving in the Latin, just being in labour.
     
  12. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Good distinction by klod; starzkii, is the context he gave that of your question? - I think the verbs are different in "It's a tempest in a teapot." (which is what I've always heard for "une tempête dans un verre d'eau") and "To make a mountain out of a molehill." - How about "It'll (turn out to) be a lot of work for nothing." for "va accoucher" (prediction)? Sort of like, sarcastically, "We're all holding our breaths (waiting for the [big] results)."

    PS, While I usually go with Rob & Coll, I think their version is a bit...well, 'labored'.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  13. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    In BE we say "a storm in a teacup", but I don't think that's quite the same, as it means a lot of fuss about nothing that will quickly pass. I would go with Suehil's "the mountain brought forth a mouse", as it's clearly referring to the same source.

    Either that or something involving "underwhelmed", as cropje_jnr suggests.
     
  14. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    I think we could, in both NA & the UK, go to the Swan of Avon for "much ado about nothing" (for une tempête dans un verre d'eau). If we're talking about a commission that took months to produce a short report, then yes, "The mountain (labored and) brought forth a mouse.", but starzkii's original was in the "aller + infinitif" tense.
     
  15. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    Well OK then, depending on context, some variation on "the mountain is going to bring forth a mouse".

    The focus here is on the disappointingly small product of a lot of labour. Not the same as much ado about nothing, storm in a teacup etc, where the focus is on the scale of the fuss in relation to its unimportant cause.
     
  16. Reynald Senior Member

    Ile-de-France
    Français - France
    L'explication claire et concise de La Fontaine :
    "C'est promettre beaucoup : mais qu'en sort-il souvent ?
    Du vent." :)
     
  17. Matamoscas Senior Member

    Ireland English
    All that effort and nothing to show for it: for the moderns, so to speak: GIGO - garbage in garbage out.
     
  18. Zoë Rose Senior Member

    English-Australia
    Maybe, ' much ado about nothing'
     
  19. Silure Senior Member

    Hello there.

    Which comes to poor results. WR leads to "have very little to show for" or " comes to very precious little".
     
  20. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    For the ancients, so to speak, I would understand "garbage in garbage out" as more like "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" or "it's just polishing a turd", which is more a comment on the material you're dealing with.
     
  21. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    Hungary
    British English
    And the English version is, I think, by Henry Fielding ("The Tragedy of Tragedies")
     
  22. Reynald Senior Member

    Ile-de-France
    Français - France
  23. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    I must say this is closer to the French expression than other above, which are somewhat related but not really the true meaning.

    There is also the expression: all talk and no action.
     
  24. Pauline R Junior Member

    English UK
    Of a project that comes to nothing, you could say "fizzle out".
     
  25. Wodwo Senior Member

    London UK
    UK English
    To "have very little to show for" or " comes to very precious little" are OK, they get the meaning over, but they lose the cultural reference to Aesop and the story of the mountain giving birth to a mouse, which exists in English just as it does in French. Given that there is a fairly precise correspondence here, with a specific cultural reference, why throw it away?
     

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