1. aucomptoir

    aucomptoir Senior Member

    Australia/ English
    Can anyone give me a 'real' translation of this expression: "mine de rien"?

    Moderator's note: several threads have been merged to create this one.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2012
  2. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    You may not have noticed, but...
    It's hardly noticeable, but...
    or any expression to that effect :
    "Mine de rien, trente kilomètres à pied, ça fait une trotte"
    "I'd never realized it, but 30 kilometres is a fair walk".
    It has to be adjusted to context, but that's the gist of it.
  3. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    there is also 'faire mine de rien' = 'faire comme si de rien n'était' = to stay unruffled, as if nothing had happened.
  4. aucomptoir

    aucomptoir Senior Member

    Australia/ English
    Thanks. I forgot to give some context, but those explanations are v. useful.
  5. I found this thread, but didn't find a fitting idea for "mine de rien"

    Here the context is:

    "soucieuses de ne pas attirer l'attention de la police, elles font le trottoir mine de rien, avec l'air de se promener "

    Any suggestions for a translation? I was considering "innocently"?
  6. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    perhaps casually
  7. KaRiNe_Fr

    KaRiNe_Fr Senior Member

    France, Provence
    Français, French - France
    Innocently? Why not? But it implies that girls doing this sort of activity are guilty... ?
  8. kertek

    kertek Senior Member

    UK English
    Nonchalantly? (although as an adverb this is a little ugly - if you can rework the sentence to use "nonchalant" it's much more aesthetically pleasing...)
  9. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    I would go with casually or with a casual air.
  10. Thank you both!

    In fact they are "guilty", it's for a documentary about Chinese prostitues working in Paris.

    Here's what I came up with for the sentence, but it's not as smooth as I'd like. Any suggestions? (I find the French version poorly written)

    "People call them “walkers”: Careful not to draw attention from the police, they walk Paris sidewalks innocently, as if out on a stroll. "

    or perhaps:

    "They're called "walkers": Careful not to draw attention from the police, they casually stroll the streets of Paris, as if out on a walk..."
  11. frenchlufbra Member

    English, England
    mine de rien, nous aurions deux publics que nous gérons du mieux possible.

    does this mean:

    no facial expressions, we will have two types of people that can manage the best best possible.

    The context is....
    facial expressions when using the mobile phone
  12. nhat Senior Member

    mine de rien = after all
    il est pas si bete mine de rien = he's not that stupid after all
    but your sentence is a bit weird what do you mean by "deux publics"?
  13. heydzatsmi Senior Member

    "Mine de rien" is an expression that means something like "you know,"
    to show that in spite of everything (in spite of people opinion or something like that), ......we will have .....
  14. Bostonien Senior Member

    USA - English
    The definition of "mine" here is "appearance". Mine de rien is an expression that means something along the lines of "even though it doesn't seem like it" or "you wouldn't guess it".
  15. niko Senior Member

    French (France)

    "mine de rien" is an expression which can be translated more or less here by "though, you would'nt think so by looking at it".
  16. Renault Member

    England French
    Thank you for your help with this one - I was looking up the verb miner rather than the noun - hence my confusion - so I suppose it translates as "despite appearances"
  17. eleannor Senior Member

    I've seen the [posts above] on "mine de rien", but none of the expressions I found there seems to fit "mine de rien" in this context:

    Elle savait aussi que sa mère l'aimait follement. Mine de rien, la conscience de cet amour lui servait de colonne vertébrale.

    We're talking about an anorexic girl here, who finds support in her mother, so the meaning is rather heavy and wicked (the biggest support in killing herself she found in her mother).
    I don't think mine de rien in this context can be substituted by "it is hardly noticeable", nor "innocently", "casually" or "despite appearances" (but I could be wrong, I've no idea, really).

    Maybe "after all"? But would that actually make any sense? :confused:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2012
  18. LaBalbe Member

    English & French
    In this context, I would translate this more idiomatically; perhaps "In the end,..."
  19. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
    mine de rien suggests that you might not have guessed how important her mother's love really was to her.

    I think you could find a way to express that in English.
  20. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    Peut-être although it didn't show (up) ou although it was hardly visible/noticeable ? :)
  21. eleannor Senior Member

    but that's precisely the thing - in the book it was clearly visible that her mother's love was the only thing that supported her and pushed her even harder.
    That's why I'm confused about the most basic meaning of "mine de rien", because it just doesn't seem to fit in here :<
    and so I'm having problems with this diabolic expression ;)
  22. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Oddly enough ?
  23. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Remember that a mine is literally a (human) face, so the literal idea behind mine de rien is that of a pokerface, when the truth of the matter cannot be read from a person's facial expression. Perhaps they make something look very easy when it in fact requires great effort. Perhaps they look very innocent while they're actually doing something quite manipulative. Etc. The figurative meanings extend from this idea of something hidden under an unremarkable exterior.

    This sentence seems to come from the novel Robert des noms propres, which I have not read.

    However, I suspect that the idea here is as follows: the anorexic girl knows that her mother adores her... but she does not fully realize that the knowledge of her mother's love is in fact what supports her; she is not aware of the extent to which her mother's love is important. Like her spine, its presence is essential, and yet she doesn't even think about it.

    Do you need to translate mine de rien here, or just to understand its usage? :)
  24. eleannor Senior Member

    in fact I need to explain what it means in French, so I need to understand either the usage or translation, whichever is more clear in the context :)

    I like that suggestion, it makes a lot of sense. I think that if the professor asks, I'll provide all the possible meanings - after all, the matter is free to interpretation (or so I fervently hope :D )

    Thank you for your input :)
    (and for merging the threads, sorry I didn't think about it)
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  25. Santana2002 Senior Member

    English, from Ireland
    This is a very detailed thread with some great insight into the diverses translations possible for this ever so useful expression.

    I think in your example, Eleanor, I would be tempted to translate the phrase as:

    She also knew how much/how stongly her mother loved her. Her subconscious knowledge of this love (is what) supported her/gave her strength ...

  26. phenren Senior Member


    I'm not totally comfortable with your translation. Subconscious do not (imo) really fit here. I'd translate that sentence :" ...And despite any other appearance this love supported her/gave her strength..."
  27. Santana2002 Senior Member

    English, from Ireland
    Perhaps to accurately translate Eleanor's original phrase, we need to include both 'mine de rien' and 'la conscience de': ;)

    She also knew how much/how stongly her mother loved her. And despite appearances to the contrary, subconsciously this love supported her/gave her strength.
  28. phenren Senior Member

    Yes, but it is precisely the word "subconsciously" which confuse me. The fact that her mother loved her insn't subconscious because she know it. Right ? I'd replace "subconsciously this love" by "the knowledge of this love". But again i'm not totally comfortable by this translation. Is knowledge appropriate here ?
  29. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
    mine de rien stresses an apparent contradiction : as important as her mother's love (or knowledge therefof...) may have been to her, it was a fact that the girl was presumably quick to forget.

    Since her awareness was occasional at best, I might suggest a slight change of perspective. For instance : when you/she (really) thought about it, ...
  30. WME Senior Member

    Imperceptibly comes to mind as a proper translation
  31. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    and in a way, the awareness of that love only gave her more backbone.
  32. ID_fX Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Français - Ch'ti (Valenciennes, France)
    Do any of those proposals might make sense for english speakers?

    Mine de rien:

    Complaining: :mad:("xxxxxxxxxx" , she is stupid... / "xxxxxx",he is going to sweat blood)
    "one more niggle", "casual niggle", "free niggle", "one more (niggle/remark) to slip in", "sneakily speaking",

    "one more thing"
    "as you know" (about this situation/person, seeking agreement or casting doudt on sthg):eek::confused:

    Or... "Frankly speaking", it's not gonna be easy (as a conclusion)
    "By the way", don't forget that
    "not to mention it", I was right!;)

    (With a face that shows that you're such an intelligent person, pointing out that your remark is relevant and deserves to be cheered, even if your mate doesn't care (lol), lifting the finger:cool:)
  33. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Difficile d'évaluer vos traductions sans les phrases françaises qui correspondent à chaque proposition, le contexte est essentiel... ;)
  34. rosace17 New Member

    English - USA
    Just to throw in my two cents worth (since I looked up "mine de rien" for a translation I'm doing (context: Sempé's drawing, which "'mine de rien'" portray complete moral tales"). Clearly, mine de rien is one of those expressions that can have 1,000 translations depending on context. In the above, I like "oddly enough" (sometimes, though not for what I'm working on) and, fwiw, would suggest "unobtrusively" or "inconspicuously" (again, depending on context. Good luck all!

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