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  1. BCM New Member

    Madrid
    España-español;Spain-Spanish
    Hello all.

    Do you know how can I say "un periodo de vacas flacas" or a similar expression in English?. I want to say that a company is coming out of a "bad period" in which its revenue has been very low and its cost very high.

    I need an expression to be used in a business context, but not formal (for colleagues). More or less like "vacas flacas" in Spanish. Can you help me?.

    Many thanks,
    BCM
     
  2. Masood Senior Member

    Leicester, England
    British English
    Hola
    vacas flacas - me gusta. Se puede decir 'coming out of a lean period/spell' en inglés.
    Espero que te ayude.
     
  3. estrella de mar

    estrella de mar Senior Member

    UK English
    It refers to the section in the Bible - Genesis » Chapter 41. This is the story of Joseph and the Pharaoh. The Pharoah has a dream in which he sees seven fat cows by the banks of the Nile. Then seven lean cows come out of the Nile and eat the seven fat cows.
    The Pharaoh asks Joseph to interpret his dream and he says that it means that his country will go through seven years of prosperity and plenty, followed by seven years of want and hunger.

    So in answer to your question, the company is coming out of a lean period.
     
  4. Masood Senior Member

    Leicester, England
    British English
    Ah! I didn't know that was the origin. Cheers.
     
  5. BCM New Member

    Madrid
    España-español;Spain-Spanish
    Many thanks for the useful translations and the interesting explanation. I love knowing this kind of things.
     
  6. estrella de mar

    estrella de mar Senior Member

    UK English
    You're welcome! (Aunque me gusta mas como suena en espanol - vacas flacas!)
     
  7. AJB Junior Member

    Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    English, United Kingdom
    I think 'barren period' would also do, but 'lean' sounds better.
     
  8. mateitop

    mateitop Senior Member

    UK, English
    Wicked expression - thanks for sharing that with us...

    Great imagery.
     
  9. gred Senior Member

    USA English
    I understand the meaning of a lean period in business for vacas flacas. But in a movie there was a scene where the lover of a married man complained that the vacas flacas were for her and the vacas gordas were for his wife.

    I presume the idea is the same? That the man's resources are all going to the wife? Or is there more to that scene than that?
     
  10. fsabroso

    fsabroso Moderadiólogo

    South Texas
    Perú / Castellano
    Yeah, almost nothing for the lover; and most of the money for the wife.
     
  11. klawska Junior Member

    Polish
    What does a phrase ' en epoca de vacas flacas' mean? The context is economy.
    Regards
     
  12. Tezzaluna

    Tezzaluna Senior Member

    Olympia, Washington, USA
    US English and Costa Rica Spanish
    It is a Biblical reference of Genesis 41. In it, Pharaoh of Egypt had a dream of 7 fat cows and 7 skinny cows. The skinny ones ate the fat ones.

    The dream meant that there would be 7 years of economic prosperity followed by 7 years of economic hardship.

    To be in times of skinny cows means that the economy is not looking good.

    TezzaLuna
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
  13. jinti

    jinti Senior Member

    Perhaps a time of belt-tightening could be a translation?
     
  14. Berrocal98 Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spain, Spanish, Catalan
    Yes, we also say "apretarse el cinturón" (belt-tightening)
     
  15. alexacohen

    alexacohen Senior Member

    Santiago de Compostela
    Spanish. Spain
    Tezz, dearest!!

    The skinny ones ate the fat ones ;)
     
  16. Tezzaluna

    Tezzaluna Senior Member

    Olympia, Washington, USA
    US English and Costa Rica Spanish
    Alexa,

    Hahaha. You are right.

    The grains saved in Egypt during the "fat-cow" years were consumed during the "skinny-cow" years (thus the skinny cows consuming the fat ones).

    I should not be helping while I'm at the office, on a deadline. :(

    Tezza

    PS. Original (incorrect) entry edited. It looks awful to keep wrong information.
     
  17. alexacohen

    alexacohen Senior Member

    Santiago de Compostela
    Spanish. Spain
    We would miss you if you weren't!
     
  18. klawska Junior Member

    Polish
    Cheers, guys!!! Now I feel loads wiser - languagewise and culturewise ;)
     

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