When barbers have nothing to do, they cut each other’s hair.

Discussion in 'Türkçe (Turkish)' started by seitt, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Greetings

    Please, do you have a saying like, “When barbers have nothing to do, they cut each other’s hair.”?

    If so, how do you say it exactly? Of course, you may use a different profession as your example.

    All the best, and many thanks,

    Simon
     
  2. jcpjcp Senior Member

    Turkish/Turkic
    Translation: Berberler yapacak bir şey bulamadıkları zaman, birbirlerinin saçlarını keserler.
     
  3. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Many thanks - is this actually a recognized Turkish saying?
     
  4. Estella Senior Member

    Turkey, Turkish
    No, I don't think it is. Can you use the idiom in context? Although I understand the meaning, I can't think of an equivalent idiom. More context might trigger ideas.
     
  5. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Much obliged - it's actually a Persian saying:
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2609505
    I frequently find that Turkish and Persian share sayings, proverbs etc.
    To me it means that when people of a particular profession have nothing else to do, they practise on each other.

    The context in which I first heard the saying was in a kind of documentary about a film director who was temporarily unable to make films.
    He got out his mobile phone and started filming the scene outside his window and his friend said, “When barbers have nothing to do, they cut each other’s hair!”
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  6. ouzhantekin Senior Member

    Istanbul /伊斯坦堡
    Turkish - Standard
    I would be glad to help, seitt but unfortunately I couldn't understand what they mean with that proverb. At first glance I thought it might mean "when they have nothing to do they start doing trivial things". Is that so?
     
  7. jcpjcp Senior Member

    Turkish/Turkic
    Although I am not sure excatly but it might be related with the idiom of "sinek avlamak". It is used to say that shop does not have any customers. As I have said, I am not sure. We need to know more about the context .
     
  8. Estella Senior Member

    Turkey, Turkish
    I asked my parents and they both confirmed that they had heard of the saying, though apparently it's not a very common one - I for one have never heard of it and haven't been able to find it in dictionaries either. My mum interpreted it just the way you do, i.e. "when people of a particular profession have nothing else to do, they practise on each other" (to keep their hand in).
     
  9. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Thank you so much - the following contribution from my wife is of interest: Terzi kendi dikişini dikemez.

    Furthermore, do you have a saying like, "The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot"?

    So, when professionals are busy they look after their customers and when they are idle they look after each other - this would seem to give them very little time for themselves and even less time for their families:D!
     
  10. Reverence Senior Member

    Turkish
    The saying your wife told you about, "Terzi kendi söküğünü dikemez," means exactly "The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot." A professional, for various reasons, hardly ever benefits their own professional skill, and it's invariably the case with their close circle as well. Now that I think of it, I used to be the head of the technical assistance department of a company and my sister would keep asking me for help with her failing computer. It often took long enough for her calls to turn into nagging sessions before I'd get around to fixing it.
     
  11. shafaq Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    Hey Seitt ! You are not in the wrong when you expect the Turkish counterpart of it.
    It is "Aylak berber; ...ini tartar.", exactly fits the context and pretty known among people in daily colloquial language but a bit vulgar.

    In English; it is "idle/vagrant barber weighs his penis".
     
  12. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    Ankara
    Turkish
    Interesting. I have heard the expression: Aylak bakkal taşak tartar. (Idle grocer weighs testicles).

    But I think it rather means: people who can't find anything to do get busy with meaningless errands.
     
  13. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Many thanks, most interesting!
     

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