A bad workman blames his tools

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by dn88, May 25, 2007.

  1. dn88 Senior Member


    There is such a saying in English: "A bad workman blames his tools". I would like to know whether you have its equivalent in your own language.

    In Polish:

    "Złej baletnicy przeszkadza rąbek u spódnicy."
    --> (almost) literally: "A bad ballerina gets disturbed by the hem of her skirt."

    Hope you get my point. :) Literal translations are really welome. :D


  2. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    dekinowarui shokunin-wa jibun-no dōgu-ni nankuse-o tsukeru.
    bad workman-TOPIC self-GENITIVE tool-DATIVE findFaultwih.
  3. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    For German, I've found:

    Wenn der Reiter nichts taugt, hat das Pferd Schuld.
    (= If the horseman is not good, the horse is to blamed for it)
  4. Aurin

    Aurin Senior Member

    Alemania (alemán)
    Cuando el arriero es malo, le echa la culpa a los burros.
    (A bad wagoner blames the donkeys.)
  5. Caulifleur New Member

    Singapore, (Mandarin & English)
    劣工尤器 - lie gong you qi
    A bad workman blames his tools
  6. doman

    doman Member

    Vietnam, Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    In Vietnamese we don't have this sentence, roughly translated is:
    A bad workman blames his tools
    Thợ tồi làm nhục đồ nghề !

    but we have a sentence with similar meaning:
    Chó gầy hổ mặt người nuôi !
    Sickly dog affronted his owner !
  7. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    A literal translation of the quote into Arabic would be العامل السيء يلوم أدواته (al-`aamilu 's-sayyi'u yaluumu adawaatahu).

    An equivalent proverb in Palestinian Arabic is إللي بعرفش يرقص بقول الأرض عوجة (illi bi`rafeš yur'oS bi'uul il'arD `ooja) - "He who does not know how to dance says that the floor is is crooked."
  8. dn88 Senior Member

    Thanks to all the contributors.
  9. zaby

    zaby Senior Member

    I've found several expressions in French, none of them is really common :

    Le mauvais ouvrier accuse toujours ses outils (The bad workman always blames his tools)

    Jamais mauvais ouvrier ne trouva un bon outil. (Never has a bad workman found a good tool)

    Les mauvais ouvriers ont toujours de mauvais outils. (Bad workers always have bad tools).
  10. min300 Senior Member

    Iran ,( Persian)Farsi
    hi everybody,

    We say 'Aroos nemitoone beraghse mige otagh kaje' which means: A bride doesn't know how to dance,but she says the room is slanted and this is why she can't dance.
  11. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member


    Oynamayan gelin yerim dar dermiş.
    The bride who doesn't dance says the space is narrow.

    Balık: "Çok konuşurum, ama ağzım su dolu." demiş.
    "I talk too much, but my mouth is full of water." said the fish.
  12. María Madrid

    María Madrid Banned

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish Spain
    Another one:

    El mal caminante le echa la culpa al empedrado.
    (A bad walker blames the pavement... kind of) Saludos, :)
  13. Alijsh Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Thanks. Another variation that I have heard is with divâr (wall) instead of otâq (room). arus nemitune beraqse mige divâr kaj-e. However, otâq sounds more logical ;) And let me write my English translation:

    The bride can't dance [and] says room/wall is slanted.
  14. MingRaymond Senior Member

    HK Cantonese
    In Cantonese,

    We 賴地硬 (Blame the hard floor). ;)

  15. univerio Senior Member

    Vancouver, Cancada
    Mandarin Chinese, China
    In some parts of China, i.e. my hometown, we also say 睡不着觉怪床歪 (One blames the bed to be crooked when one can't sleep.)
  16. ramen Member

    New Zealand
    Korean kind of has the opposite:
    명필은 붓을 탓하지 않는다.
    calligrapher-TOPIC brush-ACCUSATIVE accuse-NEGATIVE
    A good calligrapher doesn't accuse the writing brush.
  17. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Hungarian --- I checked my big dictionary of idioms and there is only the literal translation: A rossz munkás mindig a szerszámait szidja.
    No real Hungarian equivalent.
  18. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    We use from the psalmist the phrase «προφάσεις ἐν ἁμαρτίαις» (in MoGr pronunciation) [proˈfasis en amarˈti.es] < «μὴ ἐκκλίνῃς τὴν καρδίαν μου εἰς λόγους πονηρίας τοῦ προφασίζεσθαι προφάσεις ἐν ἁμαρτίαις (LXX psalm 141)-"incline not my heart to evil things, to employ pretexts for sins" (Masoretic psalm 140).

    We also use another proverb but I'm afraid its content is quite obscene to post it.
  19. Luxiaofeng New Member

    In Vietnamese:

    "Thợ dở lại đổ máy hư"
    (Lit. A bad workman blames his tools)

  20. ilocas2 Banned

    Czech is like Hungarian in this regard.
  21. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    We have similar expression same as Korean does.
    弘法は筆を択ばず(koubou wa fude o erabazu) : Koubou[competent calligrapher] doesn't select the brush.

    Another one:下手の道具調べ(heta no dougu shirabe) : searching for instruments by the unskilled
  22. ilocas2 Banned


    Loš radnik/majstor krivi svoj alat. - Bad worker/handyman blames his tools.
  23. Sardokan1.0

    Sardokan1.0 Senior Member

    Sardu / Italianu
    Sardinian :

    Unu malu tribagliadore incúlpat a sos trástes suos

    A bad worker blames his tools
  24. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Russian: плохому танцоры тапочки мешают /plohomu tantsoru tapochki meshayut/ - ~ a bad dnacer is bothered by his slippers
  25. aruniyan Senior Member

    In Tamil language also,

    Aada theriyaathava theru
    konalnu sonaa

    The one who doesnt know to dance, says the platform/street is slanted/bend.

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