if it doesn't move, paint it!

This is about an old saying about how the US military works : "If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, paint it!"
The French translation would be in literary terms : "Si il bouge salue-le. Sinon, peins -le"
Any other suggestions ?
 
  • LART01

    Senior Member
    French-France
    I think this is the literal quote=

    If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; and if you can't pick it up, paint it.


    The gist is that very low ranking soldiers can not go wrong saluting everybody and that if an object doesn't belong there than painting it gray will mean it does belong there and nobody will ask embarrassing questions.
     

    mirifica

    Senior Member
    French
    Bonjour,

    En FR cela ne veut absolument rien dire si on traduit littéralement. Je ne vois pas d'équivalent. Quelque chose du genre 'il vaut mieux saluer une pierre que de ne pas saluer du tout' ?
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    The gist is that very low ranking soldiers can not go wrong saluting everybody and that if an object doesn't belong there than painting it gray will mean it does belong there and nobody will ask embarrassing questions.
    Not quite, at least as I remember from the UK. It is used as intructions for new recruits when walking about in the army barracks (or naval ones, where I heard it). If it doesn't move and can't be removed it should be painted white, as everything which is not the ground or a building is painted white.
    The "pick it up" means that if it is not a person nor a fixture then it doesn't belong there and, as an added extra, is possibly stealable.
     

    wistou

    Senior Member
    French - France
    It is an old motto in the French Navy as well, we put it like this:

    "Saluer tout ce qui bouge, et peindre le reste"

    (I used to be a navy officer, by the way...)
     

    mirifica

    Senior Member
    French
    Bonsoir,

    L'objet du fil était de trouver une traduction à cette expression qui n'a aucun sens littéralement en français.
    Je n'ai toujours aucune idée sur la question. Et vous ? SVP merci
     
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