Il n´y a pas de mal à se faire du bien

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Thecolonel, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Thecolonel Member

    France
    Hi,

    Comme indique dans le titre, je cherche la traduction anglaise de cette expression.
    Et plus précisément dans un second temps, celle de :
    "Pas la peine de vous faire du mal pour pouvoir vous faire du bien (ensuite)"

    Merci d´avance
     
  2. CARNESECCHI Senior Member

    Auvergne
    French / France
    Hello,
    "there's no evil un doing oneself good"

    I would try :
    "It's no use harming oneself just to do oneself good afterwards"

    Hope it helps
     
  3. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    Hmm..looks a bit of a bizarre sentence but here goes anyway:

    It's not worth harming yourself just to be able to help yourself (afterwards).
     
  4. robzuck Senior Member

    USA, English
    how about: 'don't bite your nose to spite your face'...?
     
  5. bobepine

    bobepine Senior Member

    Canada, English & French
    Hi,

    BTW, your title and question sentences are actually different.

    I like "biting your nose to spite your face" as suggested by robzuck...

    but your title, "Il n'y a pas de mal à se faire du bien", actually says "There's no harm in taking care of yourself". It's often used to market spas and beauty products/services...

    b.
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    In British English the expression is to cut off one's nose to spite one's face and it means something quite other than the expression we are trying to translate, in my view. It means to do harm to yourself in your efforts to harm someone else. So that expression won't do.

    Bobepine seems to me to have explained what the title expression means. I'd suggest in British English something like: it's no bad thing to look after yourself.

    As for the second expression: Pas la peine de vous faire du mal pour pouvoir vous faire du bien (ensuite). I'd suggest something like there's little point in hurting yourself now to make yourself better in the long run. Tell that to people who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
     
  7. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    'The end does not justify the means'
     
  8. RobertaLynn Senior Member

    Sweden
    US English
    This is quite late, but in my view, none of the translations into English have quite the right joyful, optimistic tone. "Se faire du bien" is more than just taking care of yourself or looking after yourself (though it's close).
    I'd add something a bit more more positive to bopepine and Thomas_Tompion's suggestions, such as:
    "There's no harm in being good to yourself"
    or "There's nothing bad about being good to yourself"
    "There's nothing wrong with treating yourself well"
     
  9. franc 91 Senior Member

    France
    English - GB
    A little of what you fancy does you good. (is what my old aunt used to say)
     
  10. RobertaLynn Senior Member

    Sweden
    US English
    Very nice! I'm with her!
     
  11. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Yes, I agree. Good suggestion.

    My old aunt had it as: A little bit of what you fancy does you good.
     
  12. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    A little of what you fancy does you good. Marie Lloyd, who first sang the song, preferred Franc91's version.

    Words and Music by Fred W. Leigh and George Arthurs, it was published by Francis, Day & Hunter, copyright 1915.
    The song was typical of those performed by Marie Lloyd - mistress of the double entendre - who introduced it...

    The title has long since passed into the English language as a catchphrase, and has leant its name to several books as well as at least one film. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England)
     
  13. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    I hadn't expected to be at the centre of an ex-pat controversy about this:). As far as I can see everything that both Keith and I say on the matter is true.

    There appear to be two songs. I attach the words of each.

    One is called A little of what you fancy does you good. This is the song made popular by Marie Lloyd.

    The other is called A little bit of what you fancy does you good.

    The second form of words (a little bit of what you fancy) seems to have entered more fully into popular idiom - 4 million Google hits, against 0.75 million - maybe because of assonance with similar homely phrases, like a bit of slap and tickle.
     
  14. RobertaLynn Senior Member

    Sweden
    US English
    A little (bit) of what you fancy does you good is also a great translation of Il'y a pas du mal à se faire du bien, as it's also a famous song, by Eddie Mitchell.
    Thank you both.
     

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