the net of Heaven has large meshes,but it lets nothing through.

枫十二

Senior Member
Mandarin
Do you think the translation of the following Chinese proverb good?

<Chinese removed>: the net of Heaven has large meshes,but it lets nothing through.

I think it is well translated, <the Chinese phrase meaning 'heaven's net'> here is a metaphor, it refers to justice or something like that. it basically means: it looks as if the criminal can get away without being punished, but he is wrong, he'll finally pay.

From another thread here, I know that when you put the net out to catch fish, you use "cast the net".Then if I catch a fish, I want to take the net out, how can I say this?

<English only in this Forum. Nat, Moderator>
 
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  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Do you mean you're looking for an English equivalent of that proverb?

    The one that comes closest is probably: Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small. You'll find variations in wording.

    Here's a thread on the saying: A proverb: The mills of God grind slowly
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    To catch the fish, you cast the net out; when you have caught them, you haul it in.
    the net of Heaven has large meshes,but it lets nothing through.
    We have a similar saying: 'The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small': (it may take a long time, but in the end God's justice will deal with even the smallest things).

    Edit: Barque has given a more traditional and more elegant version.
     

    枫十二

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thanks for all your help.

    This English proverb is interesting. but I am not looking for similar proverb. Another person started a thread in Chinese forum, he is looking for help for some translation. In Chinese we really like to use "net" as a metaphor, we even put out the "net" to catch the criminal. Do you think the following sentence is acceptable in English:

    The police have hauled in the net on a wine-smuggling organization.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The police has hauled in the net on a wine-smuggling organization.
    It is comprehensible, it is grammatical, but it is not idiomatic (not how we would usually say it).
    We might say that the police have rounded up a gang of wine-smugglers (this uses a metaphor from cattle herding).
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    the net of Heaven has large meshes,but it lets nothing through.
    We often use "slip through the net" so Heaven's net has a large mesh but nothing slips through it.

    As regards the police,I think I'd say "The police have closed the net on a wine-smuggling organization" or "A wine-smuggling organization has been caught in the police's net":rolleyes:

    I like Wandle's "rounded up" version.
     

    枫十二

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    The police have closed the net on a wine-smuggling organization":rolleyes:
    Actually, this is very close to his original version. He can choose the version himself now.

    Heaven's net has a large mesh but nothing slips through it.
    I really like this one, but the original Chinese says "large meshes" not "a large mesh", maybe the meshes are left there deliberately to lure you to rush into, who knows!

    Thanks for all your help again. Problem solved.
     
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    枫十二

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    We might say that the police have rounded up a gang of wine-smugglers (this uses a metaphor from cattle herding).
    I like this version most.
    That is idiomatic, but like the example, it is self-contradictory. A net with large meshes will let many things through.
    I think this "self-contradictory" part is the most interesting part. because of this "self-contradictory", a lot of criminals still don't believe it, when they really believe it, there is no way to turn back.
    Perhaps it needs "appears to have" in the middle:confused:
    Finally I get what this "it" refers to. Well, I think the Chinese version doesn't say "appears to have" explicitly too. In Chinese philosophy, every one is different, so every person has different understanding about "small" and "large". in the eyes of criminals, the justice("heaven's net") seems to have very large meshes, but they are wrong, and they can't realize it until they are caught. different person sees different meshes of the heaven's net----of course, This is only my understanding of this proverb, other Chinese may have different oppoins. please correct me if you have better explanation.
     
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