Pariind pe calul greşit

And now Romanian!

“Barking up the Wrong Tree” seems to be popular — our regular reader, commenter, and translator Costin has translated it into Romanian.

Here’s the same passage that I excerpted from the other translations:

Puterea militară a Statelor Unite şi a celorlalte puteri occidentale nu este de nici un folos în faţa acestor tactici. Toate cîştigurile imense de care s-a bucurat islamul în ultimii 8 ani au continuat neabătute în timp ce coaliţia fugărea “terorişti” în Tora Bora şi desfăşura trupe în Provincia Anbar. Pentru toate succesele noastre pe aceste fronturi, am cedat duşmanului masiv din teritoriu pe toate celelalte fronturi, fără să ne dăm măcar seama că există o confruntare şi că o pierdem.

Just as with the Dutch and Danish versions, the Romanian title translates as “betting on the wrong horse”.

Does anybody know if the idiom “barking up the wrong tree” is unique to English? Or is there another language with a version of the same thing?

[Post ends here]

5 thoughts on “Pariind pe calul greşit

  1. Baron,

    I agree,to a native English speaker “barking up the wrong tree” and “betting on the wrong horse” have quite different meanings. I’d also be interested to learn whether or not other languages make that distinction as well.

  2. Mace is right. In Danish “barking up the wrong tree” actually could translate into exactly the same meaning, as follows: “at rette smed for bager” [to execute the blacksmith in place of the baker]. But that would require an intimate knowledge of Danish litterature, such as Saxo (1160-1208) and Johan Herman Wessel (1742-1785). – And times being what they are, such knowledge is considered politically incorrect – or even ‘racist/fascist’ – by the Danish ‘nomenklatura’ and academicians. Hence the somewhat misleading tranlslation into something that even they should be able to comprehend.

  3. In Dutch/Flemish, there is a proverb that is close to it: “Hij ontschorst omhoog de verkeerde boom”. Translated: He debarks (or peels) up the wrong tree (removing the bark, or “bast” of the tree).
    But it lacks the idea that there is something up in another tree:)

    The coincidence is that is also has the word “bark” in it. Maybe this was ever a “translation” of the American proverb “Barking up the wrong tree”?

    Anyway, this “bark” proverb is hardly ever used in the Dutch/Flemish language. Therefore the more common “horse” variety seemed better: it has the meaning of “mis-calculation” or wrong assessment and a “gamble” or “match”, which suits the score board in the article:) Not perfect, but maybe the closest you can get to the meaning of the title in Dutch/Flemish.

  4. VH,Kepiblanc,


    I should have added that “barking up the wrong tree” also indicates a totally futile attempt,or misdirected effort( in Australian English).It could also suggest making a fool of yourself, the expression implies more than a simple miscalculation.

  5. I think Romanian is quite a strange language (not in a bad way) because it’s a Romance language but is so surrounded by Slavicness. It’s very interesting.

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