hasta en la sopa

Vi al alcalde en la jornada de yoga. Está hasta en la sopa.

hasta en la sopa [idiom] – everywhere; ubiquitous; wherever you turn/look

There’s nothing I like more than a good discussion with a fellow language geek about a word or idiom that’s tricky to translate. Today’s expression caused exactly such a discussion.

Yesterday, some friends and I were chatting in our WhatsApp group. We’re all English-speaking mamas of different nationalities here in Madrid, mostly bilingual and integrated into Spanish society.

My friend Mairi (who lives nearby) and I were singing the praises of our town and how fantastic it is at organizing sports and wellbeing activities for the public. (Free yoga in the parks in the summer, anyone? Don’t mind if I do!)

Mairi said how fantastic our mayor is.

And I answered “He’s ‘hasta en la sopa‘!! But yes, very good at promoting sport and wellbeing for all.”

We then proceeded to try and find a suitable English translation for “hasta en la sopa“.

Messages fired back and forth for the rest of the morning in the group. (We’re very chatty when we get going!)

Here are some of the suggestions we came up with:

  • “Wherever you go, there he is!” [too boring]
  • “He’s everywhere!” [a bit lacking in “je ne sais quoi”]
  • “He pops up everywhere!” [better, but still a bit lacking…]
  • “He keeps turning up like a bad penny!” [nuance a bit too negative]
  • “A dime a dozen” [used to describe things, not people]
  • “Two a penny” [UK version of the American “a dime a dozen”, but also not used for people]
  • “Our ever-present mayor”
  • “Our ubiquitous mayor” [right meaning, but a bit too serious, unless said tongue-in-cheek]

In conclusion, I think none of these are quite the perfect match for the wonderful “hasta en la sopa“, which has a funny ring to it that gets lost in translation when we try to stick too close to the original meaning. And when we try to keep the humour we change the meaning a bit too much.

I think I would go with “He gets everywhere” (which has a slightly mocking tone but not too negative) or “Our ubiquitous mayor” (because if you lived here you’d know how true it is, and it’d make you smile).

Oh my goodness, how much do I LOVE discussions like this one! A language lover’s heaven.

How about you, dear reader? Got any suggestions to add to our long, beautiful, imperfect brain dump?! I love reading your comments and messages.

Image by 1195798 from Pixabay

Notes

* Literal translation of the caption: “I saw the mayor at the yoga day/event. He’s even in the soup.”**

** Note for non-native English speakers (in case you were wondering!): we can’t say this one in English. You’d get some serious blank stares! We’d have to say “He gets everywhere!” or one of the expressions mentioned above instead.

Vocab

everywhere – en todas partes / por todas partes

ubiquitous – ubicuo

wherever you turn [go] / look – dondequiera que vayas/mires

there’s nothing I like more – no hay nada que me guste mas

language geek – un flipado de los idiomas

tricky [difficult] – difícil

messages fired back and forth [this one’s super tricky to translate into Spanish!] – hubo una oleada de mensajes en rápida sucesión

to sing the praises [of someone] – elogiar [a alguien]

Don’t mind if I do! [another super tricky one to explain!) – es una manera graciosa de aceptar algo, o mostrar tu aprobación “me apunto, por supuesto” o “lo hago encantad@” o algo así

it has a funny ring to it – tiene un toque de humor

I think I would go with – creo que optaría por / creo que me quedo con

it has a slightly mocking tone – tiene un tono ligeramente burlón

we’re very chatty – somos muy parlanchinas / habladoras / cotorras

when we get going – cuando nos animamos / cuando arrancamos [to get going can mean both of these things, but neither of these translations into Spanish are quite right for this sentence. Ha! More tricky translations! I’ll leave it there or we’ll be here all day…]

PS – I finally published Episode 11 of The Heartful Spanish Podcast, on the subject of mobile addiction. Anyone else addicted to screens or is it just me?!