it’s not the easiest thing in the world, it’s no picnic
[Dutch phrase of the week]
When you say "ik geef het je te doen" about somebody, it often
implies that you do not envy that person for having to deal with
whatever he/she has to deal with. But there can also be some admiration
conveyed in the message.
– "Eerst afrijden vroeg in de morgen en direct daarna een tentamen zuivere wiskunde; ik geef het je te doen!"
taking a driving test early in the morning, immediately followed by an
examination in pure maths, that’s no picnic!" By the way, when this
happened to Sander, he failed both tests. But I still blame the pigeons
who kept me awake all night.)
– "Ik geef het je te doen, een drieling grootbrengen in je eentje."
("Raising (a set of) triplets on your own, that is definitely not easy!")
– "Zij heeft zo veel tegenslagen gehad, ik geef het je te doen om er dan weer bovenop te komen!"
has experienced so much adversity in her life, to get back on one’s
feet after all that will not be easy!" Lit. "She has had so many
– "Op je dertigste al een succesvolle hoogleraar zijn; ik geef het je te doen!"
("To be a successful full professor at the age of thirty, that’s not the easiest thing in the world!")
– Bereiken: to achieve [verb] [bereikte, bereikt].
– Omgaan met: to deal with, to handle [verb] [ging om met, omgegaan met].
– "Ik vind dat hij goed omgaat met de huidige situatie."
("I think he handles the current situation well.")
– Bewonderen: to admire [verb] [bewonderde, bewonderd].
wie wil dit nou weten??
I think in England we’d more often say “rather you than me!” for this phrase.
It conveys that sense of “you do not envy that person for having to deal with whatever he/she has to deal with” that you mention.
Maybe it’s also more in tune with the literal translation of ik geef het je te doen?
Ik wil dat weten!
@Chris – I guess that translation would work. It probably also depends on the intonation (whether you express admiration or ‘not envying the person’).
I was about to say exactly the same as Chris. ‘Rather you than me’ is the perfect translation, to my mind.
Hi Anna, Chris – I’m not sure about the last example I gave. If you would say ‘rather you than me’ in that case, it seems to imply you wouldn’t rather want that to happen to yourself, which is not how the last example is meant. What do you think?
You’re talking about “Op je dertigste al een succesvolle hoogleraar zijn; ik geef het je te doen!”, right?
I think “rather you than me” also fits better here. To paraphrase, you’re saying “To be a professor at that age? Wow, that’s not going to be easy at all!”. And I guess with the “Wow” you’re also saying and “well done to you for trying”, but I think “rather you than me” covers it with that addition. So, I’d say it covers all the examples and also “half” of the last, as it were. 🙂
Also, I think it fits better because I don’t think we’d *ever* say “it’s not the easiest thing in the world, it’s no picnic” at the end of a sentence like that.
Just my tuppence worth (= humble contribution) as a translation that seems to fit all the examples. How about, ‘That’s no mean feat!’