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I am looking for a German expression of Tina Fey's quote “Bitches get stuff done.” So far, I have come up with:

  • Hündinnen machen Sachen erledigt

  • Miststücke machen Sachen erledigt

I have also found “Miststücke kriegen was auf die Reihe”, but I think that may translate to “Bitches get their turn”, so it would not fit the intended meaning.

When translating "bitches" into German in this context, should I use the literal translation regarding female dogs (Hündinnen), or would I do better to use a reference to women? If the latter, is Miststücke the correct word?

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    Are you looking for a literal translation? Or rather get the meaning? It might help to add some context of that quote, since not everyone is familiar with Tina Fey. (You can edit your question to add further information)
    – Arsak
    Dec 14 '17 at 0:44
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    Hündinnen hört man praktisch nie. Schlampen kommt wohl am nächsten. Schlampen bekommen ihren Kram hin. oder auch 'kriegen'. 'Machen Sachen erledigt' sagt man jedenfalls nicht. Etwas auf die Reihe kriegen oder gebacken kriegen sind noch gängige Formulierungen. Dec 14 '17 at 0:55
  • btw, the correct translation of "Bitches get their turn" would be "Miststücke kommen zum Zug" (or "kommen an die Reihe", but the variation with "Zug" implies some elbow pushes like the English sentence does, which the one with "Reihe" doesn't).
    – Annatar
    Dec 14 '17 at 7:26
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    To close voters Please do not close phrase requests as off topic. See german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1093/… and german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/628/… and many many more.
    – Takkat
    Dec 14 '17 at 8:01
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    Is it important for keeping true to the quote that bitches are female? Miststück is formally neutral, but leans to the female side, whereas Arsch, Arschloch and Schwein lean to the male side. Schlampe is a possible translation of bitch that does not fit here, because someone who is schlampig literally does not get shit done.
    – Crissov
    Jan 2 '18 at 12:33
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Die direkteste Entsprechung dürfte die Wendung

Gute Mädchen kommen in den Himmel, böse überall hin

sein, die m.W. ursprünglich ein Buchtitel war.

Eine direkte Übersetzung, so wie du sie versuchst, klingt immer ein bißchen holprig.

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If this is about this show snippet, it should read

Aber Miststücke kriegen Zeug [eben] gebacken.

Schlampe doesn't fit here because it has a strong sexual connotation. A Miststück in contrary is a female rogue.

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  • +1 for the link to the clip which should have been included in the question for context.
    – Crissov
    Jan 2 '18 at 12:36
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    Und bitches hat keine sexuelle Konotation? Dec 31 '20 at 23:11
  • @userunknown: Man muss den Kontext sehen. Der Ausspruch ist bewusst kontrovers in der metoo-Debatte. Es geht nicht um Schlampen. Miststück ist die einzig passende Übertragung (Frauen, die sexistischen Männern Gegenwind geben und deswegen von denen so genannt werden)
    – äüö
    Jan 11 at 17:47
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The request is really twofold: one for a word (bitch) and one for a phrase (getting stuff done).

Bitch

The literal translation of the original meaning ‘female dog’, Hündin, is certainly not what is needed here. You want something that ideally says ‘strong woman who frequently pisses off men by being a lot like them but still feminine’. (Angela Merkel, for instance, is in a slightly different category.) It should also be used by women to refer to themselves (as in the song by Meredith Brooks).

If you want to stay with animal metaphors, the closest German equivalent for English bitch (female dog) is Zicke (female goat). It is used mostly by men for a woman whom they find hard to handle because she frequently refuses to comply, has opinions of her own, but possibly in an actual arbitrary, inconsistent, hysterical way.

If you want an originally derogatory term for women that is reclaimed by some women for self-empowerment, Tussi or Schlampe may be a better match. The former focuses on emphasized feminine looks and a sometimes arrogant expectation to be treated nicely by men in exchange for the chance of sex. The latter focuses on a sex-positive, independent but sometimes deliberately careless lifestyle. In other words, a Tussi uses her sexappeal to get what she needs, whereas a Schlampe just takes what she needs which may include men. A Luder is basically both a Tussi and a Schlampe, but the word is hardly ever used for positive self-identification.

Miststück (literally ‘piece of manure’) is somewhere between Zicke and Schlampe, but men will also call a Tussi that if their hopes for sexual compensation are not met. It is not used as much for self-identification.

Alphamädchen (‘alpha girl’) is a term coined to phonologically match Alphamännchen (‘alpha male’) better than Alphaweibchen (‘alpha female’) and it is reminiscent of girl power and Girlie. While Fey may still pass as Alphamädchen, Clinton is too mature and thus only Alphaweibchen fits her.

There are some other, mostly pejorative compounds that involve Weib for ‘woman’, e.g. Weibsbild, Mannweib.

No opponent would refer to Hillary Clinton or another politician as a Miststück, Tussi, Schlampe or Luder in German, but perhaps a Zicke and definitely a Biest (intuitively ‘beast’ but rather ‘minx’). The latter has the advantage of sounding similar to bitch, but the disadvantage that it is not (yet) frequently used to describe oneself.

While Biest is already mean, Hexe (‘witch’) is downright malicious. It can only be used for oneself if the focus is on achieving results like magic.

Getting stuff done

The phrase is easier, here are some related German phrases:

  • etwas hinkriegen/hinbekommen ‘get something done’
  • etwas fertigkriegen/fertigbekommen ‘get something finished’
  • etwas erledigen ‘finish off something’
  • etwas bewältigen/meistern/wuppen ‘manage/overcome/master/handle something’
  • etwas gebacken kriegen/bekommen ‘get something baked’
  • mit etwas fertigwerden ‘deal/cope with something’
  • Resultate/Ergebnisse liefern/erzeugen ‘bring in/produce results’

You can replace etwas/was (‘something’) by Zeug and Kram (‘stuff’), or Scheiß (‘shit’) and Mist. Perhaps alles (‘all, every(thing)’) or jedes (‘any(thing)’) fits even better.

You may want to throw in a German intensifier which is implied in the English phrase: wenigstens, zumindest, immerhin (‘at least’), wirklich (‘really’), tatsächlich (‘actually’), nur (‘only’).

Bitches get stuff done!

Zicken kriegen Zeug gebacken.

Although German does support direct syntactical equivalents of the English phrase as shown above, a slight change may make it sound more natural:

Wenigsten kriegen Schlampen alles erledigt.


Biester schaffen alles.


Miststücke erledigen jeden Mist.
Bitches cope with any shit.

A more complex phrase may actually get the point across better:

Wenn’s fertig werden soll, …
If it needs to get done …
Wenn’s wichtig ist, …
If it’s important …
… muss ein Miststück ran.
… a bitch has to do it.
… lass ein Miststück ran.
… let a bitch handle it.

For an established phrase that has a similar meaning, see the gute Mädchen, böse Mädchen answer, wherein bitches becomes ‘bad girls’.

There are many rhetorical devices that can be applied, or existing idioms that can be adapted.

Weiber wuppen was. (Alliteration)


Ein Mann, ein Wort. ⇒
Eine Frau, eine Tat.


Viele Hände bereiten der Arbeit schnell ein Ende. ⇒
Weiberhände bereiten der Arbeit schnell ein Ende.

Although I’m advising against Hexe above, it does fit well with this adapted proverb, because witches ride broomsticks in folktales:

Neue Besen kehren gut. ⇒
Hexenbesen kehren gut.
A new/witch’s broom sweeps clean.

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"Weiber wirken Wunder."

Die englische Wendung besticht ja nicht gerade durch Präzision. Mehr so ein lockerer Spruch. Ob man das alles auf die semantische Goldwaage legen muß? Crissov hat in seiner schönen Antwort jedenfalls alles eruiert.

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"Nicht nett, aber effektiv."

Kurz, klar + ohne jede Beleidigung.

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    Da fehlt die Antwort, oder?
    – choXer
    Jan 7 at 17:42
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review Jan 7 at 19:43
  • @choXer, ich denke, "Nicht nett, aber effektiv." ist die Antwort hier. - Es handelt sich nicht um eine Übersetzung, aber es wird ein ähnlicher Inhalt kommuniziert: "Bitches" sind nicht nett. "Getting stuff done" bedeutet, effektiv zu sein. Jan 8 at 10:14
  • @SwissCodeMen, I strongly believe that "Nicht nett, aber effektiv" is supposed to be a suggested answer conveying roughly the same information as "bitches get stuff done". Jan 8 at 10:17
  • @SwissCodeMen: Blind aber schnell.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 10 at 18:50

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