Google translate gives "über den Berg", which seems wrong. It translated "hump" as "mountain," but "hump" is a small obstacle, not a large one. The context was a comment I left on a post,

If you make mistakes, we are here to help you 'over the hump.'

I would expect the German equivalent to refer to a "narrow," rather than "high" place. Accordingly, my "best guess" is that the German idiom would use words like "knapp" or "schmal."

How would a German speaker render "over the hump?"

  • 1
    the context you are mentioning could be über die Hürden
    – bummi
    May 28, 2013 at 14:42
  • 2
    Wir halten Dir den Steigbügel. ;)
    – elena
    May 28, 2013 at 14:48
  • 3
    Note that in German, "Berg" does not always necessarily imply that something is very high. "Bergauf" and "bergab" for example just refer to a slope of indeterminate height. "Über den Berg sein" actually just means that you've passed the worst, most difficult point - it doesn't say anything about how difficult it actually was. In your context, Em1's "auf die Sprünge helfen" seems spot on.
    – Mac
    May 28, 2013 at 15:58
  • 3
    @elena: Die Steigbügel hält man beim Besteigen des Pferdes, also zu Beginn einer Reise, nicht bei einer Schwierigkeit während dieser. May 28, 2013 at 19:58
  • Hump day today! May 29, 2013 at 8:35

2 Answers 2

  1. What is the translation for (to be) over the hump?

    For this part, I refer to the definition from OALD:

    a large lump that sticks out above the surface of something, especially the ground

    be over the hump
    to have done the most difficult part of

    We're looking for a German idiom which means that we're past the most difficult part of something. There are a couple of idioms expressing this idea. One of them is also quite close in its literal meaning

    wieder Land sehen
    etwas hinter sich haben
    über den Berg sein

    Why the German idiom is not über den Hügel sein or the English one is to be over the mountain, well, this is perhaps for etymological reasons. But I wouldn't dismiss this translation because the 'object in question' is different in its size.

  2. How to translate that particular sentence?

    In my opinion your choice of the English idiom seems quite arbitrary by which I mean you put a slightly different interpretation into this idiom as it has in its typical use cases. For that reason, you probably should have chosen another English idiom.
    For translation I get the grasp of what you're saying and phrase this sentence in German, not considering any more your actual words.

    In this particular example there are two idioms that come to my mind:

    • auf die Sprünge helfen
    • den Weg weisen

    The first one seems more appropriate. The second one is too 'philosophical'.

    My translation (1) close to the original phrase, (2) the sentence in a more appropriate German (but still keeping the initial idea) and (3) a 'non-literal' interpretation based on a suggestion in comments (and with full context in mind):

    (1) Wenn du Fehler machst, sind wir hier um dir auf die Sprünge zu helfen.
    (2) Wir sind genau aus dem Grund hier, dir auf die Sprünge zu helfen, wenn du Probleme hast. (3) Wir sind jederzeit bereit, dir weiter zu helfen.

  • Excellent answer in the first part, but reconsider the second. Tom's usage is perfectly idiomatic, even if it's not the textbook example for this phrase. Also, "we're here to" is translated way too literally (especially in (2)) - it's actually closer to the German "sind wir (jederzeit) gern bereit" or something along those lines...
    – Mac
    May 29, 2013 at 7:21
  • @Mac I also read the full comment and I would actually phrase that completely different in German. For one, I wouldn't use any of these idioms at all, for another I would word that sentence in a way it fits to the previous lines. In this answer, however, I focused on that sentence only and tried to keep most of OP's initial approach. I like your suggestion anyway.
    – Em1
    May 29, 2013 at 7:47

The English idiom "over the hump" and the German "über'n Berg" differ a bit in the meaning. "Over the hump" means more passing a rough spot, while "über'n Berg" means you got over something very serious, mostly health related.

"Sie ist über'n Berg" means she feels better now, even in the meaning of her surviving something.

"Wir helfen Dir über den Berg" would be understood and not be totally wrong, yet not really exactly the same as "over the hump".

You would rather use expressions as "die Hürden zu meistern" or "durch den Engpass helfen".

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