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There is an expression in Spanish to denote something that is absurd or unexpected. Usually it can be the maximum expression of expertise and talent.

I wondered about this mainly because in Spanish (In Colombia) at least we have some common jokes but I wondered how would you say that in English.

Joke 1:

¿Cuál es el colmo de un boxeador? .. .. Sacarse un moco con el guante.

Joke 2:

¿Cuál es el colmo de un futbolista? .. .. .. Meter un gol y fallarlo en el replay.

Google translate for Joke 2:

What is the height of a player? .. .. .. And failing to score a goal in the replay.

Which really has no sense whatsoever. Can someone explain a way to say this properly?

This is the definition of colmo in rae.

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Is this on-topic? It sounds more like an EL&U type of question, than a SL&U question. Unless your real question is "What does colmo mean?" –  Flimzy Nov 24 '11 at 7:12
The question is about translating an spanish expression to english. How can this be off-topic?? Being an Spanish expression I don't really see it in EL&U. Unless there is another reason? Meta Topic –  Joze Nov 24 '11 at 7:16
To me, translating X to Y makes sense on Y's site. Which means "«any language» to Spanish" fits here. And "«any language» to English" fits on EL&U. Also, there are already many questions on EL&U that fit that pattern. –  Flimzy Nov 24 '11 at 7:22
I browsed EL&U and found the following: META. That means the question would most likely be redirected here since part of it is asked in spanish. (And I don't see a way to ask it completely in english without spanish examples to clarify what I am asking) The fact that there are many questions on EL&U in that format doesn't mean they are accepted. There are list questions in SO. Doesn't mean they are normally allowed. –  Joze Nov 24 '11 at 7:23
I think for this question to be accepted on EL&U, a translation would have to be provided (perhaps a literal translation, or at least a Google Translate attempt)... then the EL&U folks would try to tackle how to make it more natural. (That seems to be the form most of the translation questions have taken.) –  Flimzy Nov 24 '11 at 7:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm not a native speaker, but I think you could use the idiom:

To be the last/final straw

So it could be:

What is the last straw for a boxer?

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For those two particular jokes I would use the form, "What's the highlight of a boxer's career?"

I can't think of an equivalent that one would apply to a person himself rather than his career, though.

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In this case I would go with pinnacle, summit, apex, or zenith rather than highlight. Now that I answer it I think it might be good for E L & U ... –  hippietrail Nov 27 '11 at 6:17
Those work too, but I think "highlight" is still fine (though it is indeed less literal). –  Kef Schecter Nov 27 '11 at 16:50
I think there's a slight difference in meaning too between highlight vs the others though I can't find the words to express it and I don't know which would be closer to this use of colmo which I'm not familiar with. –  hippietrail Nov 27 '11 at 18:17

what's the worst about being a boxer? poking your nose with the gloves...

I am a native spanish speaker, and this was a way that I could find in English to still have some sense and some humour on it, I've never hear the last straw in a sentence, so I would give my opinion in that, since colmo, you are refering as something bad about it, at least we use colmo like that in México, cheers buddy

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"What is" implies something that actually happens, so I don't think it's a good translation. –  Adriano Varoli Piazza Apr 10 '14 at 15:49
well, certanly its not good trying to poke your nose with gloves, that's the joke –  Poncho Apr 10 '14 at 15:51
No. What I mean is that "colmo" jokes expect and imply that the answer will not make sense. "What's the worst about being a boxer?" doesn't imply nonsense. The other person could well answer "The brain damage". –  Adriano Varoli Piazza Apr 10 '14 at 17:23
Oh, I got it, certainly It does not imply nonsense, It could be used then as "You know what could be weird about being a boxer?--poking your nose with the gloves ", Not sure, but kinda does the job about being a weird question, I think... –  Poncho Apr 11 '14 at 19:58

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