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I'm translating a transcript from an interview in Spanish and my client is set on using a phrase that doesn't feel right. The translation will be used in the caption of a video so its length is very important.

The original text is:

Tratar de, desde esta esquina, poner nuestro grano de arena en el desarrollo del país.

He wants to use: To be able to contribute our small part to the growth of this country. Text in bold is the text in question. I propose "contribute to the growth..." or "play a part in the growth..."

  • Google translate suggests, instead: Tratar de, desde esta esquina, poner nuestro granito de arena en el desarrollo del país, which comes out as the more sensible: Try, from this corner, to do our bit in the development of the country. – Buffy Nov 18 at 23:49
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    @cag51 thanks for the migration, we did not have a question about "grano de arena" so it is a good addition. However (for the future), note that "idiomatic translations" to English are off-topic here, as we are supposed to be experts on the Spanish language. I'll go ahead and edit the question to make it on-topic. – wimi Nov 19 at 9:34
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    in fact, the question could also be moved to English Language & Usage, where they have similar questions with [idiom-requests] and [spanish] tags. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Nov 19 at 10:15
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Finding idiomatic translations to English is not really our specialty, so I will just explain what the sentence means. Grano de arena (or granito de arena) is defined on DLE as

  1. m. Aportación a una obra o fin determinado que quien la hace presenta, por modestia, como pequeña.

i.e., a contribution to a certain project or goal that is modestly presented by the contributor as a small one.

So a translation of the sentence

  • Tratar de, desde esta esquina, poner nuestro grano de arena en el desarrollo del país.

should include this idea that the contribution is small. Therefore, both the translation proposed in Buffy's comment:

  • Try, from this corner, to do our bit in the development of the country

and your friend's suggestion using "our small part" are fine. What is most idiomatic in English, as I said, I do not know.

| improve this answer | |
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    I think in context do our bit is the more natural. – mdewey Nov 19 at 14:20
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    In addition, I've seen the use of "And that's my 2 cents." when someone tries to add modesty to their contribution. Not necessarily meaning it is small or of small value. – zazke Nov 19 at 18:09
  • “Add or put in your two penn'orth” (contracted form of ‘two pennyworth’) is a similar colloquial expression in British English, although probably not heard very much these days. – Traveller yesterday

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