So viel wie nötig, so wenig wie möglich
This beautifully balanced German saying literally means “as much as [is] necessary, [and] as little as possible”. Apologies for the square brackets; the translator in me hates clunky prose. A quick stop at Google Translate reveals that I am worrying needlessly, for its equivalent is given most assuredly as “As much as necessary, as little as possible”.
When I am not sure about how something would sound, I imagine various people I know quite well saying such sentences aloud. If, like me, you have been an attentive listener to relatives and friends ever since you learnt your nursery rhymes, then this useful departure from set methodology not taught, presumably, in translation degree and writing courses can produce some pleasing results. If it does not, at least it was entertaining imitating Great Aunt Mildred a little worse for wear after one too many sherries.
My imagined cousin reckons “As much as necessary, and as little as possible” is good. All you need is “and”. And you thought it was love.
©2017 Allison Wright
P.S. Another in the #10plus10 series, formerly known as #15plus15. See previous post for details. Total time, including posting on the blog with gratuitous image from my garden, was 24 minutes.