Kopf hoch, Hans! Es gibt noch mehr Forellen im Bach.

English Translation

Head high, Hans! There are more trout in the stream.

I think this sentence is easily understood translated literally: “Head up, Hans! There are more trout in the stream” (or something like that). Why would that need to be so drastically changed? Even Hans becomes John …

It’s the other way around.

The original sentence is: “Cheer up John. There are more fish in the sea.”


The person who translated the English original into German then changed the name from John to Hans, presumably because John isn’t a German name.

  • The German translator furthermore took the liberty to change the general “fish” to the specific species “Forelle” rather than “Fische”.
  • And “sea” to “Bach” (“river/creek”) rather than “Meer”.
  • The word “noch” was also added, changing the meaning to “… there still are more fish …”


Take-away: Translators don’t always stay true to the source material.

In case you want to say this to a friend who got rejected by a girl/woman he likes (and you want to deviate from the literal translation), a common saying in Germany is:

  • Andere Mütter haben auch schöne Töchter.
  • “Other mothers also have beautiful daughters.”