1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Portuguese
  4. >
  5. "Ele tem um negócio por baixo…

"Ele tem um negócio por baixo do pano."

Translation:He has a business under the table.

December 25, 2013

48 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/austin.and

Seriously, this expression needs better explanation. My Brazilian girlfriend said it translates into "he is hiding something"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jmapurunga

She is correct, Austin.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iracemapg

Complementing. This "behind the table" means hidden, but for being an illegal business, shady, criminal, etc. ...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rennvotur

Seems like the Brazilian in the office didn’t get any input on this one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaneSmith80

My Brazilian boyfriend disagrees; he says "fazer coisas baixo do pano" always involves money or commercial/material interest; this is just as in English, where doing something "under the table" always applies to business transactions, specifically hiding money from the authorities, usually in order to evade taxes. "He is hiding something" has a much more general application. He could be fooling around on his wife, or keeping information from the cops, etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alf-Sawman

So what's the disagreement? :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lavmarx

In Spanish we have something similar, when you say "tiene un negocio por debajo de la mesa." it means that he is doing something he isn't supposed to, not legal or he is hiding it for a reason. For example, if he sells movies (downloaded from the Internet) he has a bussines under the table. He might be getting help from the government because he doesn't work, but he does work, then he is working under the table.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnPrado

exactly! that's what I wrote and it is wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phobic

"He has a business" in English implies (at least to me, an American) that it's a company or a store. "He has business" implies that it's a single occurrence. I'm not sure what was meant. In any case, the phrase "a business under the table" sounds unnatural.

"He does (or conducts) business under the table," might work, but definitely not, "He does a business under the table." That's not a correct English sentence and also sounds as if he has gone to the bathroom under the table.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ajdonnan

I agree. "He does business under the table" would be the idiom in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djesibel

i am a native english speaker and when i say "business under the table" in english, i mean money exchanged without being reported to the government, like when a person gets paid in cash and no taxes are taken out. perhaps that is not what everyone means when they say it but i would never use that phrase in english to imply that someone is hiding something. and, as mentioned, one would say "he does business under the table" or "he pays his employees under the table," not "he has a business under the table." also, the literal translation given in the lesson was "he has a business/thing for short/lower cloth." no "table," no "under," highly unclear.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scadwyn

I too am a native English speaker, and I agree that doing business under the table implies exchanging money that the IRS knows nothing about. I'm wondering if "He holds his cards close to his chest" is closer. Although, that doesn't imply anything other than maybe he is tight-lipped and doesn't reveal his information or his motives. It's really awkward and confusing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benkloester

I don't know what the Portuguese was when you commented, but it's "por baixo do pano" now, which certainly means "under the [table?] cloth". Por baixo means under.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ken.bellows

These lessons aren't supposed to be literal translations. They are brazillian idioms being compared to equivalent American idioms. But i agree that the exact phrasing here is weird, especially since it isn't literal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PabloStanfield

That's right, which is why DuoLingo needs to spend more time making sure that the equivalent Native Language idiom or a reasonable translation of the Brazilian is provided. As all of us are trying to say, the answer they give is not good English, defined as something native speakers would say or can understand.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/langadic

the point is "to do business under the table "in english means specifically to have dodgy business dealings. The portuguese idiom seems to have a much more general sense of hiding something or being devious in many situations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaneSmith80

I asked a Brazilian about this and he says that "baixo do pano" applies rather narrowly to business/commercial situations, not generally in the way you're saying


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hercules45

In wartime and post-war English (UK) the expression would have been "under the counter", and would refer to purchases in a shop avoiding rationing regulations. It is still used today for "shady" deals.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JungleJenn

Yes I put under the counter too, and was marked wrong. Under the counter deals are dodgy deals (tax free).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danainai

im not a native english speaker, so correct me if im wrong but shouldn't it be 'he DOES buisness under the table" instead of "he has buisness under the table". Thats how I learned the phrase, but I might be wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/santiagocarranza

Someone update the English used here, this could be: he has a deal behind your back, he deals off the record, or off the books


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Unl0ck3r

Sooo.... I typed "He has an undercover business"... The translation of the "new words" did not explain the translation of the expression. So I had to guess...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julia_pulia

The sentence is explained both as undercover business and he is hiding something. But these mean two different things. So, what finally is the proper meaning and how should we (not native speakers) use that idiom?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cdjaimesh

as asustin.and's girlfriend said, i think (hiding something)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaneSmith80

I asked a Brazilian about this and he says that "baixo do pano," just like "under the table" in English, applies narrowly to business dealings. So "he is hiding something" is too general and not a good translation of this idiom.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/samjade

"He has business under the table". Not "a business". Meaning, he is hiding something, or conducting business without the knowledge of others.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RaeOvHope

I think "He does business under the table" is a better translation given then word usage. But if it is "he's hiding something", then never mind


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/melodynava

I'm American and when we say " he has a deal under the table " it doesn't always refer to money, although sometimes it does. It can mean any shady deal. An illegal deal, etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FazendaLondrina

I'm English, it's the same there too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NitaMarent

I agree. I too am American English is my first language. The American idiom is equally as broad in use (not just in monetary dealing). In urban usage it can mean hiding something...shady...dodgy...dirty dealings...dishonest...sneaky. So in truth, he's hiding; dealing under the table are all correct in English translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barbara741125

Please tell me what the MEANING of the phrase is. Often there are no equivalent idiomatic phrases in another language to express exactly the same thing, so relying on them for "translation" doesn't work. If I'm going to learn a phrase and remember its meaning I need to get a feeling for the situation the phrase might be used in. Examples would be more helpful than English idiomatic expressions. Thanks for the soapbox :) (People used to stand on soap boxes in the town square to make proclamations. . . .)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/revdani

This sentence should be explained, as it means a different thing than just the words in it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dneufeldt

I think this translates literally "he has business (stuff in general) under the [table?] cloth." I think a close English idion is "he has something up his sleeve" which comes from magic tricks


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FazendaLondrina

I wrote "He deals under the table" which wasn't accepted. The solutions given were "He's deal under the table" which is grammatically incorrect it should be "He is dealING under the table" or "he does a business under the table" this has already been discussed as incorrect and sounds like a dog doing something under the table that you wouldn't want to step in! It should be changed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chemenger8

"He does business under the table" fits better in English.

Additionally, it's frustrating that this example only translates the individual words instead of recognizing the phrase. I could learn the others because the program gives me the English equivalent., but suddenly this one makes you guess what the idiom translates to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paose43

I though monkey bussines would be a perfect translation.. it is the idiom in english for the same expression "undercover bussines", why wasn't accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaneSmith80

"Monkey business" has a silly connotation, and its application is too general for "baixo do pano," which applies narrowly to business dealings. Monkey business can mean the kind of silliness/mischief that kids get up to, or any annoying activity that wastes time, or mildly illegal activity.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/langadic

undercover in english has the connotation of secret agents, police stings, all that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim4Portuguese

I just say "He's up to something (underhand)! To say A business in in English is just plain wrong. Maybe He has/is doing SOME business under the table.' makes some sense - Either way he's up to something sneaky, secretive and possibly illicit.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mikajulia

Eu encontrei esta explicação: Por baixo do pano” significa “fazer algo secretamente”- jornal / revista WAVE- all things brazilian. Em Duolingo a explicação foi: shady bussines. Acho que não é a mesma coisa. Então qual é correto?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaneSmith80

"Shady business" é por aí. "Shady" quer dizer que uma coisa é quase ilegal, ou não é tão ético


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julia_pulia

What do you mean with this phrase - undercover business or hiding something, because they are different


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/manofsnow

"he's hiding something" is more like it i would translate this, literally, as "he has a deal under the cloth" he's doing something without your knowing "he has business under the table" is not this phrase; that means getting paid under the table, without the government knowing and taking the taxes out


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mdmitchell

I think the better translation here might be, "...behind their back." or "behind the scene" more than "under the table" as is being discussed here.

When you go behind someone's back, you do it in a way that is to hide it from them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RedJess

Not if it's about a business... It would be "under the table"... Or, where I'm from we say "under the counter" but duo didn't accept it. A better translation might be "he conducts his business under the table/counter"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mdmitchell

You should read the earlier comments, your comment has already been made. "He has a business...." does not go with "under the table". If you are going to keep "He has a business...." then you need a different expression. If he is merely hiding his business, it is not, "under the table" which implies avoiding taxes and not reporting it to the government. If he is hiding it from his wife, you need a different expression "He has a business behind her back." It is an awkward sentence at best, and should be removed or changed. If you use "under the counter", I am guessing you are Irish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roberto_Maxr

Other form is: Ele tem um negócio por <debaixo> do pano. There's a popular old song by Ney Matogrosso that title is "Por debaixo dos panos". With the same meaning. - Listen and enjoy it! It is very cool. https://youtu.be/QwsJOoBh0gQ


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bis612099

The confusion for me is that this is singular 'um negócio". "He has an under the table deal." If its a habit "He deals or does deals under the table."

Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.