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To capture all the elements of the original German, I think you need something like:

lost in the quicksand of a dysfunctional bureaucracy

which is not (AFAIK) an established idiom, but should be comprehensible to most English speakers.

Quicksand is a rather elegant word which has its roots in a Middle-English word for "living", "quyk", which still survives in its old meaning of "lively" or "living", rather than just meaning "rapid", in one or two corners of modern English, like "quicksand" and "cut to the quick" (cut to the living tissue)

Alternately:

lost in the shifting sands of a dysfunctional bureaucracy

"shifting sands" is a known idiomatic phrase, and I think captures something of the essence of "versandet"

To capture all the elements of the original German, I think you need something like:

lost in the quicksand of a dysfunctional bureaucracy

which is not (AFAIK) an established idiom, but should be comprehensible to most English speakers.

Quicksand is a rather elegant word which has its roots in a Middle-English word for "living", "quyk", which still survives in its old meaning of "lively" or "living", rather than just meaning "rapid", in one or two corners of modern English, like "quicksand" and "cut to the quick" (cut to the living tissue)

To capture all the elements of the original German, I think you need something like:

lost in the quicksand of a dysfunctional bureaucracy

which is not (AFAIK) an established idiom, but should be comprehensible to most English speakers.

Quicksand is a rather elegant word which has its roots in a Middle-English word for "living", "quyk", which still survives in its old meaning of "lively" or "living", rather than just meaning "rapid", in one or two corners of modern English, like "quicksand" and "cut to the quick" (cut to the living tissue)

Alternately:

lost in the shifting sands of a dysfunctional bureaucracy

"shifting sands" is a known idiomatic phrase, and I think captures something of the essence of "versandet"

1
source | link

To capture all the elements of the original German, I think you need something like:

lost in the quicksand of a dysfunctional bureaucracy

which is not (AFAIK) an established idiom, but should be comprehensible to most English speakers.

Quicksand is a rather elegant word which has its roots in a Middle-English word for "living", "quyk", which still survives in its old meaning of "lively" or "living", rather than just meaning "rapid", in one or two corners of modern English, like "quicksand" and "cut to the quick" (cut to the living tissue)