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I'm translating a children's story from Russian into English, and there is a phrase that I'm having trouble translating into a way that sounds natural in English.

A baby boy urinates unexpectedly and in large quantity. I have translated the phrase literally from Russian into "let up a fountain", but it sounds odd to my ear.

Однажды утром папа и мама распеленали младенца, положили на спинку и уже собирались в очередной раз с ним поагукать, но тут малыш вдруг, сам для себя неожиданно, как пустит вверх фонтанчик. Обоих родителей облил.

One morning the mother and father unwrapped their youngster, put him on his back and were about to coo at him once again, but the baby suddenly, and unexpectedly even to himself, let up a fountain. Both parents were drenched.

Can you think of a more natural way to phrase this?

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    Opened up the floodgates? Let loose a stream/river? Not particular to babies though Oct 15, 2014 at 3:04
  • Spouted a golden fountain? Not an idiomatic expression, merely a suggestion.
    – ermanen
    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:21
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    In this context, I would fully understand the phrase, "let up a fountain". It strikes me as mildly humorous. Oct 15, 2014 at 3:22
  • cascaded the room
    – Mazura
    Oct 15, 2014 at 4:31
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    "Let loose a stream" as guifa suggested is a somewhat common usage, but I think the imagery of fountain here works better for this situation, so perhaps "let loose a fountain"
    – AlannaRose
    Oct 15, 2014 at 5:33

1 Answer 1

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One morning, the mother and father had unwrapped the youngster and laid him on his back. They were just about to coo at him again when the baby suddenly — and surprising even himself — released a fountain that drenched both his parents.

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    Alternatively (employing a slightly more colourful verb than the blander "released"), you could even say the baby "uncorked a fountain".
    – Erik Kowal
    Oct 15, 2014 at 4:43

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