1

Ils se réuniraient pour construire un port de commerce tout ce qu'il y a de plus honnête ? Laisse-moi rire !

Obviously, this expression is used for emphasis, and I’m trying to pin down its meaning. I wonder how my two suggestions fare.

= "As if they had gathered here to build something as respectable as a trading port! Don’t make me laugh!"

= "As if they had gathered here to build a trading port, which is about as respectable as they come! Don’t make me laugh!"

Incidentally, how does it compare to saying:

Ils se réuniraient pour construire un port de commerce, ce qui est on ne peut plus honnête ? Laisse-moi rire !

2

It is used primarily to certify that something has no swindle hidden.

But, as with a lot of has-been judged expressions, belonging to formal register, they are often used to show some emphasis or irony.

There, using irony and intensified by the question mark, this expression hold a sceptical meaning.


For your translation, I think you should keep the question structure.

Simply using honest.

Would they have gathered here to build an honest trading port? Don’t make me laugh!

Using superlative.

Would they have gathered here to build the most honest trading port? Don’t make me laugh!

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    We lack context, but I guess the expression applies to the gathering, not the port. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 6 '16 at 9:49
  • @StéphaneGimenez The expression is underlining that they are not able to do an honest trading port. You are right, it applies to them but only about this particular port. As you said, we lack context to ad more infos. – Yohann V. Nov 6 '16 at 10:26
  • @StéphaneGimenez Do you think that the very act of building a trading port is what is considered as honest as can be? I wonder if this entire phrase "(de) construire un port de commerce" is where the expression qualifies? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 10 '16 at 17:28
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A good translation for this is "As honest as can be". It essentially means that you couldn't be any more honest.

"As respectable as they come" is a similar translation that also works.

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