seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

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edmont
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seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

Beitrag von edmont »


The only way I can see to make sense of the German sentence below, is to translate the red-highlighted clause into conditional form ("could make its impending entrance and wipe out..."), even though the German is in the present tense and literally would be: "makes its impending entrance and wipes out..."

Is the conditional form the correct English translation, even though it's not a literal translation?

______________________________________________________

Auch enthält es eine bemerkenswerte außenpolitische Begrüngund für die Sozialisierung: Sie bewahre vor der "Knechtschaft durch englisch-amerikanisches Kapital, das drohenden Einzug hält und wahre Sozialisierung auf Jahrzehnte auslöscht." ______________________________________________________

Attempted translation:

[The flyer] also contained a noteworthy foreign policy rationale for socialization: socialization would preserve [people] from "slavery to English-American capital that could make its impending entrance and wipe out true socialization for decades."

______________________________________________________

Thank you for any assistance.




tiorthan
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Re: seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

Beitrag von tiorthan »

It could be a valid translation but I'm not sure about that. Could you give a bit more context (time, what kind of text)?
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Re: seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

Beitrag von Duckduck »

edmont hat geschrieben:
The only way I can see to make sense of the German sentence below, is to translate the red-highlighted clause into conditional form ("could make its impending entrance and wipe out..."), even though the German is in the present tense and literally would be: "makes its impending entrance and wipes out..."

Is the conditional form the correct English translation, even though it's not a literal translation? I don't think so. I understand that in the book a quotation from a flyer is given, am I right? The original sentence in the quotation is written in the Present Tense, meaning that the bad influence of this slavery is a fact, not a possibility.  Here's my suggestion:

______________________________________________________

Auch enthält es eine bemerkenswerte außenpolitische Begründung für die Sozialisierung: Sie bewahre (indirekte Rede) vor der "Knechtschaft durch englisch-amerikanisches Kapital, das drohenden Einzug hält und wahre Sozialisierung auf Jahrzehnte auslöscht." ______________________________________________________

Attempted translation:

[The flyer] also contains a noteworthy foreign policy rationale for socialization (by arguing): it were (reported speech) a safeguard against "slavery to English-American capital that makes (or: making) its impending entrance and wipes (or: winping) out true socialization for decades."

______________________________________________________

Thank you for any assistance.
Cheers,
Duckduck :chief:
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edmont
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Re: seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

Beitrag von edmont »


Hi Tiorthan and Duckduck!


Context requested by tiorthan:

The sentence is from a Ph.D. thesis about events during the 1919 German Revolution. The people putting out the flyer did not think that the wiping out of "socialization" "for decades" had happened yet. They thought the "wiping out for decades" would happen within months, however, if German managers, entrepreneurs, and workers did not band together very rapidly to cooperatively take charge of the economy themselves. That's what the group putting out the flyer meant by "socialization," -- not state socialism, but a cooperative, yet still uncentralized, private economy in which workers were also part owners and had some control of and participation in, management.  But at the moment the flyer was written and being disseminated by the non-government group, the government was working on a draft law that within a month or so was expected to pass -- and these people putting out the flyer thought the draft law would impose on workers a mix of the old capitalism and state socialism -- a mix that would in the flyer-writers' view bring an invasion of foreign capital that would then eliminate for decades the possibility of "socialization" in the sense described. The book does not give the whole text of the flyer and only refers to a couple of the flyer's points.

_____________________________________________

Dialogue
_____________________________________________

edmont: Is the conditional form the correct English translation, even though it's not a literal translation?

Duckduck:
I don't think so. I understand that in the book a quotation from a flyer is given, am I right?

edmont: Yes, you are right that in the book a quotation from a flyer is given.

Duckduck: The original sentence in the quotation is written in the Present Tense, meaning that the bad influence of this slavery is a fact, not a possibility.  Here's my suggestion:


[The flyer] also contains a noteworthy foreign policy rationale for socialization (by arguing): it were (reported speech) a safeguard against "slavery to English-American capital that makes (or: making) its impending entrance and wipes (or: winping) out true socialization for decades."

______________________________________________________

edmont's response to Duckduck:

I missed the fact that enthält is in the present tense, not the past, so thank you for pointing that out. I also did not clearly recognize "bewahre" as reported speech -- I knew it was subjunctive, but am not that good at distinguishing the various types of subjunctive. 


Your translation seems to work, but only if "drohend" is translated as "threatening" instead of as "impending." Something "impending" is something that is not currently happening, but is due to happen in the future. 

Also, for your translation to work, your suggestion of "is making" and "is wiping out" must be used -- that would make clear that the process of entry/Einzug was still fairly incomplete, which it has to be. Otherwise the people putting out the flyer would not bother to put it out. All their hope would be gone.


So now we get:

[The flyer] also contains a noteworthy foreign policy rationale for socialization (by arguing): it were (reported speech) a safeguard against "slavery to English-American capital that is making its threatening entrance and wiping out true socialization for decades."
______________________________________________________

Auch enthält es eine bemerkenswerte außenpolitische Begründung für die Sozialisierung: Sie bewahre (indirekte Rede) vor der "Knechtschaft durch englisch-amerikanisches Kapital, das drohenden Einzug hält und wahre Sozialisierung auf Jahrzehnte auslöscht."

______________________________________________________

I suspect there are a couple of problems with that result. 

Minor problem: The words, "it were," probably must be changed into something else. Even if "it were" is correct for reported speech, I believe the form is now archaic in English except in a few circumstances.  But this is actually not a problem, as I can easily find a compromise substitute.

The real problem perhaps is with using the present tense for "auslöscht" and "Einzug hält," because I believe the context shows that Anglo-American capital had not started to make its entrance yet in any significant way, and was not yet "wiping out socialization for decades."

If we assume for the moment that those processes had indeed not yet begun at the time of the flyer, here's what I guess follows:

"Einzug hält" and
"auslöscht" are speaking of the future -- but then the sentence has another problem -- because then it sounds like the flyer is saying that "socialization" definitely will be wiped out -- that does not make sense either -- if the flyer is saying that "socialization" will definitely be wiped out, then the flyer people would not be putting out the flyer and would not be trying to bring "socialization" about. 

So that's how I came to insert the word "could." I assumed that in this situation not only was the future implied, but an "if": if people do not do x and y immediately, then socialization will be wiped out for decades.

But have I missed your point somehow?
Are my conclusions faulty?

Thanks, Duckduck and tiorthan!!

tiorthan
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Re: seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

Beitrag von tiorthan »

edmont hat geschrieben: If we assume for the moment that those processes had indeed not yet begun
But
But at the moment the flyer was written and being disseminated by the non-government group, the government was working on a draft law that within a month or so was expected to pass
for the flyer's authors the "slavery to English-American capital" is an inevitable result of this law and as the law is currently being written the process has practically already begun.

The use of the present tense in this case is comparable with the English use of the present continuous for future arrangements. When you say "I'm leaving tomorrow" you're sure of it, it is practically already happening.
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edmont
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Re: seeking help with a German clause: it's in present tense, but seems to need conditional for English translation

Beitrag von edmont »

tiorthan, thank you for wading into my terribly long post.

Well, the two of you agree in disagreeing with me on this, so I'm inclined to think I must be wrong and will need to change my version.

Thank you tiorthan!   And thank you also Duckduck!

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