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Thread: Please can I have some help with translating some new sentences

  1. #1
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    Please can I have some help with translating some new sentences

    Here is another passage that I have attempted to translate into English and learn the ins and outs of. Again, for ease of reference, I have split it into individual sentences! This text has presented me with the most challenges so far.

    Thanks so much for any help offered!

    1. Дорогая Джейн,
    Большое спасибо за твоё письмо!
    1. Dear Jane, Thank you very much for your letter!

    2. Прости, что я так долга не писала.
    2. Sorry I have taken so long to write (back/ reply).

    3. Ты так интересно описала свою поездку в Венецию.
    3.1 You described your trip to Venice so interestingly.
    3.2 The description of your trip to Venice was so interesting.

    4. А я только что вернулась из Петербурга.
    4.1 I have just returned from St. Petersburg.
    4. Why does ‘А’ occur at the beginning of the sentence? Does it render the sentence, more accurately, as:

    4.2 Additionally (i.e. ‘I have also been on a trip), I have just returned from St. Petersburg.

    4. OR, here, more subtly, does the writer (Marina) use ‘A’ with the intent for it to function in a way similarly to ‘и’, by indicating a contrast between Marina’s and Jane’s separate trips? In other words, if ‘A’ is indeed translatable in this context, would it be translated as ‘additionally’ or ‘In contrast to’?

    5. Какой это прекрасный город!
    5. It is such a beautiful city!

    6. Ты знаешь, я сейчас ни о чём не могу говорить, кроме Петербурга.
    6. Now I cannot talk about anything other than St. Petersburg, you know!
    6. Are ‘Ты знаешь’ and ‘Ведь’ interchangeable in the above sentence? Would swapping these around cause a difference in translation?

    7. Ты пишешь о каналах и мостах в Венеции.
    7. You write (In your letter) about the canals and bridges in Venice.

    8. Я никогда не была там, но твой описания так напоминают Петербург!
    8. I have never been there, but your description (of it) reminds me so (much) of St. Petersburg!
    8. Why is ‘напоминают’ in ‘Они’ form?

    9. Я тоже никогда не видела так много каналов, так много воды!
    9. I also have never seen so many canals (and), so much water!

    10. Ведь Петербург расположен нa сма пяти островах, в городе около трёхсот мостов.
    10. You know/ indeed, St. Petersburg is situated on 105 islands. There are nearly/ close to/ almost/ 300 bridges.

    11. Хорошо, что я поехала туда на каникулы.
    11. It is good that I went there on holiday! / I am glad I went there on holiday!

    12. Если бы я не поехала, я не узнала бы близко свою бабушку.
    12. If I had not gone, I would not have gotten to know my grandmother intimately/ closely.

    13. Какой она интересный человек, и какая трудная у неё была жизнь!
    13.1 She is an interesting person, and she has had a difficult life!

    13. Use of ‘Какой’ is not clear to me. Is it really necessary? Would the above sentence still be valid if both uses of ‘Какой’ were omitted? Is ‘Какой’ being used as an emphatic particle in the above context?

    13.2 What an interesting person she is, and she has had such a difficult life!

    14. Ей девяносто лет, но она помнит все события, которые произошли за её долгую жизнь, имена всех людей, с которыми она всречалась.
    14. She is 90 years (old), but she remembers all the events that happened (during/ throughout) her long life, (and) the names of all the people with whom she met.

    15. Она родилась в девятьсот первом году и помнит, как началась революция.
    15. She was born 1901 and remembers how the revolution began.

    16. Она училась тогда в школе, увлекалась поэзией.
    16.1 She studied when (she was) in school, (and) was keen on poetry.
    16.2 When she studied in school, she was keen on poetry.

    17. На одном из литературных вечеров она познакомилась с молодым поэтом, моим дедушкой и вышла за него замуж.
    17. On (during) one of the literature evenings (or parties?) she became acquainted with a young poet - my grandfather - and she married him.
    17. Why is ‘моим дедушкой’ in the instrumental case?

    18. они были очень счастливы.
    18. They were very happy.

    19. Всё изменилось в тридцатый годы.
    19. Everything changed in (during) the 30s.

    20. В тридцать четвёртом году в Ленинграде начались аресты.
    20. In (19)34 the arrests began in Leningrad.

    21. Дедушку врестовали, и долгое время она ничего не знала о нём.
    21. Grandfather was arrested, and for a long time she knew nothing about him (i.e. what happened to him, where he was etc.).

    22. Представь себе она осталась одна с тремя детьми.
    22. Imagine (to oneself), she was left (remained) with three children.
    22. I can see that ‘Представь’ is a form of the verb ‘Представить’, but I can’t see what form. It looks almost like it could be an imperative, but it hasn’t followed the spelling rules illustrated in my textbook. Is it an imperative formed irregularly?
    22. ‘детьми’ is unfamiliar to me, here. If I had been constructing the sentence myself, I would have naturally selected the genitive plural form of ‘ребёнок’, ‘детей’. I cannot see why ‘детьми’ is formed in the way it is.

    23. Старшему сыну было семь лет, младшему два года, а дочери пять месяцев.
    23. The eldest son was 7 years (old), the youngest 2 years (old), and the daughter 5 months (old).

    24. У неё не было никаких средств к существованию: не было ни квартиры, ни работы.
    24. She had no livelihood: no flat, (and) no job.

    25. Если бы она не нашла работу в детском доме, они бы не выжили.
    25. If she had not found work in the orphanage, they would not have survived.

    26. А потом, в июне сорок первого года началась война.
    26. And then, in June (19)41, the war began.

    27. Девятьсот дней, с сентября сорок первого года по январь сорок четвёртого продолжалась блокада Ленинграда.
    27. The blockade on Leningrad (lasted) for 900 Days - from September (19)41 to January (19)44.

    28. Люди умирали от голода.
    28. People were dying of hunger.

    29. Как она выжила во время войны, трудно представить!
    29. It is difficult to imagine how she survived during the war!

    30. А потом, вернулся из ссылки дедушка.
    30. And then my Grandfather returned from exile.

    31. Казалось, всё будет теперь хорошо.
    31.1 It seemed (like) everything was going to go well (at the time).
    31.2 All seemed to be going well, now.
    31. This sentence is slightly unclear to me.

    32. Но он вскоре умер.
    32.1 But he soon died.
    32.2 But he died shortly after (those events).

    33. С тех пор она никуда не хочет уезжать из Петербурга.
    33.1 Since then, she has not wanted to leave St. Petersburg.
    33.2 Since then, she has not wanted to go anywhere (никуда), or to leave St. Petersburg .

    34. Дорогая Джейн! Как хорошо было бы, если бы ты приехала летом, и мы вместе поехали бы в Петербург!
    34. Dear Jane! How good it would be if you (were to) come (here) in the summer, and together we were to go to St. Petersburg!

    35. Ты сама увидела бы, какой это чудесный город!
    35. You yourself would see what a wonderful city it is!

    36. Передавай привет всем друзьям: Генри, Майку, Маргарет и Су!
    36. Convey/ communicate/ impart my [informal greeting] to all the friends: Gerry, Mike, Margaret and Sue.
    36. To all my friends? Your friends? Our friends?

    37. Жду ответа! Всего хорошего! Целую! Твоя Марина
    37. I await your response (answer)! All the best! Whole! Your Marina!
    37. Would a letter include all of these endings, or just one?
    37. ‘Целую’ Can someone offer a short explanation of this ending.

  2. #2
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    1-3 are OK.
    4: а = "in contrast to": "А я ..." = "And as to me, I ..."

    6: approximately "ты знаешь" and "ведь" mean the same in this context. But they can be even combined:
    Ты знаешь, я ведь сейчас ни о чём не могу говорить, кроме Петербурга.
    "Ты знаешь" is to draw the attention. "Ведь" emphsizes that the fact is obvious. Or it can be close to "the matter is ...": "You know, the matter is I cannot ..."

    8. Я никогда не была там, но твои описания так напоминают Петербург!
    Note: it is твои (plural form, because of описания), not твой (singular masculine)!

    Why is ‘напоминают’ in ‘Они’ form? - Because of "твои описания" - your descriptions. You can also say: "но твоё описание так напоминает Петербург" - the meaning is just the same.
    I think the author chose plural (descriptions) to emphasize the fact that the story was long.

    10. Ведь Петербург расположен нa ста пяти островах, в городе около трёхсот мостов. (corrected a typo)

    13. Какой она интересный человек, и какая трудная у неё была жизнь!

    Use of ‘Какой’ is not clear to me. Is ‘Какой’ being used as an emphatic particle in the above context? - Yes!
    13.2 What an interesting person she is, and she has had such a difficult life! - Right!

    You can rephrase it the following way:

    Какой она интересный человек, и какая трудная у неё была жизнь! = Она такой интересный человек, и у неё была такая трудная жизнь! - The meaning is exactly the same.

    For example,
    Ты такой интересный собеседник! = Какой ты интересный собеседник! = What an interesting interlocutor you are!
    Сегодня такая хорошая погода! = Какая сегодня хорошая погода! = What a nice weather it is today!

    14. Ей девяносто лет, но она помнит все события, которые произошли за её долгую жизнь, имена всех людей, с которыми она вс
    тречалась. (corrected a typo)

    16. Она училась тогда в школе, увлекалась поэзией.

    She studied then in school, (and) was keen on poetry.
    "тогда" = then, that time.

    17. На одном из литературных вечеров она познакомилась с молодым поэтом, моим дедушкой и вышла за него замуж.
    On (during) one of the literature evenings (or parties?) she became acquainted with a young poet - my grandfather - and she married him. - It is assumed it's like an evening party.
    Why is ‘моим дедушкой’ in the instrumental case? - because it is a clarification to "с молодым поэтом", which is in the instrumental case:
    "... она познакомилась с молод
    ым поэтом (моим дедушкой)" - I have put it into brackets for more clarity.

    19. Всё изменилось в тридцаты
    е годы. ("тридцатые" in plural, because of "годы")

    21. Дедушку арестовали, и долгое время она ничего не знала о нём. (corrected a typo)

    22. Представь себе она осталась одна с тремя детьми.
    It looks almost like it could be an imperative, but it hasn’t followed the spelling rules illustrated in my textbook. Is it an imperative formed irregularly? - It IS imperative. I do not know what are the spelling rule in your textbook, but it is regular:
    поставить -> поставь
    ставить -> ставь
    заставить -> заставь
    отправить -> отправь
    направить -> направь
    готовить -> готовь
    etc.

    ‘детьми’ is unfamiliar to me, here. - it is plural instrumental

    If I had been constructing the sentence myself, I would have naturally selected the genitive plural form of ‘ребёнок’, ‘детей’. I cannot see why ‘детьми’ is formed in the way it is.
    -> You need instrumental because of the preposition "с": с тремя детьми (both "тремя" and "детьми" are in the Instrumental case); but: "без трёх детей" (without three children) - now it is genitive.

    31. Казалось, всё будет теперь хорошо.
    31.1 It seemed (like) everything was going to go well (at the time).
    31.2 All seemed to be going well, now. - No, in this case we would say: "Казалось, всё теперь хорошо" (without "будет") - if I understand your English sentence right. Do you mean "now" is the moment of the story passage (i.e. in the past)? Or do you mean it is actually "now" (2012)?

    This sentence is slightly unclear to me. - I think it is because Russian and English follow different tense agreement patterns.
    In English, you say: "He told me that he would come" ("told" in the Past, and "would come" in the special tense, Future in the Past).
    Russian does not have that Future in the Past, we just use Future: "Он сказал мне, что он придёт" - here the future form (придёт) is viewed from the point in the past. So, it is quite possible he has come already, but then (in the past) it was considered future.

    Similarly, the word "теперь" should be understood from the point of view of the moment described (i.e., if it was, let's say, in 1945, then "теперь" in the subordinate clause just refers to the moment of 1945).

    So, the main clause "казалось" gives you a reference frame (the past). Everything in the subordinate clause ("казалось, что ...") is already in that reference frame.

    32. Но он вскоре умер.
    32.1 But he soon died.
    32.2 But he died shortly after (those events).
    Yes, it is shortly after those events. As I explained it in 31), in Russian you have a "reference frame" when talking about events in the past. From the point of view of that reference frame, it was "вскоре".

    BTW, in my turn, I do not understand, if there is any difference between English sentence 32.1 and 32.2?

    33. С тех пор она никуда не хочет уезжать из Петербурга.
    33.1 Since then, she has not wanted to leave St. Petersburg.
    33.2 Since then, she has not wanted to go anywhere (никуда), or to leave St. Petersburg .

    As to me, the both translations mean the same
    Since then, she has not wanted to go anywhere from St. Petersburg.
    or
    Since then, she has not wanted to leave St. Petersburg for anywhere.

    Are they different for you?

    36. Передавай привет всем друзьям: Генри, Майку, Маргарет и Су!
    Convey/ communicate/ impart my [informal greeting] to all the friends: Gerry, Mike, Margaret and Sue.
    To all my friends? Your friends? Our friends?
    - It is not specified explicitly. Russian just does not require to specify it. But I think both of them (who writes the letter, and who reads it) know those names. So, it is not necessary (for them) to specify WHOSE friends are assumed. Most likely (as I think), they are their common friends. But Russian grammar allows to leave it out.

    37. Жду ответа! Всего хорошего! Целую! Твоя Марина
    I await your response (answer)! All the best!
    I kiss you! Your Marina!
    Would a letter include all of these endings, or just one? - It only depends on one's personal preferences

    ‘Целую’ Can someone offer a short explanation of this ending. - LOL! You confused two homographs (words with the same spelling, but different pronunciation and different meaning):
    1. ц
    елую (stress on "е") - singular feminine accusative of "целый" (whole);
    2. цел
    ую (stress on "у") - 1st person singular present tense of "целовать" (to kiss) - a typical ending of a letter to a close person (father, mother, son, daughter, beloved one).


    The rest of the sentences seems to be OK.

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much for yet another excellent response to one of my threads!

    Apologies for the few typos, it took almost two hours to work through and copy the Russian text from my exercise book using an online Russian keyboard. By the time I had finished my eyes had gone square!


    31. Казалось, всё будет теперь хорошо.
    31.1 It seemed (like) everything was going to go well (at the time).
    31.2 All seemed to be going well, now. - No, in this case we would say: "Казалось, всё теперь хорошо" (without "будет") - if I understand your English sentence right. Do you mean "now" is the moment of the story passage (i.e. in the past)? Or do you mean it is actually "now" (2012)?

    I meant ‘now’ in the past. Your explanation of ‘future in the past’ made perfect sense, thank you. No need to elaborate further, here.

    32. Но он вскоре умер.
    32.1 But he soon died.
    32.2 But he died shortly after (those events).Yes, it is shortly after those events. As I explained it in 31), in Russian you have a "reference frame" when talking about events in the past. From the point of view of that reference frame, it was "вскоре".
    BTW, in my turn, I do not understand, if there is any difference between English sentence 32.1 and 32.2?

    32. You are correct. There is no difference in meaning between these two sentences in the given context. I must have been sleepy!

    33. С тех пор она никуда не хочет уезжать из Петербурга.
    33.1 Since then, she has not wanted to leave St. Petersburg.
    33.2 Since then, she has not wanted to go anywhere (никуда), or to leave St. Petersburg .
    As to me, the both translations mean the same
    Since then, she has not wanted to go anywhere from St. Petersburg.
    or
    Since then, she has not wanted to leave St. Petersburg for anywhere.
    Are they different for you?

    Nope. I can’t have had my coffee yet!>>>

    Special thanks for pointing out целую vs целую! This might have caused an awkward situation!

    One final question on the above text:

    12. Just to clarify: is it assumed that this is the first time Marina and her Grandmother met? Or, are we to presume that they were somewhat familiar with one another prior to Marina’s trip to St. Petersburg, and that their existing relationship was enhanced by the time they spent together?

    12. Если бы я не поехала, я не узнала бы близко свою бабушку.

    Thanks again for your great help!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Smith View Post
    One final question on the above text:

    12. Just to clarify: is it assumed that this is the first time Marina and her Grandmother met? Or, are we to presume that they were somewhat familiar with one another prior to Marina’s trip to St. Petersburg, and that their existing relationship was enhanced by the time they spent together?

    12. Если бы я не поехала, я не узнала бы близко свою бабушку.
    It is hard to answer with 100% confidence. The text does not specify it explicitly.
    However, I would guess, Marina saw her Grandmother before, maybe for some short period of time. The key word here is "близко": "Если бы я не поехала, я не узнала бы близко свою бабушку."

    I would not say it like that if I had never seen her at all. It would not make sense to specify "близко" in that case. So, as I understand this phrase, she knew her before, but not "близко" (not so closely), maybe she just met her once or a few times before.

    If to suppose she had never seen her grandmother, I would say: "Если бы я не поехала, я так и не увидела бы свою бабушку.". The "так и" part is to emphasize the failure to get a result, it can be omitted.

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    Mr. Smith: I would suggest that ведь can be translated as "after all, as we're both aware..." or "since we both know" or "considering that it's common knowledge that..."

    In other words, it introduces something that the speaker assumes is already known to the listener. Thus, in #9 and #10, the writer is basically saying "it's not surprising that St. Pete's has so many canals, since, after all, even a child is aware that the city is built on more than 100 islands."

    P.S. As far as I know, ведь is always unstressed in speech, which means that the -е- is vowel-reduced and you pronounce it "вить".

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    22. I can see that ‘Представь’ is a form of the verb ‘Представить’, but I can’t see what form. It looks almost like it could be an imperative, but it hasn’t followed the spelling rules illustrated in my textbook.
    It's a regular imperative, as Боб Уайтман said. I'm not sure how you think it ought to be spelled, but I assume that you were expecting представи, представите? But remember the general rules for forming imperatives:

    1. Look at the 3rd-person plural present (for imperfectives) or future (for perfectives), and then remove the verb ending (which will be either -ут/-ют or -ат/-ят) The 3rd-pl. for представить is "они представят", so when you take off the -ят you're left with представ-, ending in a consonant.

    1a. If the 3rd-pl. ends in a vowel after you chop off the -ут/-ют or -ат/-ят, then you stick on a to form the singular imperative. So они читают gets chopped down to чита-, and the imperative is читай!

    2. If the chopped-off form ends in a consonant, like представ-, you next look at the 1st-singular form to see where the stress is. In this case it's я представлю -- which is to say that it's stressed on the verb's stem, and not on the ending. (The fact that the -в- changes to a -вл- is of no consequence as far as forming the imperative goes.)

    3. Since this verb is stem-stressed in the 1st-sing., you stick the soft-sign onto представ-, and that's the singular imperative: представь! But if the verb is end-stressed in the 1st-sing., you stick the vowel on to make the imperative. So, the verb держать becomes они держат in the 3rd-pl. (stem-stressed), which gets chopped to держ-. But the 1st-sing is я держу (ending-stressed), so the imperative is держи! (and NOT держь!). Again, it's of no consequence that the verb has shifting stress -- you only have to consider the stress in the "я" form.

    P.S. Other than that, I can't improve on anything Боб Уайтман wrote!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Mr. Smith: I would suggest that ведь can be translated as "after all, as we're both aware..." or "since we both know" or "considering that it's common knowledge that..."
    ведь is a form of archaic verb ведать which means "to know". And ведь roughly means "y'know", as a filler phrase, which is widely used in American English

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