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Thread: Could you please help me to translate one sentence?

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    Could you please help me to translate one sentence?

    Hello,

    I am trying to translate this sentence: "Сказать, что мы были счастливы - ничего не сказать", so that the meaning would be the same as it is in the Russian language.
    My variant is "To say that we were happy is to say nothing" But I am not sure that the meaning is the same as it is in Russian...Any better ideas?

  2. #2
    Hanna
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    If you just want to convey the meaning of the sentence rather than translate it literally.. then perhaps you could say : "To say that we were happy does not really mean anything" (or "means nothing") - it sounds slightly more natural and makes a bit more sense. However there was nothing wrong with your original translation. It depends on the context, I think.

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    It makes me feel that it doesn't matter whether we were very happy or not if I say 'it doesn't really mean anything'...
    In Russian when we say "Сказать, что мы были счастливы - ничего не сказать" it means that we were soooo happy that when you even say so it's not enough to say so to describe how happy we were - sounds a bit complicated, I guess.

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lena.from.Russia View Post
    In Russian when we say "Сказать, что мы были счастливы - ничего не сказать" it means that we were soooo happy that when you even say so it's not enough to say so to describe how happy we were - sounds a bit complicated, I guess.
    Take your pick:

    "To say that we were happy doesn't even begin to say it."
    "There are no words to describe how happy we were."
    "Saying that we were happy would be a huge understatement."
    "To say that we were happy is like saying that the surface of the Sun is unpleasantly warm*."

    I don't think that a more literal and direct translation would properly express the meaning of the Russian. But perhaps my first example above ("...doesn't even begin to say it") is the most similar to "ничего не сказать".

    * Or, "...like saying that Bill Gates is financially comfortable", or "...like saying that Osama bin Laden had a tendency to over-criticize Americans and Jews", etc.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Спасибо за ответы!

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