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VERY BRIEF 1940's German/English Translation Help Requested
February 27, 2013 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Hello, Hive. I'm working on a historical graphic novel and a portion of it involves four sentences in German. I've made an effort to hammer something out by testing Google Translate's gibberish against some German language textbooks and grammar sites. I'm sorta confident about them, but would love for any bilingual native German speakers to give them a once over. Particularly, if you have any insights into generational differences in the German language, as this piece is supposed to take place during WWII. Posting them after the jump.

• Warten Sie bei Childs Restaurant auf 34th Street
[Wait at Child’s Restaurant on 34th Street.]

• Suchen Sie nach einem Mann mit einem "New York Times" in seiner linken Hand.
[Look for a man carrying a "New York Times" in his left hand.]

• Folgen Sie ihm zu einem Tisch und tauschen Passwörter.
[Follow him to a table and exchange passwords.]

• Der Mann wird Ihnen die Mittel, die Sie angefordert.
[The man will give you the funds you requested.]

Thanks in advance!!!!
posted by ProfLinusPauling to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
 
1. Warten Sie bei Childs Restaurant in der 34th Street.

2. Suchen Sie nach einem Mann mit einer "New York Times" in seiner linken Hand.

3. Folgen Sie ihm zu einem Tisch und tauschen Sie (die) Passwörter aus.

4. Der Mann wird Ihnen die Mittel geben, die Sie angefordert haben.


Native German here; but my grammatical knowledge is errr.. rather intuitive and I lack the vocabulary to discuss grammar in English, so please don't expect me to explain why I corrected those sentences. I don't see any problems with them beeing said in a WWII setting.
posted by akrasia at 5:40 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you, akrasia! As a symbol of my appreciation, a hermit crab texting.
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 5:59 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would translate the second sentence as:

Halten Sie Ausschau nach einem Mann mit der "New York Times" in seiner linken Hand.

In my opinion this phrase fits better for the action of "looking for" / "being on the lookout for". Also using the indefinite article for the newspaper somehow feels wrong to me, so "der" instead of "einer".
Apart from that I fully agree with akrasia; intuitive knowledge on my side as well, so... yeah.
posted by mirage pine at 7:25 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am assuming that "die" is in parenthesis because it's an optional definite article, yes? It's not weird in German to say "exchange passwords" over "exchange the passwords," correct?

Also, many thanks to you also, mirage pine! For you, a Putin cartoon.
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 10:57 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, the old putin surprise ;)

Personally I would omit "die" in this sentence but I can imagine using it in some contexts. Then again I don't think it's much of difference anyway. Now if I would be writing these sentences I suppose I would do it this way:

Imagine Situation 1:
Person A is telling Person B to go over to Person C and swap watchwords so Person B and C can authenticate each other.
In this case Person A would say: "Folgen Sie ihm zu einem Tisch und tauschen Sie Passwörter aus."

Situation 2:
Both Person B and Person C hold a list of different passwords. Person A wants them to swap these lists.
Person A: "Folgen Sie ihm zu einem Tisch und tauschen Sie die Passwörter aus."
posted by mirage pine at 2:08 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good to know. I think Situation 1 is closer to this story. Thank you again!
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 8:34 PM on February 28, 2013


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