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Ask A. Schuyler Your Own Question
A. Schuyler
A. Schuyler, Research Analyst
Category: German
Satisfied Customers: 16266
Experience:  30 years in research
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My German is quite stiff and I have no clue how to translate

Customer Question

Hello expert!
My German is quite stiff and I have no clue how to translate this sentence in English so that it make sense. It was written almost two hundred years ago, by someone who was not exactly an expert. Can you help?
Ich könnte diese Nacht, da ihre Eltern sie auf die Welt beförderten.
Thank you,
Stefan
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: German
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Welcome to Just Answer and thanks for your question.
Can you put the sentence in context? For instance, can you provide a couple of sentences before the one that is totally confusing (LOL) and perhaps a sentence or two afterward?
Thanks :-)
Schuyler
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ms. Schuyler,
I know this is a very hard nut, indeed. It belongs to one of the most confusing writers that can be (surely, that I've ever met). This is just the beginning of the text. Here's the continuation "und wie viel Schweiss es ist gekostet ein solchen erstaunliches Machwerk ans Tagelicht zu bringen."
That's all.
Thanks,
Stefan
Stefan
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Stefan,

I agree that this is the most puzzling set of words ever strung together! I think that the author may mean he can share [this information] with the reader this night that because her parents had "spilled the beans to everyone (die Welt/the world)" (about "something" not specified), and how much work it took to bring the amazing piece of work to fruition.

Without more of the letter, it isn't possible to speculate further. I wonder if the person was not a native German though.

All the best,

Schuyler

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** *****
but ... this leaves me still confused. My own translation of "ihre Eltern sie auf die Welt beförderten" was "your parents brought you into the world" (sie being the polite you and befördern to transport/bring). What befuddled me was how the initial "Ich könnte" connected to the next.
Any thoughts about this. I am insisting because this is a scholarly issue.
Thanks,
Stefan
Expert:  A. Schuyler replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
What you are proposing is as good a speculation as any without knowing the entire context.
"Ihre eltern" can be "her parents" or "their parents" but if giving birth is the meaning, then her parents makes more sense.
Also, are you absolutely sure the first word is "ich" and not "ihr." If it were "ich" then the verb would be "kann" rather than the third person koennt" or "koennte." "She can this night" makes more sense than "I can." After all, if her parents hadn't given birth to her, she wouldn't be able to do anything.
Still, all this is speculation, so I am going to opt out in case someone else wants to give it a try.
All the best,
Schuyler
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