Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Taking the following example:

It stands to reason that most people will not buy a new car if they don't think they can pay for it.

The "stands to reason" could be replaced by "logical" as in:

It's logical that most people will not buy a new car if they don't think they can pay for it.


With this in mind, I've looked around for a direct translation, and came up with:

┌───────────────────────────────────┬────────────────────┬──────────────────────────┐
│ Location                          │  Source used       │  Translation obtained    │
├───────────────────────────────────┼────────────────────┼──────────────────────────┤
│ 1) http://dict.leo.org            │  stands to reason  │  nahe liegen             │
├───────────────────────────────────┼────────────────────┼──────────────────────────┤
│ 2) http://translate.google.pt     │  stands to reason  │  steht zu vermuten,      │
├───────────────────────────────────┼────────────────────┼──────────────────────────┤
│ 3) http://translation.babylon.com │  stands to reason  │  logisch                 │
└───────────────────────────────────┴────────────────────┴──────────────────────────┘

1. Link to translation result at http://dict.leo.org

2. Link to translation result at http://translate.google.pt

3. Link to translation page at http://translation.babylon.com (no direct link to translation result)

With this direct translations, the result from "Babylon" was "logisch" that translates to "logical", but all three results are different.

I'm wondering which one of these direct translations (or other) is actually accurate given the context of the provided example?

share|improve this question
1  
For such kind of translation I tend to use Pons. Most times the translations are more idiomatic. –  Em1 Jul 17 '13 at 12:32
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If we look at the definition Duden gives for "naheliegend"

"sich beim Überlegen sogleich einstellend"

this seems to be very close to the literal English meaning. This makes me believe that indeed the translation offered by leo.org "liegt nahe" comes very close.

It is my impression too that "logisch, dass..." does not quite fit. It feels rather colloquial to me.

When thinking how to express the example sentence above both, "es liegt nahe", or "naheliegend" may not be the first that comes to mind. Amongst the plentitude of alternatives (which can easily be found when looking up synonyms for the expressions given) I would say:

Natürlich werden sich die meisten Leute kein neues Auto kaufen, wenn sie meinen, sie können es sich nicht leisten.

or, a bit closer to the literal meaning:

Zweifellos werden sich die meisten Leute...

Finally, in a more colloquial setting "klar" is frequently used:

Klar, dass sich die meisten Leute kein neues Auto kaufen, wenn sie kein Geld dafür haben.

For all the various German expression we will also find other corresponding English terms of course. These may then also be closer to the German expression than "it stands to reason" but this is to expected as we do also have many synonyms in English.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In many cases, a pretty accurate translation is:

Es ist nachvollziehbar...

or

Es scheint nachvollziehbar...

To me, of the translations you found, the first is the best, closesly followed by the second. Both communicate a vague sense of "being right about something", similar to the English phrase. The third ("logisch") hardly ever fits - it's much more absolute than the English "stands to reason", which kind of leaves a door open for retreat, if necessary :)

share|improve this answer
1  
I don't quite agree. According to (almost - I didn't check all) every monolingual dictionary (e.g. Oxford, Merriam-Webster) "stands to reason" does mean obvious or logical or clear. The dictionaries do not give the slightest inkling that there could be any uncertainty. That said, it stands to reason that logisch is a perfectly legitimate translation. –  Em1 Jul 17 '13 at 14:12
2  
Legitimate objection. However, I still maintain that in actual usage, while there's no uncertainty in the speaker's mind, the expression still lacks the brutal steamroller-argument quality of "obvious", "logical" or "clear". What I was getting at wasn't uncertainty but something along the lines of euphemism or understatement, if you know what I mean? –  Mac Jul 17 '13 at 14:43
1  
Mostly agree with Mac, my default translation for "stands to reason that" is es liegt auf der Hand, dass, to be adapted as circumstances dictate. –  Eugene Seidel Jul 17 '13 at 14:48
1  
The first translation that came to my mind was "es versteht sich von selbst"... I also like "es liegt auf der Hand" aber "es scheint nachvollziehbar" scheint mir ein wenig zu zögerlich, "es ist nachvollziehbar" zu verteidigend/entschuldigend... as for "logisch", well, that is a tricky thing since the statement of OP is not entirely logical. This would be logical in my opinion:"... new car if they think they can't pay for it." Not thinking that you can pay for it does not imply the opposite. Maybe it is so obvious that you take it for granted that you can pay for it. Just picking some nits. –  Emanuel Jul 17 '13 at 18:00
add comment

As a native german speaker, I understand "stands to reason" as if something just is as it is, without proof, but everyone can easily see that it's the case.

Other synonyms would be "obviously" (offensichtlich, offenbar), or what I think would be commonly used in such context "anscheinend" or "scheinbar" where the first indicates that it is as it probably seems to be, but you are quite sure, whereas "scheinbar" indicates doubt.

Closer to the actual wording would be something like "Im Grunde ..." as the beginning of a sentence (=In principle). "Steht zu vermuten" is more like something on the lines of "it can be assumed, that..." which I think shows slightly less certainty.

//edit: In reference to the title of this topic: I don't think that there is any accurate translation, just the ones mentioned.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.