1

I’m trying to build multiple relative clauses in the same context, but I’m not sure what I’m missing, where I’m wrong.

This is usually thought of as teaching a language for specific purposes for those majoring in the departments they specialize in.

My first attempt:

Dieser ist üblicherweise als eine Sprache für bestimmte Zwecke lehren, für diejenigen, die sich mit Schwerpunkt in den Abteilungen spezialisieren, gedacht.

Second attempt:

Dies ist üblicherweise dachte daran, dass als eine Sprache für bestimmte Zwecke lehren, für diejenigen, die sich mit Schwerpunkt in den Abteilungen spezialisieren.

Especially the as + gerund and for those parts are difficult for me.

8

The more complex the sentence in your source language is, the more you need to loosen yourself from trying to build up the sentence literally in the target language and the more you need to think what the target language would actually do with the concept.

So let’s ‘deconstruct’ your sentence into its fragments that we can then turn into an idiomatic German sentence.

  • This is […] thought of as …

  • … teaching a language for […] …

  • … those majoring in the departments they specialize in.

The first fragment would usually be liberally translated into something like ‘darunter versteht man’, as Thomas already said.

Teaching a language would be Lehren einer Sprache, but I don’t like its sound. How I would actually translate it depends on context. My guess is that we are dealing with some kind of scientific English or something. If that is the case, I would rephrase it altogether into something like Sprachkurse.

… those majoring in the departments they specialize in.

This sounds like a pleonasm. Usually one would major in one’s specialisation subject. Either we have two different instances of those/they or I have no clue why this part of the sentence is this complicated. I’m just going to assume that they specialize in is superfluous and assume a single instance of those/they. I would then translate it as something like Hauptfachstudenten, die diese Sprache nicht belegen (also assuming that majoring is what I so far encountered it as most).

Which brings me to an end result of:

Darunter versteht man in der Regel fachspezifische Sprachkurse für Hauptfachstudenten, die diese Sprache nicht belegen.

I would say, a direct transformation would be very unidiomatic if not impossible.

Take home messages:

  • Don’t try to literally transform complex grammar;

  • Make sure there is enough context;

  • So wörtlich wie möglich; so frei wie nötig.

  • @Jan you translate teaching a language to Lehren einer Sprache i didn't that part understand why it is in genitive? – Dragut Nov 22 '15 at 20:38
  • @Bergmann Genitive because I am switching from a verb + noun phrase (where the verb in its present participle form governs case) to a noun + noun phrase where the second noun is typically in genitive. – Jan Nov 23 '15 at 13:42
6

Both your attempts don’t make sense in German.

My suggestion:

Darunter versteht man üblicherweise das Lehren einer Sprache für bestimmte Zwecke, für jene, die … [don’t know what majoring means here]

Remarks:

  • Lehren einer Sprache sounds very formal. Try to rephrase it to Lernen einer Sprache.
  • Plural Zwecke is hardly ever used. Try to rephrase it to Zweck.
  • I’m not 100 % sure if the first comma is correct.
  • 2
    majoring -> als Hauptfach studieren – Ludwig Schulze Nov 22 '15 at 10:09
  • Unfortunately lernen describes the view from the learners perspective and therefore is no simple replacement for lehren (teaching) making a full rephrase necessary. – guidot Nov 23 '15 at 15:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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