Occasionally I spend time with Duolingo's Immersion feature, which allows users to try their hand at translating any number of documents. The other night I submitted a translation for a sentence that two other users had already submitted translations for. Both of them added a word to the translation that didn't seem necessary to me, but since I am not fluent in German, I've been wondering if it might be necessary after all. Below I have listed the English sentence followed by the three translations. The word that seems unnecessary to me has been bolded:

It* deals with economic warfare such as the blockade of Germany, and with some issues closely related to the economy, such as military issues of transportation.

Translation #1:

Sie befasst sich mit dem Wirtschaftskrieg wie die Blockade Deutschlands und mit einigen Problemen, die eng mit der Wirtschaft zusammenhängen wie militärische Transportfragen.

Translation #2:

Sie befasst sich mit dem Wirtschaftskrieg wie die Blockade Deutschlands, und mit einigen Problemen, die eng mit der Wirtschaft zusammenhängen wie militärische Ausgaben des Transportes.

Translation #3 (my translation):

Sie befasst sich mit dem Wirtschaftskrieg wie die Blockade von Deutschland und mit einigen Problemen die eng mit der Wirtschaft wie militärischen Fragen des Transportes.

*"It" refers to "the economic history of World War I."

Up until recently, I've been limiting myself to just the translation of words and short phrases, but want to start challenging myself a bit more with full sentences. Seeing translations that don't quite make sense to me question my ability to do a decent job of it.

I actually attempted to contact one of the other translators, but have not received any word back, so I thought I'd present this here to see if anybody in this community can explain why these other translators added the word zusammenhängen.

  • 7
    Where do you get the idea that eng mit means “closely related” as such? Literally, it just means “close[ly] with”, which would also need a verb (participle) to make proper sense in English. Dec 10, 2016 at 9:59
  • 4
    In my opinion, none of the translations is entirely correct, though. It should be ... wie der Blockade and militärischen Transportfragen.
    – Ingmar
    Dec 10, 2016 at 11:43
  • Good question, @JanusBahsJacquet. I'm pretty sure I've seen an example of it somewhere before. I'll hunt around to see if I can find some examples. In the meantime, thank you for your comment.
    – Lisa
    Dec 12, 2016 at 5:19
  • 1
    "eng" just means tight, narrow. Related in that phrase comes from "verbunden". I'd translate that as "tightly coupled'. The other way around I'd translate "closely related" into German as "nahe verwandt".
    – tink
    Dec 12, 2016 at 7:33
  • 1
    And your analysis of why I think that dative is necessary is correct.
    – Carsten S
    Dec 13, 2016 at 17:11

3 Answers 3


In the English sentence, the subordinate clause

and with some issues closely related to the economy

uses an adverb and participle construction to express the closeness. You could also maintain the view that the the verb has been omitted and the phrase would then be:

and with some issues that are closely related to the economy

In the German translation another route has been chosen, with a verb construction in the present tense mit [etwas] eng zusammenhängen, which is a fixed phrase, and you simply need the zusammenhängen. Your last example is not possible; you need to have a verb in this subordinate clause. Eng mit [etwas] sein is another construction with the use of eng mit, but still you need a verb.

Another translation, without a verb, may be closer to the original, but less idiomatic German would perhaps be:

Sie befasst sich mit dem Wirtschaftskrieg, wie der Blockade Deutschlands und mit einigen Problemen mit engen Beziehungen zur Wirtschaft, wie Militärtransportfragen.

  • First of all, thank you for your answer. I have a question, though. The sentence above just has one verb/predicate -- befasst. The sentence is really saying, "It deals with ________ and with __________." The clause that begins "and with" is merely an extension of "it deals with ...." I guess you could say it is a sentence with two direct objects described by adjectival phrases.
    – Lisa
    Dec 12, 2016 at 6:05
  • The only clause in that sentence that can stand alone is, "It deals with economic warfare such as the blockade of Germany" and the phrase "closely related to the economy" is really just an adjectival phrase describing "issues." Is a verb/predicate in that clause required even if none exists in English?
    – Lisa
    Dec 12, 2016 at 6:09
  • I hope you don’t find my question aggravatingly hairsplitting, but I do want to make sure I get a solid grasp of what must be required for the German sentence. As a beginner, I really try to stick pretty closely to the text, to include sentence structure, as much as is possible.
    – Lisa
    Dec 12, 2016 at 6:21
  • 1
    @Lisa, “und mit einigen eng mit der Wirtschaft zusammenhängenden Problemen” is also possible.
    – Carsten S
    Dec 12, 2016 at 10:07

Translation #1 is the best one. You definitely need zusammenhängen, #3 misses a verb. Also I would replace Problemen with Themen. Issues is a very mighty noun, it can be translated to Probleme, Themen, Tatsachen, etc.

  • I am in accordance with you regarding Translation #1, but as for #3, I have a question about the sentence structure (see the comment I make to @Beta above). And your comment about Problemen and Themen? Very useful. I just now reviewed several sentences using both and I can see the slightly different contexts in which they are used. Thank you for making that suggestion.
    – Lisa
    Dec 12, 2016 at 7:06

"Eng mit" would be more like "close to", as "eng mit" does not contain a verb

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