2

A book (Fotos & Shreve, 1940) on translating scientific German suggests that in order to translate a participle construction, the translation should proceed as follows. Translate (1) the definite article (2) preposition (3) the noun (4) the present or past participle, which may have a relative clause and lastly (5) intervening words such as adverbs or other modifiers.

One the sentences which I was trying to apply this rule was "Die Änderung der Dichte des O2 bei hohen Temperaturen wurde besonders von V. Meyer untersucht, ohne dass sich die aus den erhaltenen Resultaten gezogenen weitgehenden Schlussfolgerunen über die elementare Nature des O2 in der Folge aufrechterhalten liessen."

Using following the rule above for the text in italics:

(1) die (2) aus (6) den erhaltenen Resultaten (4) gezogenen (5) weitgehenden (3) Schlussfolgerunen is a participle construction. From the "rule" above, the full sentence could mean

"The change in the density of O2 at high temperatures was especially studied by V. Meyer, out of conclusions drawn extensively from the obtained results without being able to maintain the elemental nature of O2 in the sequence."

Is this correct?

Is there an easy way to parse this sentence or a general rule to translate such complex sentences and how close is Google Translate to the actual meaning?

"The change in the density of O2 at high temperatures was particularly studied by Meyer, without the extensive conclusions drawn from the results obtained regarding the elemental nature of O2 being subsequently maintained."

I am self-teaching.

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    I find the deepl translations better, e.g. The change in the density of O2 at high temperatures was particularly investigated by V. Meyer, without the far-reaching conclusions about the elementary nature of O2 that were drawn from the results obtained being able to be maintained subsequently. – tehnicaorg Aug 21 '18 at 4:59
  • Thank you for pointing out deepl, I was not aware of it. Seems like an excellent resource. – M. Farooq Aug 21 '18 at 14:02
  • Bitte überprüfe im Zitat, ob wirklich "Nature" und nicht "Natur" vewendet wurde und ebenso, ob "ließen" tatsächlich mit doppeltem S geschrieben steht. Die letztere Kontrolle kann unterbleiben, wenn es sich um eine Schweizer Veröffentlichung handelt. Außerdem hätte ich mehr Kommas gesetzt, aber da ich darin schwach bin, hat das wenig zu bedeuten. – user unknown Feb 22 at 19:07
4

Your translation of the past participle construction

die aus den erhaltenen Resultaten gezogenen weitgehenden Schlussfolgerungen

conclusions drawn extensively from the obtained results

does not 100% match the original because "weitgehenden" is an adjective, not an adverb.

So a more literal translation would be:

extensive [or maybe better: far-reaching] conclusions drawn from the obtained results

But your translation may still be OK. Maybe it is stylistically better than the more literal one, but that's more a topic for an English forum.

The main challenge when translating the sentence is how to translate the ", ohne dass ..." clause. Here I have two remarks: I am not sure of "out of" works well here, and "without being able" seems to say that V. Meyer was unable to maintain the conclusions, whereas the original sentence seems to say that it is generally impossible to maintain the conclusions.

The Google Translate translation is not that far away, but it doesn't convey the somewhat veiled criticism of V. Meyer's conclusions.

My suggestion would be to use a second clause with "but":

The change in the density of O2 at high temperatures was particularily studied by V. Meyer, but his broad claims about the elementary nature of O2 could not be upheld later on the basis of his own results.

But I think again it is more a question for an English forum which wording works best here. Maybe you could also use "his broad claims ... are not supported by his own results".

3

That sentence is hedged by purpose because the writer is bitching about V. Meyer making broad claims not sustainable by Meyer's own results.

It's not a good example to practice translation tips on, I think, because of the enormous effort the writer had put into encrypting what he meant.

White lie German:

Die Änderung der Dichte des O2 bei hohen Temperaturen wurde besonders von V. Meyer untersucht, ohne dass sich die aus den erhaltenen Resultaten gezogenen weitgehenden Schlussfolgerungen über die elementare Natur des O2 in der Folge aufrechterhalten ließen.

Plain German:

Die Änderung der Dichte des O2 bei hohen Temperaturen wurde besonders von V. Meyer untersucht, dessen weitgehende Schlussfolgerungen über die elementare Natur des O2 sich später aus seinen eigenen Messergebnissen nicht aufrechterhalten ließen.

The change in the density of O2 at high temperatures was particularily studied by V. Meyer, whose broad claims about the elementary nature of O2 couldn't be sustained by his own results later on.

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    Unfortunately, writing Bandwurmsatz is the style of the mid 19th-century scientific papers in German as well as English. I could understand your paraphrased sentence without much effort. I recently submitted an article on the reliability of machine translation of German scientific papers. Newer papers e.g., 2005, match almost 99% to human translations, however, documents from the 1930s-40s pose problems with long-winded sentences. – M. Farooq Aug 21 '18 at 14:08
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    Did you check journals from the GDR? – Janka Aug 21 '18 at 18:36
  • I think the best approach to these machine translations would be adding an error margin to each sentence. That's an additional output I would wish for. (And provide the original sentence as an hypertext remark.) – Janka Aug 21 '18 at 18:40
  • Google translate offers an alternative translation if you highlight the sentence, but I am amazed how good is DeepL in translating German. Just learned about it today from a poster in this question. I surveyed some Handbooks published by the German Chemical Society/ Beilstein Institute etc. from 1897 to 2005. Google Translate did a good job. Not sure what was meant by GDR. – M. Farooq Aug 21 '18 at 19:59
  • Papers from the German Democratic Republic. They had a special "style", praising socialism between the lines. (I think they had editorial officers at the universities for that.) – Janka Aug 21 '18 at 20:33

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