I want to translate the following phrase from German to English/ French:

aber unerreichbar entfernt durch eine zehn Fuß starke Mauer
(Günther Anders: Die molussische Katakombe, p. 17)

I infer that unerreichbar is adverbial and qualifies the other adverb entfert.

→ but not to be reach, at distance through a ten feet thick wall

I find no equivalent to translate unerreichbar entfernt together. I have to separate and juxtapose the two qualifications, first not reachable, then at distance. At distance could be thought to be implied by the ten feet thickness of the wall.

Would you confirm that unerreichbar qualifies entfernt? Or do you have a better explanation?

  • 3
    To me, "entfernt durch eine fünf Fuß Mauer" does not make sense. – Carsten S May 11 at 14:55
  • @CarstenS, according to the source, that was a typo. – Björn Friedrich May 11 at 19:42

Your are on the right track.

In the example phrase, unerreichbar is an adverb, which can be translated to English as unreachably (notice the adverb ending -ly). It specifies the adjective entfernt, which can be translated to English as far or distanced. Put together, this becomes:

nicht mehr als zehn Fuß über uns, aber unerreichbar entfernt durch eine zehn Fuß starke Mauer
(Günther Anders: Die molussische Katakombe, p. 17)

→ not more than ten feet obove us, but unreachably far by a wall ten feet thick

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  • thanks, i actually translate to french were there is no common equivalent to unreachably i think. any french translation ? – kiriloff May 12 at 11:16
  • Unfortunately, I don't speak French. But maybe someone else? – Björn Friedrich May 12 at 11:29

How about "but unreachabley distanced by a five foot wall".

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  • 1
    This doesn't feel like an idiomatic translation. – infinitezero May 11 at 17:10
  • 1
    I agree, but would dare to argue that the German version is also not exactly idiomatic. – RedFox May 11 at 17:14
  • A more idiomatic translation might be "out of reach due to a ten feet thick wall" – RHa May 11 at 21:38

this "entfernt" seems not to qualify the distance (in miles), but it stands for the same as "unerreichbar". I think this is a literarical trick. In English it would be "very very unreachable".

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