I have written the following sentence in an essay I am translating about the Austrian poet Georg Trakl's Bluebeard 'Dramenfragment':

"Dadurch, dass es ein Fragment ist, wird der Rahmen der Form, die der mehrdimensionalen Adaptation von verschiedenen Motiven und vielfältigen Kontexten nicht mehr entgegenwirkt, gesprengt."

My main question here is how the 'dass' clause relates to the rest of the sentence, and whether the 'dass' can be decently translated as 'since'. To make the best sense of it in English, I currently have:

"This means that, since it is a fragment, the frame of the form, which is no longer working against the multi-dimensional adaptation from different motifs and diverse contexts, is blown open."

Is this accurate in every way or does anyone have any other suggestion?

Many thanks, Simon

4 Answers 4


Dadurch, dass es ein Fragment ist, ...

This is as much as

Weil es ein Fragment ist, ...

Which leads to:

Being a fragment, ...

Or rather

As a fragment, ...

Then you have to make it active:

As a fragment it blows open the frame of the form, which does not counteract ... any more.

This German sentence is borderline comical.

This is not in the text:

This means that ...

Das bedeutet, dass ...

Since it is a fragment,

This part of your translation (before the frame of the form is blown open) is OK. That part is not the problem. Real problem is to catch the (involuntary?) humour in the German original.

ad comical:

...entgegenwirkt, gesprengt.

This is overstretched. Too long, too complicated. The final "gesprengt" is confusing.

"den Rahmen sprengen" is a fixed expression ("beyond scope"). Here it is taken more literal. But how will the form's counteracting be influenced with it's frame gone?

Imagine a short pause before "gesprengt" - to let the dimensions and contexts sink in - and then you triumphantly finish off: "... gesprengt.".

Maybe Loriot (a "gentleman" comedian) has some sketches like that.

  • Could you clarify where you see the 'humour' (involuntary or not) in the German? Commented May 16, 2020 at 21:52

To be more exact: the "da" in "dadurch" refers not backward to something in a previous sentence, but forward to the "daß" clause which follows it.

@shegit brahm: The German conference of state ministers of culture is not in the room, and even if they were, they could not make me spell daß with two short esses.


An English equivalent "Dadurch, dass..." is "By" + gerund.


Dadurch, dass es ein Fragment ist, ...

can be translated as

By this being a fragment ...

I cannot tell whether this is considered good style, but in my view it is a fairly accurate translation. How it can be improved stylistically would a question for an English forum.

Another example for translating "Dadurch, dass ..." this way:

Dadurch, dass ich Sport betreibe, verbessere ich meine Gesundheit.

By doing sports I am improving my health.


It's not a daß phrase -- it's a "dadurch, daß" phrase. Meaning roughly: The fact that it's a fragment breaks the boundaries of the form etc.

  • 1
    current orthographic rules require "dass" instead of "daß". PLease consider explaining more of "meaning roughly" and "etc." to make it a full answer regarding the question. Commented May 15, 2020 at 17:02

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