-2

I checked the dictionary and I came across texts in the books and I have also seen examples, wherein people used sich handlen um for handling problems, dealing with problems, or to cope up with it. Due to this reason, I used it in my example. Below is my sentence:

When there are lots of problems around, that I cannot handle myself, …

I wrote this:

Wenn es viele Probleme gibt, mit denen ich nicht mich handle um, …

In Google translator, I read this:

Wenn es viele Probleme gibt, mit denen ich nicht umgehen kann, …

Which one would suit the context? What is the difference between both?

2
  • How come you translated handle with handlen? Have you looked up to handle so./sth. in a dictionary or checked the meaning of sich um etw. handeln? Note that the inifinitive is sich um jmdn./etw. handeln since German puts the objects before the verb, and first person singular present active indicative forms never end on -n (it would be ich hand(e)le, but given the actual meaning is not applicable here). – amadeusamadeus Mar 30 at 13:39
  • German has handeln (pronounced händeln) "bewältigen" as a loan word (without um, though): duden.de/rechtschreibung/handeln_handhaben – David Vogt Apr 3 at 9:21
3

As pointed out in the comments, handeln does not have this meaning in German. Perhaps you were thinking of "handle" in the sense "solve", "cope with", as in "I can handle this problem." In English you could rephrase this as "deal with", as in "I can deal with this problem." The phrase "deal with" has another meaning in English, namely that of "concerning", "being about", "having to do with", as in "This book deals with the problem of illiteracy in the US." It's this other meaning of deal with which you can translate as handeln: Dieses Buch handelt von dem Problem des Analphabetismus in den USA. With a reflexive pronoun, handeln has another meaning, "to be an instance or case of". (See this SE answer; it's listed in both the English and German editions of Wiktionary but seems to be missing from DWDS.) I think Google Translate thinks you mean handle in the sense of "to cover" or "to be prepared for", as in "The new plan handles the possibility of the Suez Canal being blocked for an extended period." This sense could be translated as umgehen: Der neue Plan geht mit der Möglichkeit um, dass ... . So I have my doubts about Google's translation as well.

My preference is to use Google translation for German to English, and DeepL for English to German. The advantage DeepL has here is that you can click on a word in the translation to get alternatives, for example to replace a word with a synonym, or to use du form instead of Sie form. It's sometimes worthwhile to put DeepL's translation into Google Translate to see if what you get back is similar in meaning to what you put in.

The important thing is to never take a machine translation at face value. Look up every word you're not familiar with in the translation to check that has the meaning you intended. The old saw "Garbage in, Garbage out," still applies; if your input is vague or ambiguous then the translation will be either vague or ambiguous or not what you intended at all. You should always put in complete sentences to translate, that way the program can use that information to provide a better translation. In any case, words often have multiple meanings, and the best you can hope for translating a single word is that there is some overlap between the English word, the German word, and the meaning you were trying to convey. This is a good case in point; the word "handle" has multiple meanings, and the German translations have multiple meanings, so it can get quite confusing.

PS. Perhaps a native speaker will correct me on this, but I think the best translation for "handle" in this context is bewältigen. DWDS gives the example Es war ein wenig mehr, als er bewältigen konnte. (from the subtitles to "Grimm") which Google renders as "It was a little more than he could handle."

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.