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I have a frequency dictionary with sample sentences I'm reading through, and the entry for "insofern" has the following sentence:

Mit dem zweiten Platz habe ich nicht gerechnet, insofern bin ich mehr als zufrieden.

It provides an English translation of "insofern" here as "therefore."

But when I read Duden, my copy of Hammer's German Usage for their "insofern" entries, I cannot understand why "insofern" works in this sentence. And the translation the frequency dictionary provides here is

I didn't expect to finish second, and therefore I am more than satisfied.

Seems like "insofern" here is just a synonym of "deshalb."

Seems like there is an "insofern...als" expression, but it's not the same construction as this sentence, as the "als" here is part of "mehr als" (comparison) rather than "insofern...als"

To my English brain, I am fully on board with the "insofar as" construction because it's the same as in English.

But I do not understand this sample sentence, and if "insofern" is doing something that "deshalb" could not do.

2 Answers 2

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"Insofern" has shifted in sense a bit here.

In the literal sense "insofern" would mean here that while an athlet cannot be absolutely happy with second place, they can still be somewhat content insofar as they only see it relative to their expectations. So they would be "happy in a certain aspect".

The way it is used here, with "bin ich mehr als zufrieden", I would translate it with something like "considering that", which isn't much different from "therefore" any more.

I didn't expect [to get a result as good as] second place, so, considering that, I'm more than happy.

The translation "therefore" loses the aspect that second place would not be an optimal outcome on first sight.

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Your analysis is correct. In the context given 'deshalb' (therefor) is a synonym and exact replacement for 'insofern' in this case to which I would not attribute other implied meaning or attitude.

Without change of meaning you could also replace it with 'aus dem Grund' (for that reason) or 'in der Hinsicht' (in that regard).

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