Am nächsten Morgen wollte sie ihren Augen nicht trauen.

In English, it should be, Next morning she didn't want to believe her eyes.

But the expression seine Augen trauen is rendered in English to believe one's eyes. And the modal verb usually associated with it is, in English, can (können), not want (wollen).

Thus said, do I translate the sentence by using wollen, as in the German original, or can?

  • I think you will find examples with all modal verbs. In a quick corpora search I even found a usage with "glauben" only. Unfortunately the German corpora are not very good if it comes to collocation so I can't provide you more details on that. Anyway. I think 'können', 'wollen' and 'mögen' are most common in German as collocation to this figure. – Em1 Jul 25 '13 at 17:07
  • I was to quick... I can provide something on this :) Wortschatz der Uni Leipzig – Em1 Jul 25 '13 at 17:10
  • It is kind of a figure of speech and I think you got the meaning ... so if the same idiom uses "can" in English there is nothing wrong by using "can". – Emanuel Jul 25 '13 at 20:34

I'd say the meaning of this sentence is:

The saw something, but refused to believe it (because it seemed too wonderful / scary / etc. to be true).

Therefore, I say

"The next morning, she couldn't believe her eyes ..."

is the best translation in this case. It sounds natural and renders the meaning accurately enough, you will not be able to preserve every nuance of the original sentence.

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