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live on borrowed time

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Baltic Sea, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Baltic Sea Senior Member

    Polish
    Hello again!

    I would like to ask you if "live on borrowed time" means "żyć na kredyt" in Polish.

    For instance. All her family members were saying that she was living on borrowed time =? Wszyscy jej członkowie rodziny mówili, że żyje na kredyt.
    Source: Imagination.
     
  2. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    No, it means a completely different thing. We use it when a person has barely made it alive and is very fortunate to be still among the living :)

    Wszyscy członkowie jej rodziny mówili, że ma szczęście, że żyje.

    (I don't like the repetition of "że" and maybe I'll be able to come up with something more idiomatic but now I'm unable to do so).
     
  3. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Germany
    German & AmE
    How about:

    Wszycy członkowie jej rodziny mówili, że szczęście dało jej szansę, by żyć dalej.
     
  4. Baltic Sea Senior Member

    Polish
    Thank you both very much.
     
  5. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Well, the "szczęście dało jej szanse" part sounds a tiny bit odd but... but if we were to replace "szczęście" with "życie" and remove tha last bit... it would be okay.

    Wszyscy członkowie jej rodziny mówili, że życie dało jej szansę.

    It's still imperfect (and doesn't really communicate the idea of "being lucky to be still alive" -- it calls for additional explanation). I'm sure others can come up with something better.
     
  6. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Germany
    German & AmE
    I know it sounds odd. It does in every language I know, but it was the best I could think of while keeping 'luck(y)' in the sentence.
     
  7. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian

    It means that she is lucky to be alive. I think you could say: na kredyt but only in a figurative sense, in a particular context, not as a fixed expression.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  8. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    That's what we have been saying throughout the whole course of this thread. :)
    And no, "żyć na kredyt" wouldn't be understood as "to be fortunate to be still still alive" but rather "live off loans".
     
  9. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Germany
    German & AmE
    The problem is that we can't just literally translate an idiom, and as there doesn't seem to be a corresponding one in Polish, we need to improvise. Your version with the two że's was fine and I don't think that being keen on finding something better will also get us anything better. Some idioms must simply be rephrased, because there's no other way.
    I've got another idea, but it's again completely rephrased and I'm not even sure if it's grammatically correct, but here goes anyway:

    Wszyscy [...] mówili, że życie przyznało jej więcej czasu po prawie pewnej śmierci, którego marnować nie powinna.

    I'm not sure if the relation between 'czasu' and 'którego' is emphasized enough in this sentence, though it can not refer to anything else.
     
  10. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I was just referring to the point made by Liliana that "żyć na kredyt" could be used here in a figurative sense to translate the idiom in question.
    It could not be translated this way because as I've repeatedly stated it means a completely different thing.

    I'm at my wits' end as far as translating this idiom goes. "Dostała drugie życie" would be my ultimate choice :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  11. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Germany
    German & AmE
    I know, and I'm also running out of ideas, that was the last long and good one I had. Though I do like "Dostała drugie życie" is also a good one :D Or how about "Dostała drugą szansę na życie"? (Here goes the next one :rolleyes:)
     
  12. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    No, in a figurative sense, with a very precise context, it does not have to mean a totally different thing. I even think I heard it somewhere in this context, or read it in a play or a novel. Maybe każdy następny dzień był podarkiem losu, był życiem na kredyt, wydarty śmierci.
     
  13. Baltic Sea Senior Member

    Polish
    Thank you, Liliana. You have lifted my spirits by writing that my version may not necessarily be wrong. So can "All her family members were saying that she was living on borrowed time" be translated into Polish as "Wszyscy jej członkowie rodziny mówili, że żyje na kredyt"? I am very eager to know the answer.
     
  14. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Baltic, I have to admit I find your question a tiny bit odd. We're both native speakers of Polish and "żyć na kredyt" is a rather well-established expression that means a person needs loans to make a living...

    That's what I'd take it to mean and so would all the people I know :) Just ask around.
     
  15. Baltic Sea Senior Member

    Polish
    I do not mean living on a literal (financial) credit.
     
  16. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Given how common the meaning I'm talking about is I'm afraid saying this in Polish to mean a different thing could create confusion :) It doesn't really translate well into Polish as you can see.
     
  17. Baltic Sea Senior Member

    Polish
    You may be right.
     
  18. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    To me it would mean the same as in English, if you provided some context with that (that the woman was seriously ill, or something like that). It would be just figurative use, not any kind of idiom to use over and over again.
     
  19. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Perhaps within some reasonable context I would read it to mean the same but I have a hard time imagining it.
     
  20. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Germany
    German & AmE
    If we wanted to keep this idiom, wouldn't it be possible to somehow modifiy the word 'kredyt' with an adjective in order to slightly shift its meaning in the wanted direction?
     
  21. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Not in the way I can think of, no.
     
  22. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Germany
    German & AmE
    I realize that now, too. It's a set expression in English with a wording different from what it actually means. We can't just use the same expression in Polish.

    If I didn't know the real meaning, I would understand "live on borrowed time" as meaning "It's possible that one could die anytime soon".
     
  23. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    I am pretty sure you could use it in Polish, in a figurative way. It just depends on the audience. Some people are not used to metaphors at all, and then everything has to be straightforward.
     
  24. Szkot Senior Member

    Edinburgh
    UK English
    Ale mniej więcej oznacza właśnie to. Angielski wyraz ma pesymistyczny ton. Nie oczekiwano, że będzie długo żyć.
     
  25. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    That's wrong on many levels. First, "żyć na kredyt" has a very well-established idiomatic meaning, namely "to live off loans", and that's why it's not the best choice. It could simply create confusion and be ambigous, there exist better figurative ways to render it...
     
  26. kknd Senior Member

    Polska / Poland
    polski / Polish
    „żyć na kredyt” – zdecydowanie nie bez żadnego dookreślenia: w tym momencie oznacza to jakiegoś rodzaju zobowiązanie, ale chyba wyłącznie czysto materialne; w pierwszej chwili pomyślałem, że „dostać od życia drugą szansę” będzie pasować idealnie, ale istotnie brakuje tutaj zaznaczenia długu. może coś własnego a'la „zaciągnęła kredyt u śmierci” (to chyba zbyt drastyczne) albo „wzięła pożyczkę w banku czasu” (a to chyba za bardzo przegadane). wydaje mi się, że brak takiego sformułowania w języku polskim; częściej spotyka się u nas sformułowania w rodzaju „już długo nie pociągnie”, „na razie wywinął się śmierci”, ”wkrótce wykituje” itp. brak w tym jednak poetyzmu, czy delikatności…
     
  27. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I find Kknd's suggestions the best there are to convey this in Polish, although they are a bit overly flowery.
     

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