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Man muss die Welt nicht verstehen, man muss sich nur in ihr zurechtfinden

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by SoONicK, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. SoONicK Senior Member

    italian
    Hello everybody.
    I bought a postcard with an Einstein (German) quote, that I would like to translate:
    "Man muss due welt nicht verstehen,
    man muss sich nur in ihr zurechtfinden"

    I tried to translate with some internet translators, but I would like to be sure about its meaning
    My try:
    "One (or Man) has not to understand the world, one has to find his own way"

    Furthermore, I am Italian, so if you can translate also in Italian would be great!
    Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  2. Conquistadores

    Conquistadores Senior Member

    Spanish - Perú
    Ciao Soonick,

    ich schreibe dir auf Deutsch, denn ich möchte die Regel hier nicht übertreten.

    Ich würde mal sagen: We should not understand the world, we should only find our own way in it" Aber warte mal, dass ein Muttersprachler was anderes sagt.

    Auf Italienisch würde ich sagen: "Non si deve capire il mondo, ci si deve arrangiare" Du könntest auch den Satz mit "noi" machen (Non dobbiamo capire....).

    Ich hoffe, dass mein Italienisch immer noch gut ist!

    Grüße,
     
  3. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    I believe you got it about right.

    I read it as "One/Mankind doesn't need to understand the world, they/he (mankind) only need to find their own way (in the world)."
     
  4. Conquistadores

    Conquistadores Senior Member

    Spanish - Perú
    Just a doubt: when zou use "one" in the first sentence, zou also need to use it in the second one, right? Like "one doesn´t need.... one only needs..."

    Thanks!
     
  5. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Saxony-Anhalt
    German
    I don't think Einstein meant mankind as a whole but each individual.
     
  6. Bahiano

    Bahiano Senior Member

    Hi folks,

    I personally don't like the "find your own way" part, so here's my attempt:
    "You don't need to understand the world, you just have to get along with it."
     
  7. SoONicK Senior Member

    italian
    Ok, thanks a lot! ;)
     
  8. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    That does actually sound much better. I agree.
    But doesn't the 'zurechtfinden' imply more of a sense of finding your way/ finding ____ ?
     
  9. Sowka

    Sowka Forera und Moderatorin

    Hannover
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello :)

    Something like "to orientate oneself within it", perhaps. "Sich zurechtfinden" does not necessarily mean to find a way, it just means to cope by largely knowing what's where.

    For instance, when I'm in a new apartment, and the owner starts explaining where everything is, then I might say: "Oh, vielen Dank! Ich werde mich schon zurechtfinden". This is not about finding a way (or would you say "find my way" in this situation?) -- this is more about being able to get along in a surrounding. (And I think this is what we do in the world...)
     
  10. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Hmm, see, but to me, this would be like "finding your way around". This may just be one of those "English has more uses" of a word/phrase than German does?

    Like, in your example with the apartment. I could easily find myself saying, "Oh thanks! I'm sure I'll find my way around (the apartment)" in a way that means figure out where/what things are and how to get along in the apartment.

    I'm still having trouble separating the saying and its meaning in German from a (pretty much) equal meaning in English. :(
     
  11. Sowka

    Sowka Forera und Moderatorin

    Hannover
    German, Northern Germany
    Ah, thanks! I wasn't aware of the expression "find my way around" (I'm phrasal-verb challenged :eek: ;)). So this is what we are doing in the world :)
     
  12. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Now I am very confused! In a good way though. ;)

    Well, in English for Example, we use this for "getting to know something / learn the area/space."

    Such as:
    "Hello! Welcome to our town. Would you like a map?"
    "No, thanks, I'm sure I'll find my way around."
    or
    "Wow, he's only worked here a week and already knows every corner of this store. He certainly knows his way around. (has found his way around)"

    Does the German set of words that make up zurechtfinden literally mean to+right+find? Sort of like find your right way? (I know that one word composed of other words is not always "so simple" but isn't this so here?)
     
  13. Conquistadores

    Conquistadores Senior Member

    Spanish - Perú
    I think "finding one's way around" is a better choice than "getting along with", even though the latter sounds better, I don't think it's the most accurate equivalent to ,,zurechtfinden". Anyway, probably we should wait for someone that is fully bilingual in English and German.
     
  14. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    If those subtle differences are important to you then I have to agree with Conquistadores.

    'getting along with somebody or some situation' conveys the primary meaning of accepting someone/something for the sake of peace and harmony, even though one might not quite agree or like it.
    The reverse translation is something like "mit jemandem auskommen/zurechtkommen" or maybe also "sich mit etwas abfinden (da man es wohl nicht ändern kann)".

    The literal meaning of "zurechtfinden" is very close to 'finding one's way around'.
    I guess, the extended meaning in Albert's quote is: 'one has to find the good things in life/this world, while avoiding/ignoring the bad (considering that the definition of good and bad can be very different for each individual)'
    ...or something along those lines...
     
  15. Conquistadores

    Conquistadores Senior Member

    Spanish - Perú
    Manfy,

    Totally agree with you. You have explained it nicely.

    < ... >

    Cheers,
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  16. Sowka

    Sowka Forera und Moderatorin

    Hannover
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello :)

    I think it's not about "accepting bad things", but it's about "dealing with the phenomena and requirements pragmatically".

    Wir müssen die Welt nicht verstehen -- we don't have to understand the world (the mechanisms that are at work, the deeper motivations...),
    Wir müssen uns darin zurechtfinden -- we must be able to act within it while living our lives.

    This is the contrast that I see in the quote.
     
  17. manfy Senior Member

    Singapore
    German - Austria
    Exactly, I totally agree!

    The term "getting along with it" (or "zurechtkommen") conveys a sense of 'accepting it/just live with it (whatever you don't like)', contrary to "zurechtfinden", which feels more like 'find the things you want to find (in the way that is right for you)'.
    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but "zurechtfinden" has a much more positive ring to it than "zurechtkommen"
     
  18. das brennende Gespenst Senior Member

    Berlin, Deutschland
    Australisches Englisch
    If you say in English, you have to "get a long with it" (with "it" meaning the world), it kind of sounds like you're personifying the world and saying that you have to have a good relationship with it ("Man muss sich gut mit der Welt vertragen." !??) You could say that you have to get along in it, but I don't like that so much. Personally, I would translate it as "You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your way in it."

    Someone shouldn't do something = Jemand soll(te) etwas nicht machen. Das heißt, dass es eine schlechte Idee ist, von der jemand einen anderen abraten möchte.

    Wenn etwas einfach nicht nötig ist, sagt man auf Deutsch Jemand muss etwas nicht machen oder Jemand braucht, etwas nicht zu machen. und auf English someone doesn't have to do something oder someone doesn't need to do something.
     
  19. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Saxony-Anhalt
    German
    I believe, Einstein meant by "zurechtfinden" just "to orient yourself".

    Does anyone know the context of this quote?

    Without knowing it I'd say he wants to say "You don't have to know the natural laws (in theory), you just have to know their practical effects,", e.g. it's unimportant why the apple falls down to the earth you only have to know that it falls down.
     
  20. StephalumpxD New Member

    Vienna - Austria
    Austrian German
    How about : "You don't need to understand the world, you only need to cope with it" ?
     
  21. Sowka

    Sowka Forera und Moderatorin

    Hannover
    German, Northern Germany
    Hello :)

    That's how I read it, too (but was not quite able to express above...).
     
  22. Bahiano

    Bahiano Senior Member

    Ooops,

    My first statement
    was based on two facts I was missing:
    1.) I wasn't aware of the big difference between zurechtkommen and zurechtfinden. Thanks to MANFY for that! ;)

    2.) I didn't know the expression "to find your way around". Thanks to FILLSMITH for that superb explanation! ;)

    So now, after all your statements made me think deeper and more precisely, I'd like to apologize for my first statement on the one hand, and thank you guys on the other hand for giving me the chance to have a deeper look on it.

    Cheers, Bahiano
     

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