Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by amberfywood, May 7, 2013.

  1. amberfywood New Member

    English - British
    I was recently doing a translation about a project on the development of a computer programmed voice which can sing. A concert was held in which a famous opera singer and the computerised voice did a duet. Could someone tell me what набиваться means in this context please?:

    Искусным оперным певцам в дуэт набиваются компьютеры

    Thank you for your help!

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2013
  2. Sobakus Senior Member

    Набиваться (напрашиваться, навязываться) в кого-то (Acc. Pl. even if animate), куда-то = to try and get somewhere, become something; to force oneself.

    For example, набиваться в друзья = force one's friendship upon smb (says my dictionary).
  3. amberfywood New Member

    English - British
    Thanks for your help! What do you think that could mean in this sentence then? Maybe "A skilled opera singer has been put with a computer to do a duet"? I'm not sure it sounds right, the way I've put it.
  4. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Or sometimes to invite oneself
  5. Sobakus Senior Member

    The computer is being personalised here, since it's the subject. "Computer going for a duet with virtuoso opera singers".
  6. antongrin New Member

    Moscow, Rus
    I'd like to point out that to my mind, the word набиваться has a negative connotation, so here the author doesn't like the idea of combining human voice and computer sound.
  7. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    It's a rather confusing piece of journalism since the headline in your story on Russian 1TV (link removed as it contains video) reads "В Великобритании оперная дива спела дуэтом с компьютером", in other words, an opera singer has sung a duet with a computer - it happened once with one computer. The journalist then begins his article with the sentence "Искусным оперным певцам в дуэт набиваются компьютеры", generalising something that has happened once as if it is - or could now be - a routine occurrence, with more than one computer and more than one singer involved.

    For the sake of clarity, leaving aside the question of how many times it has happened and how many computers are involved, if the author is describing this particular event, I would translate "набиваться" here using the verb "to bag oneself (something)": "A computer has bagged itself a duet with an accomplished opera singer." The nuance of "bag itself" here is that the main beneficiary of the exercise was the computer, not the singer.

    If, on the other hand, "набиваться" is to be understood in a more generalised context as "предлагать услуги" (now it has been done once, as described in the article, it can be done again), you might prefer "computers available/offer their services for duets ..."

    Sobakus's suggestion in #5 is good idiomatic journalese too. I would say "набиваться" here isn't carrying much verbal meaning, so you might also consider something like "computer lines up with opera singer in duet" as a headline (in which articles are usually omitted). The sense of "line up" in English is "to arrange for an event or activity to happen, or arrange for somebody to be available to do something" - meaning 2 under phrasal verbs in the Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary here.

    Another possibility: "computer weighs in for duet with ...". The sense of "weigh in" is "to join in a discussion, an argument, an activity, etc. by saying something important, persuading somebody, or doing something to help" as shown on the OALD page here.
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  8. Sobakus Senior Member

    An excellent explanation, as always, Enquiring Mind! antongrin's comment on the negative connotation got me thinking on how to better express this arrogance of the computer in English though. "To bag oneself" sounds quite close, what about "to take on"? "To chime in", maybe? :)

    And what about the generalisation? For some reason I doubt whether using the plural in a similar manner sounds entirely natural in English.
  9. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Thank you Sobakus, you are too kind :eek:. "To take on" sounds pretty good to me, though I must admit that as a foreigner, I can't feel sure about the precise meaning of "набиваться" in this context.

    The one objection that could be raised against "take on" is that the image is of one side competing with an opponent in order to win, whereas in a duet, the singers are (hopefully) singing in harmony and cooperation, complementing one another in order for them both to produce a pleasing outcome, not one singer trying to outperform the other. However if you, as the native, feel some sort of "competitive" or "adversarial" meaning in the sense of "набиваться" in this context, "to take on" would be good. "Chimes in" is great here, I think, as it includes the musical pun.

    On the issue of how to render the generalisation in English, I think using plurals is probably the most idiomatic answer here, but somehow this sentence "Искусным оперным певцам в дуэт набиваются компьютеры" feels odd to me as a generalisation. If computers now have this particular skill, then presumably they can apply it to any singers, not just opera singers, and to any opera singers - even bad ones (no names mentioned ;)), not just talented ones.
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  10. Sobakus Senior Member

    To tell you the truth, even being a native speaker I can't be sure about its precise meaning either :)

    The whole sentence looks like a disapprovingly ironic remark, sort of "Will you look at that! До чего дожили! Computers think they can sing opera!" That's what the plural generalisation is for, and that's why I suggested "to take on": the author considers the idea of a computer singing an opera duet silly, the challenge out of its league.
  11. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Oh well, excellent - I'm afraid the irony was lost on me (that's my shortcoming), but in that case "take on" is fine, and another couple of options in that sort of sense could be:
    "Computers pit themselves against talented opera singers."
    "Computers try talented opera singers for size."

    Thanks for the explanation!
  12. amberfywood New Member

    English - British
    Wow, this has been incredibly helpful! Thank you all for your help.
  13. Ёж! Senior Member

    I read it in the way that the first sentence sets up the context for the consequent narration. That is, first, it is said that, in general, computers learn to sing together with human singers, and then the author objectifies his view by telling of an example. I do not see any ambiguity in meaning.
    Let's take a football team of young people (< 16) gathered from a local neighbourhood ("дворовая команда"). It's not official, and the team does not have to feature the same list of players for all games; instead, it just takes people who wish to play and, more or less, know how to play. Now, if someone younger or less skilled expresses his wish to play, he might get a scorny reply; other would say of him that he "набивается в команду". But, who knows, the younger player may turn out to play not so badly as he was expected, after all… Anyway, in the case with our computers, the usage of "набиваться" is very similar, I'd say almost the same (I have also some connotations with "набиваться/напрашиваться на драку": when someone teases an older or stronger person in knowledge that the older one will not beat him because he's too young or something). Another one that is quite connected is "набиваться в друзья": when someone deliberately tries hard to become your friend, and you do not respect very much that person. So, the meaning is very rich. ;)
    Last edited: May 8, 2013

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