Clouds

New Arabic Learner

New Member
English USA
I'm a language-lover and have, after studying Arabic on and off for about two years, have decided to delve in and dedicate a lot of time to this study. I'm using various texts and other materials. I recently came across a sentence I am having trouble translating into English. It is:

السحاب كلما مر أمام نافذتي ينظر الي ويطالبني بك.​

My translation is as follows:

Whenever the clouds pass infront of my window, they look at me and ask me about you.

It this correct? I have reservations and would welcome any comments on this translation. Thanks, New Arabic Learner
 
  • cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Welcome to the forum :)
    Your translation is correct. But I have reservation too with the translation of يطالبني بك it's because this is not asking يسألني عنك . This verb yutaalib is like demanding, so it means something a bit strange : the clouds want you, or asking me to give you to them (!).
    So I guess your sentence is more plausible, because a literal translation of the verb يطالب would give a rather strange meaning, unless you have more context to make us accept this literal meaning.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Hello, and welcome to the forums. :)

    Your translation is great. I just have a few nit-picky comments:

    أمام here would be better translated as "by" and not "in front of."
    يطالبني بك is more than just "ask me about you." It's more like "ask me for you." (Obviously we wouldn't say this in everyday speech but this sentence is poetic. How often does a cloud ask you for anything? ;)) It's almost as though the clouds knew that I knew where you were and are therefore demanding that I bring you out or give you to the clouds. If you owed me money, I would طالبك بالنقود. I hope that helps explain the connotation of the Arabic verb.
    Also, because the Arabic sentence begins with السحاب it would be nice to maintain that emphasis in the translation.

    That said, here's my suggested translation:

    The clouds, whenever they pass by my window, look at me and ask me for you.
     

    New Arabic Learner

    New Member
    English USA
    Thank you both for your advice. Elroy, I had noticed that the VSO was reversed in this sentence to be SVO and had considered exactly what you suggested in your last sentence. In response to Cherine's question about further context, I had recently bought a book that explains the differences between words of similar meaning. For this word, several example sentences were given, all out of context. One of the sentences was this one. I agree with Elroy that it seems poetic -- and, thus, to a certain degree, the proverbial "poetic license" should be considered in its translation. Again, thank you so much. I am excited about Arabic and am glad I am in the ballpark!
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    New Arabic Learner said:
    I'm a language-lover and have, after studying Arabic on and off for about two years, have decided to delve in and dedicate a lot of time to this study. I'm using various texts and other materials. I recently came across a sentence I am having trouble translating into English. It is:


    كلما مر السحاب أمام نافذتي ينظر الي ويطالبني بك.​


    My translation is as follows:

    Whenever the clouds pass infront of my window, they look at me and ask me about you.

    It this correct? I have reservations and would welcome any comments on this translation. Thanks, New Arabic Learner
    New Arabic learner , welcome to the Arabic forum.
    I will not add any thing .I just have re-ordered the sentence and you are kindly asked to look at it .
    Thank you
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Ayed, you are aware that the sentence came from some book or other text and is not NAL's own, aren't you?

    I agree that your version is more common but the original version is also correct and somewhat more poetic.
     
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