Deber in future tense

hdelplato

Member
English - United States
Hello all!

I came across a grammar question while working with some translated documents (English to Spanish). In an instruction manual, the translator wrote "deberá"--this is the first time I have seen deber used in the future tense. The instructions given were something like "Keep this manual for future reference" (Deberá guardar este manual...)

Was this an incorrect use of the future tense? I understand what the translator is getting at--that in the future, one might need the instructions...so keep them! At the same time, however, I always thought that deber as a verb implies future tense (or an action that has not yet been completed). If you should/must do something, isn't it clear that the action has not yet been fulfilled, in which case using the future tense would just be repetitive?

Just hoping for some insight into this topic of using Deber in the future tense. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks in advance.
 
  • Cacambo

    Member
    English - Great Britain
    The idea expressed by the future of deber isn't apparent in the English you give. Guarda este manual ... would do just as well, wouldn't it?
     

    hdelplato

    Member
    English - United States
    Assuming the translator took the English to mean "you should keep this manual...", wouldn't deber in the indicative or imperative make more sense than using the future tense?
     

    Quique Alfaro

    Senior Member
    castellano
    Hola:

    I could use "deberá" as a translation if the original was something like:

    You will keep this manual for future reference.

    or

    You are to keep this manual for future reference.

    Saludos.
     

    donbill

    Senior Member
    English - American
    The problem is that should, must and ought do not incorporate the idea of tense in English. Deber, on the other hand, can be used in any tense. I think Quique Alfaro has given you a good answer.
     

    hdelplato

    Member
    English - United States
    So is "deberá" more like MUST than SHOULD? (i.e.: you must keep this manual for future reference vs. you should keep this manual for future reference)
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hello all!

    I came across a grammar question while working with some translated documents (English to Spanish). In an instruction manual, the translator wrote "deberá"--this is the first time I have seen deber used in the future tense. The instructions given were something like "Keep this manual for future reference" (Deberá guardar este manual...)

    Was this an incorrect use of the future tense? I understand what the translator is getting at--that in the future, one might need the instructions...so keep them! At the same time, however, I always thought that deber as a verb implies future tense (or an action that has not yet been completed). If you should/must do something, isn't it clear that the action has not yet been fulfilled, in which case using the future tense would just be repetitive?

    Just hoping for some insight into this topic of using Deber in the future tense. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks in advance.
    I wouldn't call "deberá" incorrect, though it seems to me an unnecessary use. The problem here is that we have to guess what the translator had in mind, how he interpreted the original text. It seems that he read a "should/must" (you should keep this manual for future reference), and so he went with "deber" (when "should" has a sense of obligation, in translation it often behaves like "must", and they are both often automatically translated with "deber"), and then he conjugated the verb in the future tense (deberá) because of the implied futurity. What the translator should've considered is that the Spanish present subjunctive correlates nicely with the English bare infinitive: they both look to the future, and they both carry a sort of "soft" command: keep this manual ~ guarde este manual. Call it poetic/translator license; he probably thought he would get the message across better that way (or what he perceived as the message). I would've used the present subjunctive; it's perfectly true to the original sense.
    Cheers
     

    Elcanario

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Hello all!

    I came across a grammar question while working with some translated documents (English to Spanish). In an instruction manual, the translator wrote "deberá"--this is the first time I have seen deber used in the future tense. The instructions given were something like "Keep this manual for future reference" (Deberá guardar este manual...)
    Hola
    En los manuales de instrucciones es habitual usar la forma futura "deberá".
    Este tipo de documentos recopilan lo que debe hacer el lector en el futuro.
    Un saludo
     
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