it's not like

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Darth Nihilus, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Darth Nihilus

    Darth Nihilus Senior Member

    Santa Catarina
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Hallo an alle!

    I was wondering how could I render this sentence into German:

    "C'mon, you can come closer, it's not like my breathing is gonna kill ya, is it?"

    The part in bold is where I'm having trouble, I just can't find any equivalence in German good enough. I tried to change the sentence a little bit to sound more idiomatic, yet it's still coming off so lame and literal. That's what I have now:

    "Komm schon, du kannst ja näher kommen, es ist nicht so, als ob mein Atmen dich töten könnte, oder?"

    Any ideas how could I write this sentence in German properly?

  2. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    This is just a brainstorm: Komm schon, du kannst etwas näher rücken---es besteht keine Gefahr, dass mein Atem* dich umbringt, oder?

    *Do you mean "Atem" or "Atmen". Note the subtle difference.
  3. Glockenblume Senior Member

    Deutsch (Hochdeutsch und "Frängisch")
    ... mein Atem bringt dich doch nicht um.
  4. Frieder

    Frieder Senior Member

    More loosely translated: "Komm schon, du kannst ruhig näher kommen, mein Atem wird dich schon nicht umbringen."
    And I would drop the "oder?", because it is not quite equivalent to "is it?".
  5. Darth Nihilus

    Darth Nihilus Senior Member

    Santa Catarina
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Thank you for the suggestions! :)

    But the part "it's not like" remains unclear. Perpend suggested "es besteht keine Gefahr", but the two natives simply omitted it. So, are we to conclude that there's actually no equivalent expression of it?? Which, by the way, wouldn't be really surprising. I do have a hard time to translate that into Portuguese as well, sometimes I simply leave it out.

    Oh yes, I really meant "Atmen". I turned the verb into a noun :D.
  6. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    English (US)
    I would actually drop the "is it?" in the English sentence too (altho this is admittedly a subtle point), probably for the same reason Frieder doesn't like "oder?". The assumption behind the sentence is that the person addressed might fear the speaker's breath and so the speaker is asserting that that fear is unfounded; thus he would not ask for confirmation, which is the function of "is it?". (Compare, "That's not a new car you have, is it?")
    I think "there's no danger" would be a good paraphrase of the English sentence, so I think the Gefahr phrase make a fine loose translation. But just for the record, "there's no danger" IS a loose translation (as perpend certainly meant it to be - good for this context); but that's not in general what "it's not like" means. (Compare, "Oh, I just didn't want to spend $10 on a tiny sandwich; it's not like I don't have $10 in my wallet", which wouldn't be paraphrased with "danger").

    So what does "it's not like" really mean? Very little, actually (so it's not surprising that the Germans didn't translate it explicitly). "You can come closer - my breathing isn't gonna kill ya" means essentially the same thing. "it's not like" is a more colloquial version of "it's not that", which in turn is a slightly less "gehoben" form of "it's not the case that"/"Es ist nicht der Fall, dass". "it's not like" affects the English sentence very much like a modal particle affects a German sentence. (Compare Glockenblume's "doch" in "mein Atem bringt dich doch nicht um" or Frieder's "schon" in "mein Atem wird dich schon nicht umbringen".)
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  7. Glockenblume Senior Member

    Deutsch (Hochdeutsch und "Frängisch")
    Anderer Vorschlag:
    ... du tust ja gerade so, als ob dich mein Atem umbringt.
  8. Darth Nihilus

    Darth Nihilus Senior Member

    Santa Catarina
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Well, we might go off-topic here but I'm bewildered. I'm positive that I've heard "it's not like [insert context here] is it??" countless times; Especially with an aggressive emphasis on "is it". I think it would be necessary to know the context in order to say that "is it" is really asserting something. When I built that sentence, I had a scenario more or less like an interrogation in my mind. Granted, the speaker wouldn't be able to "kill" the other with his/her breathing, but the undertone certainly implies that the speaker is not exactly harmless. So maybe, the fear is, yes, founded.

    Wunderbar!! Das ist genau was ich suchte! Vielen Dank Glockenblume!

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