(masu-form)+sou ni naru

Starfrown

Senior Member
English - US
I came across the following sentence recently:

声をあげそうになった。

A translator chose to render it with "almost":

"He almost let out a yell."

I suppose a more literal understanding would be something along the lines of the following:

"It came to the point that he looked as though he would let out a yell (lit. raise his voice)."

the implication being that he didn't cry out.

Do you think I have it right?

Are there any other convenient ways of translating this construction?
 
  • Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I came across the following sentence recently:

    声をあげそうになった。

    A translator chose to render it with "almost":

    "He almost let out a yell."
    Why not?
    I think this translation with "almost" is typical and natural translation.

    Because I learned at school in that way.
    Please explain a bit more why not?


    I suppose a more literal understanding would be something along the lines of the following:

    "It came to the point that he looked as though he would let out a yell (lit. raise his voice)."

    the implication being that he didn't cry out.

    I agree with your translation.

    Do you think I have it right? Yes.

    Are there any other convenient ways of translating this construction?

    He almost cried out.

    My interpretation, though not convenient one, would be;
    He was going to cry out involuntary, but at a single instant, he knew it would be fatal, so he managed to cease it, with success.

    How about this?

    I barely held on at the last minute from crying out.


    Does this English make sense?
     
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    Dheara

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    動詞連用形(=VBます)+ そう= It seemed to me- it is the speaker's own impression about something.

    (In this structure (動詞連用形+そう)、そう is called "Aspectual そう”.)
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It seemed to me that he got to the point of rising his voice/admit defeat.(?)
    Hi.
    It seems to me that your translation is different from the original sentence.

    edit;
    On second thoughts I realize that your translation can be possible.
    Your interpretation is rather "objective observation", or recognized by others (=by me).
    Mine and maybe Starfrown's would rather be "subjective one", or recognizing himself.

    I thought it was definitely subjective, but after thinking it carefully, I change my mind that objective one might be possible according to the context.
    So we need more context, which to choose.
     
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    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    How about this?

    At the last minute moment, he barely held back from crying out.

    Does this English make sense?
    "Last minute" is well-established, but a minute seems too long an interval for what we're talking about. You could use "moment" or "second" instead.

    I would suggest moving the phrase "at the last moment" to the front of the sentence to make it clear that it modifies "held back" and not "crying out."

    It seemed to me that he got to the point of rising his voice/admit defeat.(?)
    In this context, I don't think it would be appropriate to translate the Japanese literally with "raise his voice." The main character is frightened by something and almost cries out.

    Hi.
    It seems to me that your translation is different from the original sentence.

    edit;
    On second thoughts I realize that your translation can be possible.
    Your interpretation is rather "objective observation", or recognized by others (=by me).
    Mine and maybe Starfrown's would rather be "subjective one", or recognizing himself.

    I thought it was definitely subjective, but after thinking it carefully, I change my mind that objective one might be possible according to the context.
    So we need more context, which to choose.
    The omniscient narrator is relating what the main character did on a train trip. I guess then that sou refers to the narrator's impression, with the implication that anyone else observing the main character would come to the same conclusion.
    ----
    I think we have some good suggestions here:

    "He almost..."
    "He barely stopped himself from..."
    "He came to the point of..."

    Many more variations on these would be possible.

    To Wishfull:
    I don't have any problem at all with simply using "almost" in the translation. I was just trying to make sure I understood the Japanese expression correctly.

    Thanks to you both.
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    "Last minute" is well-established, but a minute seems too long an interval for what we're talking about. You could use "moment" or "second" instead.
    Thank you for your advice. I misunderstood "last minute" and "last second" were identical. How foolish! I got it. It is such an easy thing, but I'll never know unless you teach me. Thanks.
    So, if this novel which I supposed to be "Yukiguni by Y.Kawabata" again were not a novel but a scientific description, it would be better to say "at the last micro-second", right?


    I would suggest moving the phrase "at the last moment" to the front of the sentence to make it clear that it modifies "held back" and not "crying out."
    Thank you. I understand. I don't have confidence that I'll not repeat the same mistake again, but I'll try the correct-word/phrase-order.

    In this context, I don't think it would be appropriate to translate the Japanese literally with "raise his voice." The main character is frightened by something and almost cries out.


    The omniscient narrator is relating what the main character did on a train trip. I guess then that sou refers to the narrator's impression, with the implication that anyone else observing the main character would come to the same conclusion.
    ----
    I think we have some good suggestions here:

    "He almost..."
    "He barely stopped himself from..."
    "He came to the point of..."
    "He nearly....." is my another option.;)

    Many more variations on these would be possible.

    To Wishfull:
    I don't have any problem at all with simply using "almost" in the translation. I was just trying to make sure I understood the Japanese expression correctly.
    OK.

    Thanks to you both.
    You're welcome, and thanks to YOU, too.
     
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    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, it is Yukiguni.

    I'll address Wishfull's question briefly:

    "At the last minute/moment/second" is pretty much limited to non-scientific writing, and I wouldn't expect to see "at the last micro-second" unless the author were experimenting a bit. In scientific writing, one would be more likely to say "After X seconds/micro-seconds/etc., he did Y"; it is as exact as possible.
     

    Wishfull

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Yes, it is Yukiguni.
    So it was Kawabata and all the readers of that novel, who were watching that Shimamura almost cried out when he saw the woman's face on the window of the train.

    I'll address Wishfull's question briefly:

    "At the last minute/moment/second" is pretty much limited to non-scientific writing, and I wouldn't expect to see "at the last micro-second" unless the author were experimenting a bit. In scientific writing, one would be more likely to say "After X seconds/micro-seconds/etc., he did Y"; it is as exact as possible.
    Thanks again, for your faithful advice.
    That was my joke. My very childish joke, such as;
    "Then I should have written 'at the last 1/60 minute', right?" :p:D
    I apologize if you have a frown face now, but I'm wishful of your smile face.;)
     
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    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks again, for your faithful advice.
    That was my joke. My very childish joke, such as;
    "Then I should have written 'at the last 1/60 minute', right?" :p:D
    I apologize if you have a frown face now, but I'm wishful of your smile face.;)
    I should have known.:)

    Now my rather pedantic explanation looks ridiculous.:eek:
    ----
    Thanks again for your insight.
     
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