seemed hardly able to bear the burden

fabio407

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hi!

The following excerpt of a novel

"[...] of a laburmum, whose tremolous braches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs [...]"

was translated this way in a printed bilingual edition:

"[...] eines Goldregens [...], dessen zitternde Zweige die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit kaum zu tragen vermochten [...]"

If I'm not wrong, the translator changed the meaning of the sentence from

(i) "seemed hardly be able to bare something" (it is not certain, it just looks like the branches were hardly able to bare the burden)
to
(ii) something like "could hardly bare something" (it's an affirmation that they could bare the burden, though hardly).

I'm wondering whether the following translation I've made up would be correct. My aim is to learn the structure of the compound verb in this case. Is double infinitive ("tragen vermögen", in this case) used in this type of periphrase (seem to + verb) or just with modal verbs?
"
"[...] eines Goldregens [...], dessen zitternde Zweige die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit kaum zu tragen vermögen schienen [...]"

Or would it be "tragen vermochten schienen"? Or another structure?

Thanks!
 
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  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    It would have to be
    "[...] eines Goldregens [...], dessen zitternde Zweige die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit kaum zu tragen zu vermögen schienen [...]"
    🤢🤢🤢
    This is probable why the translator chose to omit schienen.

    You could rescue the sentence like this

    "[...] eines Goldregens [...], dessen zitternde Zweige die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit kaum tragen zu können schienen [...]"
    This would reduce the way it sounds from three to one 🤢.
     
    Last edited:

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    of a laburmum, whose tremolous braches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs
    ...eines Goldregens, dessen zitternden Zweige kaum fähig schienen, die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit zu tragen.

    ...eines Goldregens, dessen zitternden Zweige den Eindruck erweckten, kaum die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit tragen zu können.


    "Etwas vermögen zu tun" is an elevated way to express this, but it makes the construction overly complex.
     

    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    Ich würde den Satz umformen zu:
    "[...] eines Goldregens [...], dessen zitternde Zweige kaum fähig schienen, die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit zu tragen."

    Cross-posted with #3
    ...eines Goldregens, dessen zitternden Zweige kaum fähig schienen, die Last ihrer flammengleichen Schönheit zu tragen.
    :thumbsup: - wir hatten denselben Gedanken.
     
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