Sie fragt freundlich, unter einer Bedingung, daß sie . . .

typeofblue

New Member
Hello,
This is the final line of a short piece by Helga Novak that I am translating. I can't quite wrap my head around the meaning. From what I know, "unter einer Bedingung" means "on/under one/the condition" and "sich nur auf der Durchreise befinden" means something like to be "only passing through" but somehow I can't put it all together.

Here is the complete sentance:
Sie fragt freundlich, unter einer Bedingung, daß sie sich nur auf der Durchreise befinden.

and here is the full paragraph:
Sie sieht mich verzeihend an. Sie ergreift mein Hand. Sie drückt sie. Sie fragt freundlich, unter einer Bedingung, daß sie sich nur auf der Durchreise befinden.

Thank you!
 
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  • Wroclaw

    Senior Member
    American English
    "She asks nicely, on one condition: that they're just passing through." Without knowing the poem any better than as presented in your post, that's how I might translate that line. The question she is asking must be part of the key here, but without further context, I would have to speculate rather wildly as to the nature of what she "fragt." One gets the impression that she would not pose her question if they were not on a very temporary sort of journey with one another. Somehow this fact lifts a vulnerability that seems otherwise to be at stake.

    I don't know if I've been helpful or not, but thanks for the opportuinty to try!
     

    typeofblue

    New Member
    Thanks for your thoughts. I wish the Frage illuminated things but it really doesn't seem to . . . mysterious! Your comments about the tone are giving me some new possible readings though, so yes, a great help. Thanks again.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    The sentence is grammatically not quite correct without context.
    This is the cause why you do not understand it.

    It means: Sie fragt freundlich in dem Fall, dass sie sich nur auf der Durchreise befinden.

    One of the keys to understand the sentence: Who is asking? A custom officer? Who does she ask?

    The common construction would be: Sie fragt freundlich, unter der Bedingung, dass sie sich nur auf der Durchreise befinden.

    "Unter einer Bedingung" can have two meanings: "on one condition" or "on a condition".
    I'm not sure without more context, what she means.
    I suppose she means "under a condition" (in the situation).

    But this is not sure, because the style is strange and not clear in this sentence.
    It should have been than: ... unter einer Bedingung, in der sie sich auf der Durchreise befinden".
     
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