Use of infinitive for imperative

Interprete

Senior Member
French, France
Hello,

I'm comparing the English and Russian versions of a video game, and there is a quote by a famous author that goes:
"Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too."

The Russian version is:
«Вновь видеть то, что уже прошло. Сколько держав пережили превращение! Видеть вперёд, что будет – тоже возможно»


Why did the translator choose to use the infinitive form in the Russian version? Also, is 'foresee' commonly rendered in Russian with Видеть вперёд?

Thanks.

 
  • Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Why did the translator choose to use the infinitive form in the Russian version? Also, is 'foresee' commonly rendered in Russian with Видеть вперёд?
    It was the Soviet translator of Marcus Aurelius' book "Meditations", by the way. As he wrote in the Preface, he tried to stick to the original ("Τὰ προγεγονότα ἀναθεωρεῖν, τὰς τοσαύτας τῶν ἡγεμονιῶν μεταβολάς. ἔξεστι καὶ τὰ ἐσόμενα προεφορᾶν.") as much as possible. I can't estimate that as I don't read Old Greek!

    As for a possible (in some instances!) translation of "foresee" into Russian, it could be "видеть наперёд" at a maximum. More common is "знать наперёд", though.
     

    MIDAV

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It was the Soviet translator of Marcus Aurelius' book "Meditations", by the way. As he wrote in the Preface, he tried to stick to the original ("Τὰ προγεγονότα ἀναθεωρεῖν, τὰς τοσαύτας τῶν ἡγεμονιῶν μεταβολάς. ἔξεστι καὶ τὰ ἐσόμενα προεφορᾶν.") as much as possible. I can't estimate that as I don't read Old Greek!
    Agreed. Translating an ancient Greek text by means of an English translation is suboptimal.

    Referring to the title of the thread, I would say you can use the infinitive for imperative if you want an authoritative command. E.g. cops to suspected criminals: Стоять / Лежать / Не двигаться etc. Or in the army: Выйти из строя / Стать в строй. Or, if you are a strict parent, to your kids: Ничего не трогать! Из комнаты не выходить!
     
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