v tom směru

Discussion in 'Čeština (Czech)' started by slavicist89, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. slavicist89 Member

    English - England
    Dear all, I usually understand the phrase 'v tom směru' to mean something along the lines of 'in this respect', but I cannot make sense of it in this context. As per Wordreference custom, I shall attempt to translate the sentence since it is more than a simple phrase, but I am afraid it may be far off the mark. The context is the speech Jan Fischer made in the Chamber of Deputies when the early elections of 2009 were cancelled. The Czech is 'Dohoda politických stran, které podpořily další pokračování mojí vlády, byla ale jasná v tom směru, že většina ve Sněmovně nepovažuje nové hlasování o důvěře vládě za nezbytné.' Could it mean something along the lines of 'However, the agreement of the political parties which supported the idea that my government should continue was clear insofar as the majority of the Chamber does not consider a new vote of confidence to be necessary.' Am I close? Thank you!
  2. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Welcome to the forums, slavicist89 (- a good year for Slavicists) ;)

    I wouldn't say insofar as here, for two reasons: (a) it may - but doesn't necessarily - bring out clearly the consequential link between the two clauses, and (b) it's too formal in English. Paring the sentence down to the bones, you have "dohoda (....) byla ale jasná v tom směru, že většina (...) nepovažuje nové hlasování o důvěře vládě za nezbytné."

    And don't forget the importance of the "ale" (I know you didn't, because it is in the "however"), but it's introducing a new, contradictory, or "on-the-other-hand" train of thought. Ideally it would have been good to have the whole of the previous section before this new "ale" point of new departure in the sense of the text.

    "However the agreement was clear in the respect that/in the regard that/on the point that .... a majority does not consider (...)"
    The agreement may have been a bit shaky, contentious or open to interpretation on a number of other points, but one respect in which it was clear is that it recognised that a majority of the Chamber didn't consider etc. etc.

    Using "insofar as" to link the two clauses suggests (to me) that these two clauses may be two separate statements of fact independent of each other, not that the second clause is actually consequential to the first, giving an erroneous interpretation as follows: "the agreement was clear ..." since/and in any case/insofar as the Chamber does not consider ... (which isn't the sense).

    Another thing: I would say "a" not "the" majority. When you are talking about parliaments with coalition governments, "the majority" could be misunderstood to mean (a) "the coalition ruling bloc as a whole, voting en bloc" (in the French sense of "la majorité"), instead of simply (b) a majority of MPs - whether they were only from the coalition bloc, or whether they included other MPs not part of the coalition bloc - in a free vote. Without further context, I think it's probably meaning (b) here.

    So depending on what came before, you might want to (but may not have to) bring out the "ale" even more forcefully:
    "What was clear in the agreement (....) however, was that a majority does not consider ..."

    If you don't feel that this degree of forcefulness is warranted (how I wish I could see what came before!), you could consider one of the three options in para 3 above, or in fact you don't need to render "v tom směru" at all: the agreement (...) was clear that a majority ....."
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  3. littledogboy

    littledogboy Senior Member

    What a great answer. I would only add that
    - the word směru is imho redundant in this case, ie v tom směru, že = v tom, že...
    - SSJC dictionary classifies "v tom (jistém, jednom ap.) směru" in this sense as "poněk. zast. a kniž.", ie somewhat dated and literary
  4. werrr Senior Member

    It is not redundant. It waters down the absoluteness of the statement.

    Notice that Czech words směr and smysl have intersection as for their meanings and that the phrase in question is within this intersection (v tom směru = v tom smyslu).

    I think the best English analog here are phrases like to the intent that or to the effect that.

    My attempt:

    However there was clear agreement [...] to the effect that a majority of the Chamber was (is?) not supportive of the idea of a new confidence vote.

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