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    #1

    Wrong translation?

    Hello everybody,
    I am a teacher in Germany teaching English. My students confuse me with sentences that seem wrong in their essay about a short story called "Locker 160". Can anyone help me with these sentences?

    1. Das macht sie zu schlechten Menschen
    Student's version: That makes them to bad people.

    2. The worst thing is that they are so arrogant people and think they make everything right although they make everything wrong and stupid.
    --> The students wants to say that they are acting correctly (= Sie glauben, dass sie alles richtig machen).
    Thanks a lot!
    Hanna

  1. Banned
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    #2

    Re: Wrong translation?

    (Not a teacher)

    Don't bother yourself.Just point their mistakes!

    Make sb + to + noun phrase???What on earth this mean?!

    your job is to teach them.Weather they like it or not!

    have you talked to the dean??

  2. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Wrong translation?

    (Neither a Teacher nor a German Linguist)

    I think your student was trying to say:
    "That makes them bad people."
    I'd need context to determine whether that's right or not though.

    This is how I'd phrase the second sentence:
    "The worst thing is that they are such arrogant people that they think that they set everything right, while in reality they make everything worse."

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    #4

    Re: Wrong translation?

    Quote Originally Posted by hooshdar3 View Post
    (Not a teacher)

    Don't bother yourself.Just point their mistakes!

    Make sb + to + noun phrase???What on earth this mean?!

    your job is to teach them.Weather they like it or not!

    have you talked to the dean??
    The problem with German students is that they "translate" too much from German into English and when we mark their essays we have to not only mark things WRONG but also correct them. But sometimes I don't know how. But thanks a lot anyway.

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    #5

    Re: Wrong translation?

    I thought about "turn them into bad people" but it doesn't really fit into the student's context.
    But your second suggestion is really helpful. Thanks a lot.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Wrong translation?

    Quote Originally Posted by HANNA_G View Post
    The problem with German students is that they "translate" too much from German into English and when we mark their essays we have to not only mark things WRONG but also correct them. But sometimes I don't know how. But thanks a lot anyway.
    Not just German ones! But the particular problem is that German has phrasal verbs. (To put it another way, the English tendency to use phrasal verbs is Germanic.) Machen zu is often, as here, just 'make'. But we do have the phrase 'make into' - usually denoting a complete change, as in 'You're exaggerating, and making it into something it's not', or 'The trouble with Word is that it started life as a word-processing package and they've kept adding bells and whistles - trying to make it into a desktop-publishing solution.'

    ('Make into' has a logical opposite 'make out of'. If A is made into B, B is made out of A.)

    In your text though, machen zu is probably just 'make'. I say 'probably' because if there's a complete transformation it could be 'make into'. You make someone bad, but you can make a good person into a bad person.

    b

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    #7

    Re: Wrong translation?

    Sometimes, it's not optimal to translate the text - it's better to translate the meaning.

    In the case of your first example, you could have said "it brings out the worst in people".
    In the second example, a direct translation seems ok ("they think/believe they're doing everything correctly/properly").

    Translations are also a great source of fun and humour, as in the German telling the waiter in a resaurant "I want to become a beefsteak"

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