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"we are looking at our wake"

English translation: Moving waves that a boat leaves behind it

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05:20 Dec 9, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
English term or phrase: "we are looking at our wake"
I can pretty much figure out what it means, but a detailed explanation would be great. Thanks.
Konstantin Kisin
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:54
English translation:Moving waves that a boat leaves behind it
Explanation:
WAKE - Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving across the waters.

if this fits your context - we are looking to the past instead of to the future

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Note added at 11 mins (2004-12-09 05:32:10 GMT)
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http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/gloss.htm#W
Selected response from:

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 16:54
Grading comment
given the context it's definitely this answer, thanks a lot to everyone.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +3Moving waves that a boat leaves behind itRHELLER
3 +3we are witnessing our own demise
Kevin Kelly
4looking backwards
airmailrpl
4FYI a "wake" is usually a watch or vigil after someone diesxxxCMJ_Trans


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
wake
Moving waves that a boat leaves behind it


Explanation:
WAKE - Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving across the waters.

if this fits your context - we are looking to the past instead of to the future

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2004-12-09 05:32:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/gloss.htm#W

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 16:54
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 27
Grading comment
given the context it's definitely this answer, thanks a lot to everyone.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  moken: Hi Rita - do you think this would be to just gaze lazily into the past, as you might do at the wake of a boat, or maybe a little more, like looking at look at the consequences of one's actions? (as the wake is the consequence of the boat passing)? :O)
1 hr
  -> thanks Alvaro, I found this used by a politician, who felt too much time was spent looking at the past

agree  Tony M: I would see it as looking at the past with too much nostalgia, without looking where you're going. How do YOU 'feel' it?
2 hrs
  -> also possible; I admit I had never heard this phrase before

agree  Paula Vaz-Carreiro: Certainly a possible meaning but context is all.
4 hrs
  -> thanks Paula! context is what a translator stands on, take that away and our work collapses
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
we are witnessing our own demise


Explanation:
Konstantin, I think the other suggestions are most likely correct. I am offering this one as a possible alternative, albeit highly context-dependent. A "wake" can mean a funeral.

Kevin Kelly
Local time: 18:54
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Interesting point, Kevin! I'm more familiar with similar expressions saying "...our/your OWN wake", but I can see how it might well be able to be read this way, all depending, as you so rightly say, on context!
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  xxxCMJ_Trans: I go with this one but see more below
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  Paula Vaz-Carreiro: Also a possible meaning - context is all.
2 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
FYI a "wake" is usually a watch or vigil after someone dies


Explanation:
- sometimes accompanied by rituals including eating and drinking.


The sentence therefore means that if something (not shown in your question) happens, or if we do a particular thing, then all we can look forward to is people mourning us because we will be "dead" (literally or figuratively)


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Note added at 2004-12-09 08:33:24 (GMT)
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of course, it could mean looking backwards but, unless you give more context, how can we tell?

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 00:54
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
looking backwards


Explanation:
looking at our wake => looking backwards

airmailrpl
Brazil
Local time: 19:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in category: 15
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