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Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen

English translation: It is not a matter of predicting the future, but of being prepared for it.

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13:29 Feb 14, 2007
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / quotation
German term or phrase: Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen
sondern darauf, auf die Zukunft vorbereitet zu sein"

This Pericles quotation is being used in a presentation I'm translating. Does anyone have a clue WHAT it might be in English? It seems to be a popular quotation in German, but I can't find anything similar on any of the quotation websites. I realise that the original will have been in Greek, but it there's an established English translation it would be better to use that than my own from the German (à la Chinese whispers!).

Happy to receive any ideas on where to search etc.!
Jane Luther
Germany
Local time: 22:13
English translation:It is not a matter of predicting the future, but of being prepared for it.
Explanation:
I searched for the quote on the net. Another possiblity would be Bartlett's Quotations, which is a dictionary of quotes. And finally, if you really want to go the extra mile, try Professor Donald Kagan at the Yale University Department of History in the US. He's sort of a "grand old man" on the Peloponnesian War. The department's phone number is ++1 (203) 432-1366 and they're six hours behind continental Europe. Even if you're unlikely to get him, you probably will get someone who can either give you the right source or help you out finding the "official" quote.

A way around finding a direct, official translation would be to paraphrase (see sample sentences).

After all, this is a presentation. I would imagine the person giving it has a message for the audience, and that is ... not to dither about coming up with the correct prediction, but to be ready for whatever comes. That's the point, rather than getting Pericles absolutely and officially right.

If the speaker is a non-native speaker of English, the best thing to do is to put the term in simple, clear English that is easy to pronounce. Of course, it also depends on the audience. If they're Greek scholars or academics, then you might want to get the real quote.

If the speaker just wants to emphasize to the audience that it's best to be prepared, then you may as well keep it succinct and simple.

Hope this helps.

I frequently have to translate non-native speaking journalists' pieces-to-camera (when they stand up and summarize what's going on). In thirteen years of doing this, I've discovered it works best when the sentences are short and clear and the words easy to pronounce. Otherwise words like "...international crises." can come out sounding like " ... international crazies ... " and everyone ends up looking a bit silly.

Good luck
Selected response from:

Eilzabeth Taryn Toro
Germany
Local time: 22:13
Grading comment
Sorry to have been so long with the points. I've had 3 different urgent jobs on my desk at once... However, the light is beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel, and here are the points!
It was quite difficult deciding who to award them to, and as so often I wish I could have split them. I've gone for Taryn in the end, as my "own" translation before posting was very similar to so many of the answers provided (particularly his and Amorel's), but Taryn provided so many other useful hints, including what may turn out to be an invaluable number...

Thanks to all!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +5It's not a question of foreseeing the future, but of being prepared for it.
Armorel Young
4 +4It is less important to foresee the future than to be prepared for it
Nesrin
3 +1predicting the future accurately is not (so) important, being ready for it is
Bernhard Sulzer
3 +1It is less important to predict the future than to be prepared for the future
rainerc
4It is not a matter of predicting the future, but of being prepared for it.
Eilzabeth Taryn Toro
3To be prepared for the future is more important than to predict it.
Parzival
3It is not our task to predict the future, but to be well prepared for it.
John O'Brien


  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen,
It is less important to predict the future than to be prepared for the future


Explanation:
one suggestion

rainerc
Local time: 22:13
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lori Dendy-Molz: ...than to prepare for it (I'd say)
10 mins
  -> even better!
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29 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +5
Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen,
It's not a question of foreseeing the future, but of being prepared for it.


Explanation:
Is the translation given at
http://www.i-brokers.ch/

Armorel Young
Local time: 21:13
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 72

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  writeaway: prefer it's not a question of to 'it's less important'. of course it would be best to see the Greek original..........
49 mins

agree  Ken Cox: and of course I agree with writeaway if the translation is to be attributed to Pericles (who knows what he actually said?)
1 hr

agree  Cilian O'Tuama: it's not a question of what is more/less important, but what is and is not important
1 hr

agree  Richard Benham: Principle of minimum mutilation applies here.
2 hrs

agree  Sara Noss
6 hrs
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29 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen,
It is less important to foresee the future than to be prepared for it


Explanation:
the heading to this chapter quotes Pericles: "It is less important to foresee the future than to be prepared for it" - a dictum which would serve ...
www.amazon.com/Living-Unexpected-Sustainable-Development-Mo...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 30 mins (2007-02-14 13:59:31 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Which, I realise, is very close to rainer's and Lori's combined suggestion! But I have a reference :-)

Nesrin
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:13
Native speaker of: Arabic
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: also OK. If you like free translation, you could also say 'You can't always predict the future, but you can be prepared for it.'
1 hr

agree  xxxFrancis Lee: Credible reference, and the point made is the same. How about "The important thing about the future is not to forsee it but ..."?
2 hrs

agree  Ingeborg Gowans
3 hrs

agree  xxxPetra Raspel
4 hrs
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57 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen,
To be prepared for the future is more important than to predict it.


Explanation:
.


Parzival
South Africa
Local time: 22:13
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 4
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen,
predicting the future accurately is not (so) important, being ready for it is


Explanation:
just two more variations.

or:
predicting the future is not important, being ready for it is.

or:
The less predictable the future becomes,
the more important it is to shape it.

Links:

http://www.itelligence.de/en/617.php
Predicting the future is not important; being ready for it is."

http://www.dasfernlicht.com/index_uk.html
both

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:lFZ9ovjbB0wJ:www.eaue.d...
predicting the future is not important, being ready for it is.

Bernhard Sulzer
United States
Local time: 16:13
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 55

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lancashireman: We cannot know what questions will come up on KudoZ but we can prepare ourselves by honing our googling techniques
3 hrs
  -> definitely! thank you, Andrew!
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
It is not our task to predict the future, but to be well prepared for it.


Explanation:
I found this as a direct Pericles quote in the Internet

I think it might fit here as your translation from the German

John O'Brien
Local time: 22:13
Native speaker of: English
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1 day6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
It is not a matter of predicting the future, but of being prepared for it.


Explanation:
I searched for the quote on the net. Another possiblity would be Bartlett's Quotations, which is a dictionary of quotes. And finally, if you really want to go the extra mile, try Professor Donald Kagan at the Yale University Department of History in the US. He's sort of a "grand old man" on the Peloponnesian War. The department's phone number is ++1 (203) 432-1366 and they're six hours behind continental Europe. Even if you're unlikely to get him, you probably will get someone who can either give you the right source or help you out finding the "official" quote.

A way around finding a direct, official translation would be to paraphrase (see sample sentences).

After all, this is a presentation. I would imagine the person giving it has a message for the audience, and that is ... not to dither about coming up with the correct prediction, but to be ready for whatever comes. That's the point, rather than getting Pericles absolutely and officially right.

If the speaker is a non-native speaker of English, the best thing to do is to put the term in simple, clear English that is easy to pronounce. Of course, it also depends on the audience. If they're Greek scholars or academics, then you might want to get the real quote.

If the speaker just wants to emphasize to the audience that it's best to be prepared, then you may as well keep it succinct and simple.

Hope this helps.

I frequently have to translate non-native speaking journalists' pieces-to-camera (when they stand up and summarize what's going on). In thirteen years of doing this, I've discovered it works best when the sentences are short and clear and the words easy to pronounce. Otherwise words like "...international crises." can come out sounding like " ... international crazies ... " and everyone ends up looking a bit silly.

Good luck

Example sentence(s):
  • To put Pericles into more modern speech, it is not a matter of predicting the future ...
  • To borrow from Pericles, it's not a matter of predicting the future, but of being prepared for it.
Eilzabeth Taryn Toro
Germany
Local time: 22:13
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Sorry to have been so long with the points. I've had 3 different urgent jobs on my desk at once... However, the light is beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel, and here are the points!
It was quite difficult deciding who to award them to, and as so often I wish I could have split them. I've gone for Taryn in the end, as my "own" translation before posting was very similar to so many of the answers provided (particularly his and Amorel's), but Taryn provided so many other useful hints, including what may turn out to be an invaluable number...

Thanks to all!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




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Changes made by editors
Feb 14, 2007 - Changes made by Marcus Malabad:
Term askedEs kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen, » Es kommt nicht darauf an, die Zukunft vorauszusagen


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