KudoZ home » German to English » Poetry & Literature

Nur wer sein Ziel kennt, findet den Weg

English translation: Only he who knows his destination finds the way

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Nur wer sein Ziel kennt, findet den Weg
English translation:Only he who knows his destination finds the way
Entered by: Jonathan MacKerron
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

10:18 Apr 7, 2007
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / Sayings
German term or phrase: Nur wer sein Ziel kennt, findet den Weg
saying attributed to Laotse, a 6th century Chinese philosopher.
Stands at the beginning of a brochure of a company vaunting itself - thanks in advance
Jonathan MacKerron
Only he who knows his destination finds the way
Explanation:
Don't know if this is the 100% official translation, but this is definitely the meaning from the German. Sorry for the "chauvinist" "he," but that is probably how Lao Tse actually wrote it. Otherwise, you can replace it for "Only one who knows their destination finds the way"
Selected response from:

Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 02:25
Grading comment
Thanks to you all for your thoughtfull contributions.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
5 +3Only he who knows his destination finds the way
Marcelo Silveyra
5Only he who knows his goal,will alsofind the way.Wilhelm Deutsch
5Only one who knows his goal will find the path
Reuben Proctor
4 +1The way is found only when you know where you are going.Sabine Wilms, Ph.D.
4Only those who know their goal will find their way
Katarina Peters


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Only he who knows his destination finds the way


Explanation:
Don't know if this is the 100% official translation, but this is definitely the meaning from the German. Sorry for the "chauvinist" "he," but that is probably how Lao Tse actually wrote it. Otherwise, you can replace it for "Only one who knows their destination finds the way"

Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 02:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thanks to you all for your thoughtfull contributions.
Notes to answerer
Asker: don't worry about political correctness, I'm sure that Lao Tse didn't...


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  fairfaxcompany
9 mins

agree  Killian Kavanagh
43 mins

agree  Ingeborg Gowans
1 hr
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

59 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Only one who knows his goal will find the path


Explanation:
Couldn't find an English language reference, only a lot of German ones.
"One" seems better, as slightly more universal, for "his" there is no correct alternative.
I prefer "goal" to destination", as it infers a greater sense of purpose, and "path" to way", as the sense of a real or metaphorical journey is more apparent.

Reuben Proctor
Local time: 11:25
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Only those who know their goal will find their way


Explanation:
I am purposely using the plural to avoid using "his" which would not include "her". "One's" sounds a bit forced to me...

Katarina Peters
Canada
Local time: 05:25
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Nur wer sein Ziel kennt, findet den Weg
Only he who knows his goal,will alsofind the way.


Explanation:
... jemand der weisz was er will, wird auch den Weg finden.
meaning if you don't know what your goal is, how can you find the path to take you there ?

Wilhelm Deutsch
Local time: 04:25
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 days6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
The way is found only when you know where you are going.


Explanation:
Given the fact that it is from Laozi,/Lao-tse, a Daoist/Taoist philosopher (Dao meaning 'way" literally and being the key term of the text), it should be THE way and not YOUR way. This may not sound significant, but is really important if you know the content of Daoist literature. Also, I would avoid a gendered translation because it is certainly not gendered in the original Chinese. Another option would be "To find the way, you must know where you are going."

Sabine Wilms, Ph.D.
United States
Local time: 03:25
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marcelo Silveyra: What can I say? You obviously know what you are talking about!
21 hrs
  -> It makes me happy when I actually get to use the 20 years of education in Chinese Studies that I have under my belt. But then, so much is personal style...
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Apr 7, 2007 - Changes made by Steffen Walter:
Field (write-in)Metabolism » Sayings


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search