KudoZ home » Spanish to English » Art/Literary

debió

English translation: he had to understand

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)
Spanish term or phrase:debió entender
English translation:he had to understand
Entered by: GoodWords
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

16:23 Aug 23, 2002
Spanish to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary
Spanish term or phrase: debió
debió entender

Is it "he must have understood"
(i.e. one is sure that he understood)

or
"he should have understood"
(i.e. he ought to have understood--but he didn't)

or is it ambiguous & dependent on the context? In my context, it could be either.
GoodWords
Mexico
Local time: 04:56
he had to understand
Explanation:
is how I would probably phrase this - if it fits the context.

I would tend to agree with Jane in that "he ought to have understood" is normally expressed as "debería haber entendido" - without the "de"; or you sometimes see "debiera haber entendido".

Similarly, I would suggest that "he must have understood" should equate to "debió haber entendido".

I suspect that there are always exceptions to the above, so, in all honesty, though, it could be my suggestion or either of yours.

Without full context, it is difficult to be precise, but this was how I was taught this verb at school in the U.K.
Selected response from:

Paul Stevens
Local time: 10:56
Grading comment
I think this comes closest to preserving the right degree of ambiguity. The heated debate demonstrated that the answer isn't clear-cut. Honorable mention also to R.J. for an informative and pertinent discussion. Anyone who has time to kill might want to take a look at the original expression in FULL context (like 7 pages--more context than you'd ever want) at http://www.expansion.com.mx/2nivel.asp?cve=847_49 My problem sentence appeared in the 2nd paragraph on page 2, and even now, one week after delivery of the translation, I'm still unsure over what they're saying here.
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
5 +12he should have understood
claudia bagnardi
5 +2Abajo
Damian Cassani
5 +1it is highly probable that he understood / we expected him to understandxxxR.J.Chadwick
5read belowJane Lamb-Ruiz
4 -1he had to understandPaul Stevens


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +12
he should have understood


Explanation:
Me parece que cubre más la ambigüedad.
hth

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-08-23 22:11:24 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Coincido con Trixie ¿y si incluyes un poco de contexto?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-08-23 23:52:55 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

GoodWords: He leído el artículo y yo lo veo así: Molina debió haber entendido lo que le dijo Cázares, pero no lo hizo. ¡Qué cabeza dura!
He should have understood what Cázares said, but he didn´t. Stubborn as a mule!
:-) claudia

claudia bagnardi
Local time: 06:56
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 639

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mariana Solanet
4 mins
  -> Gracias Marfenix

agree  A.L.
4 mins
  -> thx A.L.

agree  Jos Essers
4 mins
  -> thx Jos

agree  Rafa Lombardino
5 mins
  -> Hola Rafaela. Gracias!

agree  Henry Hinds
8 mins
  -> Hi Henry friend. Thank you

agree  Marcela García
20 mins
  -> Gracias Marcela

agree  xxxx-Translator
50 mins
  -> Gracias estel

agree  luskie
1 hr
  -> thx luskie

agree  Maria Luisa Duarte
1 hr
  -> thank you María Luisa

agree  markaqui
2 hrs
  -> thanks markaqui

agree  Roxana Cortijo
2 hrs
  -> Thanks Roxana

disagree  Damian Cassani: should have + inf no incluye el sentido de must have
4 hrs
  -> "to express obligation or duty, or to indicate a correct or sensible action. Also to express an unfulfilled obligation or duty." A Practical English Grammar. Thomson & Martinet. Page 365. I think it includes it, Damian

agree  LoreAC
1 day3 hrs
  -> gracias LoreAC

agree  Premier Consuting Services, Inc.: Should have ~ debio is a dirived from the word "debir" meaning should have in past tense.
2 days2 hrs
  -> thx prem
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
read below


Explanation:
he must have understood=debió entender

he should have understood (but didn't)=
deberia de haber ententido

Let's see if everyone jumps, I think that's how you make make the distinction.

Jane Lamb-Ruiz
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 7709

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Damian Cassani: la diferencia no radica en el tiempo verbal de la traducción, sino en que must have es deber de, y should have es deber
47 mins
  -> why don't you translate the two sentences as an entry: he must have understood and he should have understood

agree  Premier Consuting Services, Inc.: oppps typo...deber
1 day23 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Abajo


Explanation:
El verobo modal "deber" siempre causa problemas por sus dos significados: suposición y obligación. El problema surge del uso, ya que se suele usar de la misma manaera para los dos significados, cuando en realidad el uso correcto es:
deber de + inf. : suposición
deber + inf. : obligación.

En este caso, la ambiguedad podría surgir por esta razón. De todas maneras, por el contexto deberías darte cuenta. Creo que no hay manera de mantener la ambiguedad en inglés, ya que para el sentido de suposición, se usa "must + have + past part." y para el de obligación, "had to + inf", "should /ought to + have + past part."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-08-23 20:42:15 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

ESTOS ES PARA JANE: BE CAREFUL, BEACUSE THE TRANSLATIONS YOU GAVE ARE THE OTHER WAY ROUND:
MUST HAVE= SUPPOSITION= DEBER DE
SHOULD HAVE=UNFULFILLED PAST OBLIGATION= DEBER

Damian Cassani
Local time: 06:56
Native speaker of: Spanish
PRO pts in pair: 47

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jane Lamb-Ruiz: give the full translation of the two questions please. Answer the poster's question.
1 hr

agree  Herman Vilella: very well researched. I learned
10 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
he had to understand


Explanation:
is how I would probably phrase this - if it fits the context.

I would tend to agree with Jane in that "he ought to have understood" is normally expressed as "debería haber entendido" - without the "de"; or you sometimes see "debiera haber entendido".

Similarly, I would suggest that "he must have understood" should equate to "debió haber entendido".

I suspect that there are always exceptions to the above, so, in all honesty, though, it could be my suggestion or either of yours.

Without full context, it is difficult to be precise, but this was how I was taught this verb at school in the U.K.

Paul Stevens
Local time: 10:56
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 721
Grading comment
I think this comes closest to preserving the right degree of ambiguity. The heated debate demonstrated that the answer isn't clear-cut. Honorable mention also to R.J. for an informative and pertinent discussion. Anyone who has time to kill might want to take a look at the original expression in FULL context (like 7 pages--more context than you'd ever want) at http://www.expansion.com.mx/2nivel.asp?cve=847_49 My problem sentence appeared in the 2nd paragraph on page 2, and even now, one week after delivery of the translation, I'm still unsure over what they're saying here.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Damian Cassani: he must have undestood no es debió haber entendido, sino debió de haber entendido. en este contexto, para facilitar las cosas, hay que ser bien riguroso con el uso de deber, más allá de que en la práctica se use siempre igual
12 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it is highly probable that he understood / we expected him to understand


Explanation:
I am a little bemused by the question. It is firstly a matter of what "deber" can mean in Spanish, then what precisely it is intended to convey in this (slender) context, and finally how it is to be translated.

I, of course, can only respond properly to part three.

One use of the word "should" (and its parts) or even of "must" (and its parts) is to express probability.

"Tom should ring us tonight" can mean, depending on pragmatic considerations, merely that we believe that it is highly probable that he will ring us.

"He should have rung by now" can mean, we expected him to have rung by now.

Thus "He should have understood" can, again depending on pragmatic considerations, mean merely that we expected him to understand -- i.e. it does not necessarily imply moral obligation.

"Must (have)" can be used in the same way but expresses a higher degree of probability or stronger expectations.

So "He must have understood" (unqualified in any other way) could mean that he probably DID understand.

"Ought" behaves slightly differently such that "He ought to have understood" would most likely mean that he had a moral obligation to understand. Though how that might fit your context I do not know.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-08-26 01:41:55 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It occurs to me that \"haber de\", \"tener que\" and \"deber\" might follow the same sequences as \"should\", \"must\" and \"ought\" in Spanish -- i.e. (and always depending on contextual and pragmatic considerations) ranging from

(1) moral obligation OR a reasonable expectation (\"should\")

(2) moral obligation OR a strong expectation (\"must\")

and

(3) moral obligation ONLY (\"ought\")

If that is so, and only thoughtful and literate native speakers (or bilinguals) could confirm this, then \"debio entender\" probably is meant to convey what \"ought to have understood\" does in English -- i.e. moral obligation.

But then that would be a slightly weird thing inherent in the Spanish text. Because \"understanding\" and \"moral obligation\" (in its positive sense) are concepts that do not sit easily together in that way. Understanding is something that arises by itself (given the right facilitating conditions) and not as a necessary consequence of a sense of moral obligation. To say that someone \"ought to have understood\" feels slightly anomalous semantically to me -- though I find it hard to articulate offhand just why this should be so.

But even if \"deber entender\" (and its parts) are odd in Spanish for the same reason \"ought to understand\" is in English -- a correct translation would be to render it in English in all its oddness i.e. in this case \"s/he ought to have understood\". People do (we all do!) say odd things from time to time; and I feel that it would be best to avoid translating something slightly odd with something that does not feel odd e.g. \"he should have understood\" or \"must have understood\" when the source text says something more like \"ought to have understood\".

I hope this is of some help to you (one way or another, and even if only indirectly) in arriving at an appropriate translation.

xxxR.J.Chadwick
Local time: 17:56
PRO pts in pair: 218

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jane Lamb-Ruiz: Ijt's incredible to me that everyone wants to give a grammar lesson. Why doesn't someone just TRANSLATE her English meanings into Spanish as she requested?
12 hrs
  -> Thank you -- but if you think about this it is an odd problem, though the sensible thing to do would be, as you say, to just translate what is there in the Spanish text even if one feels uncomfortable about what is being said or the way it is being said
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


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