Asking for help
Thread poster: rasa900

rasa900
Lithuania
Local time: 01:40
Dec 3

Can somebody help to understand this English sentence: "It cracked their frame of reference by the thousands—millions perhaps." Could you rewrite it in English somehow simpler?

All text I have:
It stirred people up. It cracked their frame of reference by the thousands—millions perhaps.
And anything that does that is pretty good I think.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:40
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Use KudoZ for this Dec 4

It is better to ask this in the KudoZ section, as a monolingual English question.
https://www.proz.com/ask


Rachel Fell
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
> Dec 4

It changed the way thousands of people look at things, is how I understand it.

It’s not very good English though.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:40
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Perhaps, Dec 4

It means "it is very different to their way of thinking/perspective".
"by the thousands—millions" is a lousy way of saying "a lot".


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:40
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
thousand or millions of what exactly? Dec 5

Chris S wrote:

It changed the way thousands of people look at things, is how I understand it.

It’s not very good English though.

I fullly agree that it's not very good English! To the point we natives can't even be sure of the exact meaning. I first understood the frame to have cracked into thousand or millions of pieces rather than being cracked for thousands or millions of people. But that would require "into" not "by". If it were thousand or millions of people whose frame cracked it should be "for".
Basically, it needs to be rewritten before it can be translated!
I would get back to the client if I had to translate something that incomprehensible.

[Edited at 2018-12-05 08:51 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TErrible Dec 5

Chris S wrote:

It changed the way thousands of people look at things, is how I understand it.

It’s not very good English though.


It's execrably bad English! It means nothing.

I find it somehow distasteful to assimilate a frame of reference to a picture frame, but no doubt the author thought it was clever.

So then: how might a picture frame become cracked? We need to backtrack for a moment. What is the picture frame made of? Presumably some sort of brittle material. Ceramic? Bakelite or some other early plastic? What parts of a frame might crack? A wooden frame might crack, I suppose, but mainly at the four corners. Four places are not thousands of places.

The rest is completely incomprehensible. As others have said, it might mean that this seemingly brittle picture frame was cracked in thousands of places, or thousands of times. Impossible. And anyway: so what?

Then there's a dash, followed by "millions perhaps". It's possible the writer meant "millions of perhapses". But I don't know what a perhaps is.



[Edited at 2018-12-05 10:25 GMT]


 


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