Durfte ich

English translation: Did I have the right to; was I justified in; was it the right thing to do

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Durfte ich
English translation:Did I have the right to; was I justified in; was it the right thing to do
Entered by: Susan Welsh

15:56 Nov 24, 2018
German to English translations [Non-PRO]
Social Sciences - Psychology / prolonged grief (question is really about grammar)
German term or phrase: Durfte ich
This is from the summary of a treatment manual, and the quotes are examples of dysfunctional thoughts that are treated during the exposure session.

Zu Beginn der Sitzung werden die Gedanken besprochen, die während des schwierigsten Momentes in der Exposition oder nach der Sitzung aufgetaucht sind. In der Folge werden diese dysfunktionalen Gedanken hinterfragt. Dazu werden die einzelnen Gedanken zum einen auf ihren Realitätsgehalt und Nutzen hin geprüft (siehe Sitzung 10) und zum anderen werden Gedanken, die mit Entscheidungen in Verbindungen stehen, bei denen Normen des Patienten in Konflikt geraten sind (z.B. «***Durfte ich bei meiner Tochter die lebenserhaltenden Maßnahmen beenden?***»).

I can't figure out what "dürfen" means here in the simple past tense. The daughter must be dead, since this is about bereavement. From context, I think the relevant sentence might mean "Should I have been permitted to end my daughter's life-support measures?" or "Could I have been permitted to...?" - but the implications of these are opposite. The first implies that the bereaved person withdrew her daugher's life-support measures, and is now agonizing over whether that was the right thing to do (maybe she should not have been permitted to do that); the second implies that she was not permitted to withdraw life-support, and her daughter continued to live for a time but that was agonizing to all concerned.

The first meaning makes no sense to me, but I don't see that it works grammatically.

Thanks!
Susan Welsh
United States
Local time: 23:48
Was I justified in
Explanation:
To me, your first inference seems to make better sense: that she authorised the withdrawal of her daughter's life support measures and is now agonising over whether or not that was the right thing to do. It appears that she is anxious as to whether or not her decision was conscionable, i.e. acceptable or permissible according to conscience.
Selected response from:

Sangeeta Joshi
India
Local time: 09:18
Grading comment
Thanks to all. This was a more useful discussion than I expected (I marked it non-PRO because I thought it was a simple matter for native speakers, but it turned out not to be). Björn's post was the most helpful, but he didn't put it up as an answer. Sangeeta was the first to steer me away from external "permission" to an internal moral decision.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +3was I allowed to
philgoddard
3 +2Was I justified in
Sangeeta Joshi
4Was removing my daughter's life support the right thing to do?
Kirsten Bodart
4Was it right of me to ...
David Hollywood
3Was I (ethically) permitted to...?
Michael Martin, MA


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


46 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
was I allowed to


Explanation:
That's how I see it.
http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/dürfen

philgoddard
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 30
Notes to answerer
Asker: I don't see how this would involve conflict with the patient's values or norms, or why it would be a matter of anxiety during exposure therapy.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Katarina Peters
2 mins

agree  Stefan Ploch: I agree. Or "Was I permitted to"
37 mins

agree  Thomas Pfann: Yes, and not in a legal but in a moral sense – "was it for me to decide" might be another way to phrase this. The patient took a decision and is now questioning whether or not he actually had the right to take this decision.
2 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Was I justified in


Explanation:
To me, your first inference seems to make better sense: that she authorised the withdrawal of her daughter's life support measures and is now agonising over whether or not that was the right thing to do. It appears that she is anxious as to whether or not her decision was conscionable, i.e. acceptable or permissible according to conscience.

Sangeeta Joshi
India
Local time: 09:18
Native speaker of: Native in HindiHindi
Grading comment
Thanks to all. This was a more useful discussion than I expected (I marked it non-PRO because I thought it was a simple matter for native speakers, but it turned out not to be). Björn's post was the most helpful, but he didn't put it up as an answer. Sangeeta was the first to steer me away from external "permission" to an internal moral decision.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Anne Schulz
56 mins
  -> Thanks.

neutral  philgoddard: That may fit the context, but it's not what the German says.
1 hr
  -> If the very act of deciding rather than the moral justification of such an act is being questioned here in the German sentence, then I would go with Thomas Pfann's suggestion, namely "was it for me to decide". Perhaps he should enter it as a suggestion.

agree  Michael Martin, MA: This is what the German says because the literal meaning of dürfen is not relevant here
4 hrs
  -> Thanks.
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Was it right of me to ...


Explanation:
Subtle differences here and I think this is what is meant

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2018-11-25 00:07:49 GMT)
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I think she's doubting herself here...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2018-11-25 00:09:41 GMT)
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and this would be a natural way of expressing her doubts

David Hollywood
Local time: 00:48
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 14
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Was I (ethically) permitted to...?


Explanation:
'Was I ethically permitted to withdraw my daughter's life support?'

If this had been about compliance to rules, there would have been a cut-and-dried answer for that. But the German verb 'dürfen' is not always used in this way. In this case, it's about this person's own moral compass, or his or her own decision, IMO.

Compare with this:


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2018-11-25 00:13:07 GMT)
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"Heute ist es vier Wochen her dass ich mein Kind umgebracht habe. Ich kann an manchen Tagen gut damit umgehen, aber heute ist es besonders schlimm. Ich weiss nicht ob ich je wieder unbeschwert sein kann. Ich habe diese Kind gewollt, ich liebe und vermisse dieses Kind, und ich habe meine Ronja umgebracht, weil ich kein behindertes Kind wollte. Warum ? Hundertmal hab ich das hier gelesen, keine Antwort gefunden. Durfte ich diese Entscheidung treffen ?" http://www.nachabtreibung.de/viewtopic.php?f=379&t=11120

Michael Martin, MA
United States
Local time: 23:48
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 104
Notes to answerer
Asker: Compare with what? Looks like you've got a missing link there.

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20 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Was removing my daughter's life support the right thing to do?


Explanation:
That's how I would paraphrase it. It's indeed about the moral aspect of it, so the strict dictionary definition of dürfen has very little to contribute to the translation.

Kirsten Bodart
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:48
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch, Native in EnglishEnglish
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