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Sysiphusarbeit

English translation: Sisyphean task or work

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Sysiphusarbeit
English translation:Sisyphean task or work
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10:22 Feb 6, 2001
German to English translations [PRO]
Tech/Engineering
German term or phrase: Sysiphusarbeit
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Sysiphus the gatekeeper for Hades in Greek mythology. Would translation then be "hellish work" in the following sentence:

"Wenn diese Sysiphusarbeit dann erledigt ist, sollte alles auf Anhieb funktionieren."
David Rumsey
Canada
Local time: 23:16
Sisyphean task or work
Explanation:
This is it. I strongly disagree with one of the entries here ("Herculean task"). These are two different things. A Herculean task is an enormous, difficult and strenuous one, while a Sisyphean task is one that is everything of the above, all right, but it is thankless because your labour's fruits are destroyed immediately. Big difference!!!
Selected response from:

profile removed
Grading comment
Thanks for the debate. To make the text a little simpler I went with "never ending task".


3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
naThe answer depends. The decision is yours.
Tom Funke
nadaunting taskWinfried Schoepf
natormenting waste of effortUschi (Ursula) Walke
naSisyphean workprofile removed
naSisyphean workprofile removed
naSisyphean task or workprofile removed
nawaste of effortUschi (Ursula) Walke
naSisyphean toil, labour of Sisyphus
Natalie
nayes - sysiphus-work
Elisa Capelão
naHerculean task
Alexander Schleber
naimpossible taskDixit
naSysiphusarbeitDenzel Dyer


  

Answers


11 mins
Sysiphusarbeit


Explanation:
Sysiphus (English Sisyphus)was a son of Aeolus, and ruler of Corinth. He was noted for trickery. He was punished in Tartarus by being compelled to roll a stone to the top of a hill. The stone always escaped him near the top and rolled back to the bottom.

Also: Sisyphean: endless and unavailing (task).


    Random House Dictionar of the English Language
Denzel Dyer
United States
Local time: 23:16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
Natalie

profile removed

edits

Albert Golub
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12 mins
Sisyphean toil, labour of Sisyphus


Explanation:
Sisyphean toil, labour of Sisyphus

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had
thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than fu
tile and hopeless labor.
http://stripe.colorado.edu/~morristo/sisyphus.html
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~smithas/sisyphusStory.htm

Can we describe an addict's
path of recovery as the labour of Sisyphus?
http://www.cma.ca/cmaj/vol-162/issue-12/1653.htm

for the electronic media has been the labour of Sisyphus. It started with
the Chanda Committee...
http://www.indianmediareview.com/Imr-4/Lead10e.htm

one must accept that his belief in his Sisyphean toil came from within him. ...
http://www.jaring.my/just/james_jp.htm

Natalie
Poland
Local time: 08:16
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in pair: 8

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edits

Albert Golub
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14 mins
yes - sysiphus-work


Explanation:
I agree 100% with your own suggestion.
And you can even translate it as sysiphus work if you wish

Please see some files where the expression is used.
z.B.:

ducati Superbike '99 996
... nur noch aus einer rechten und einer linken Hälfte. Das spart natürlich eine
Menge an Kleberei, macht aber das Bemalen zur reinsten Sysiphusarbeit. ...
www.model-news.com/cars/duc99/996_99.html



DEUTSCHER BAURING - Baufirmen im Internet
... Fundstellen auflisten. Es wäre für den Nutzer eine wohl monatelange Sysiphusarbeit
sich mit einer derartigen Informationsvielfalt auseinanderzusetzen.
www.baulexikon.de/bauring/info.htm - 5k


and lots more at:
http://www.google.com/search?q=sysiphusarbeit&hl=en&lr=&safe...



and in English!
zak's
... The only problem is that the work on this tracker turned into some kind of sysiphus-work
(you know, the guy with the stone...) for me because of some harddisk ...
www.stud.uni-siegen.de/markus.fick/FRAMES/PROJECTS.HTM


good luck!


    see above
Elisa Capelão
Local time: 07:16
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 117

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
Natalie

profile removed

Ulrike Lieder

edits

Uschi (Ursula) Walke

Albert Golub
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1 hr
Herculean task


Explanation:
In the anglo-saxon world dear Sysiphus is less well knoiwn than that strong labourer Hercules. Herculean task is a much more "current" and more understandable translation.


    know-why
Alexander Schleber
Belgium
Local time: 08:16
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2340

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Natalie

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Albert Golub
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2 hrs
impossible task


Explanation:
Sysiphus' task was to empty water from alake using a sieve. I believe what is meant here is work that never ends or even possibly impossible task...

Dixit
Local time: 08:16

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Natalie

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5 hrs
waste of effort


Explanation:
,Sisyphus Work' is fine but please watch the spelling.
Sisyphus's damnation to roll up the rock, which came rolling back, signifies an impossible task, meant to be torture.


    scholar of Ancient Greek Myths
Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 17:16
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 492

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Natalie

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5 hrs
Sisyphean task or work


Explanation:
This is it. I strongly disagree with one of the entries here ("Herculean task"). These are two different things. A Herculean task is an enormous, difficult and strenuous one, while a Sisyphean task is one that is everything of the above, all right, but it is thankless because your labour's fruits are destroyed immediately. Big difference!!!

profile removed
PRO pts in pair: 98
Grading comment
Thanks for the debate. To make the text a little simpler I went with "never ending task".

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5 hrs
daunting task


Explanation:
it depends on context, as always. my suggestions would fit a more formal document. if the context allows for a bit of "loose talk", then you might simply choose "sysiphus work" as has been suggested.


    just my instincts
Winfried Schoepf
Local time: 08:16

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9 hrs
The answer depends. The decision is yours.


Explanation:
The answer depends on factors you haven’t mentioned. The decision is yours.

You already have multiple answers to your question, and though they cover a range of possibilities, any one of them could be more or less right – depending on the nature of your assignment, its purpose, your context, and especially your target audience.

Sisyphus (whether as a noun or derived adjective) is not equally well known in all cultures and social strata as a token of punishing, repetitive, futile labor. And even if known, the idea might be better (perhaps much better) expressed by paraphrasing than by directly translating to achieve the desired impact.

An average American with a high-school education who is an avid reader might very well have NO idea who Sisyphus was. If the audience is college-educated and technically oriented they may know the answer, but a reference to the classical myth of Sisyphus may be so out of place that a paraphrase would be much more effective.

Depending on what your context actually represents, the essential connotations would be punishing or at least extremely tedious, highly repetitive and totally futile. The essence of counterproductivity.

But the preceding answers already said that, directly or by implication. You have to make the editorial decision of translating or transposing – paraphrasing -- to suit your assignment and the target audience.

My sense from your very limited context is that I’d paraphrase. But then again, I have no idea what your assignment or who your audience might be.

HTH Tom



    relevant (?) marketing, copywriting and translating experience
Tom Funke
Local time: 02:16
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 2419

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5 days
tormenting waste of effort


Explanation:
it bugs me that this question is still open while poor old Sisyphus is still trying to get his rock up the hill. He deserves better.
Maybe I find it so easy because my generation (i'm 50, german) was reminded of that part of greek mythology by a charming short story by Erich Kaestner, called Schischifusch.

I also believe that the speaker/writer knows who he is addressing, and if he wants to use this term, it should be Sisyphus-labour or Sisyphus-work.
I prefer 'labour'


    Homer or Ilias
Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 17:16
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 492

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9 days
Sisyphean work


Explanation:
According to Random House, the "authority" on US English, this is the term to be used. I agree with ooshi, who says the asker will probably know his/her target audience.

However, if you want to bring this poor man's name into it, then please use the correct form (ie, not "Sisyphus work" - that's Germanglish).

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PRO pts in pair: 98
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9 days
Sisyphean work


Explanation:
And hey, drumsey, step on it and award some Kudoz points here fast or people won't answer your questions anymore.

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PRO pts in pair: 98
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