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нам бы

English translation: If we could (only)

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Russian term or phrase:нам бы
English translation:If we could (only)
Entered by: Samantha Payn
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

02:42 Nov 28, 2008
Russian to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
Russian term or phrase: нам бы
This is another particles question (my favorite torture device). I'm not getting the "бы" here. We *would* recognize each other? We'd like to? Let's say we do?

I can't believe after all these years this has me stumped.

It's from a song:
Когда ты вернешься,
Все будет иначе, и нам бы узнать друг друга.
Когда ты вернешься,
А я не жена и даже не подруга.

Grateful in advance...
Deborah Hoffman
Local time: 18:23
If we could (only)
Explanation:
get to know each other ... if I were not a wife nor yet a girlfriend...
The full song lyrics of Белая гвардия seem to be about wistful longing for a relationship that cannot be in the present.
Selected response from:

Samantha Payn
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:23
Grading comment
You were all so helpful, but I did end up using a simple "if we." Vsem spasibo!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +8I wish we could recognize each other
Yelena Pestereva
5it would have been better that we have recognised/greet each other
Alexandra Taggart
3 +2hopefully
Susan Welsh
3 +1it is not even obvious that we will recognize each other
Maksym Nevzorov
4it will be better for us to do something
Oleksandr Myslivets
4If we could (only)
Samantha Payn
2 +1hopefully we'll (get to know one another)
TSDM
3and we should know each other
katerina turevich


Discussion entries: 7





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it is not even obvious that we will recognize each other


Explanation:
shorter options:
- "I wish we recognize each other"
- "will we even recognize each other?"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2008-11-28 02:48:43 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry, one of the options should be corrected to "I wish we recognized each other".

Maksym Nevzorov
Ukraine
Local time: 01:23
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexandra Goldburt: "I wish we recognized each other" can be another option.
53 mins
  -> Thank you, Alexandra.
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
it will be better for us to do something


Explanation:
in the general case it seems to me that I gave the correct meaning of this expression. But it is very hard to give direct translation of *бы*!

и нам бы узнать друг друга - and it will be better for us to get to know each other

This is my option.


Oleksandr Myslivets
Ukraine
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
it would have been better that we have recognised/greet each other


Explanation:
I gave you exact translation, you may wish to shotern it. But I would not start the sentence with "I wish", because "нам бы лучше" implies on the description of the situation and it's requirement, not "his" own wish what the situation should have been better.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2008-11-28 06:11:44 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Please, remove "better" in the end of my explination sentence.

Alexandra Taggart
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:23
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 15
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2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
I wish we could recognize each other


Explanation:
I wish we could recognize each other

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 hrs (2008-11-28 07:48:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Or I wish we'll be able to recognize each other

Yelena Pestereva
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:23
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexandra Goldburt: Yes, exactly! It's really tricky for a non-native speaker, but "нам бы" generally means "I wish we could/would..."
53 mins
  -> Спасибо!

agree  a05: "could at least recoginize" -- in this context. More often expresses unrealistic desire
2 hrs
  -> Спасибо!

agree  Nurzhan KZ
4 hrs
  -> Спасибо!

agree  Alina Sememenko
5 hrs

agree  adriennp
5 hrs

agree  Сергей Лузан: I wish we could recognize
6 hrs

disagree  TSDM: "Could" makes it unclear that we're talking about an event in the future.
11 hrs

agree  Tatiana Lammers
16 hrs

agree  svetlana cosquéric: ... would at least recognize
19 hrs

agree  Armida Alvandyan
1 day5 hrs
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
hopefully


Explanation:
Working from Alexandra's translations of other uses of нам бы, and the general sense of the poem, none of the answers proposed so far seem right (plus some are not quite idiomatic English). The poem conveys longing, that if and when they meet again (if, if, if ... if she is not married and doesn't have a lover), then things will be better. So I think "hopefully we will recognize one another" is the bet answer for this context.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 hrs (2008-11-28 12:43:53 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

correction: "best" answer, not "bet," of course :)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 hrs (2008-11-28 12:46:25 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Actually, Deborah's "let's say we do" also works, from this standpoint. Hoping, but not at all sure.

Susan Welsh
United States
Local time: 18:23
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 52

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexandra Goldburt: In the context of this song, "hopefully" fits perfectly.
5 hrs
  -> Спасибо! The clear concept came from you in the first place.

agree  Sandra Mouton
1 day2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Sandra
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
hopefully we'll (get to know one another)


Explanation:
Not much context here to go on, but my sense of узнать is that it's most likely "get to know" rather than "recognise".
Recognise just seems too superficial given the context, and "А я не жена и даже не подруга" gives the sense that they never truly knew one another before she left.
(Any points should go to Susan)


TSDM
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:23
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Samantha Payn: "If we could get to know each other ... and I were not a wife nor yet a girlfriend" The [full] song lyrics (Белая гвардия) seem to be about wistful longing for a relationship that cannot be in the present.
2 hrs
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13 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
and we should know each other


Explanation:
As you come back, when you come back
All will be changed, we should know each other
As you come back, when you come back
I won't be your wife, not even a lover

Sorry, i think it rhymes, and keeps the meter too.


katerina turevich
Netherlands
Local time: 00:23
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 7
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14 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
If we could (only)


Explanation:
get to know each other ... if I were not a wife nor yet a girlfriend...
The full song lyrics of Белая гвардия seem to be about wistful longing for a relationship that cannot be in the present.


Samantha Payn
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:23
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 18
Grading comment
You were all so helpful, but I did end up using a simple "if we." Vsem spasibo!
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Changes made by editors
Dec 8, 2008 - Changes made by Samantha Payn:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term


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