English translation: ...if she knew what was good for her / herself
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11:11 Nov 10, 2013
Spanish to English translations [PRO] Poetry & Literature
Spanish term or phrase:..por la cuenta que le tenía
This is still from the fun explanation of the universe for children. The context is that the 'small mutant bacterium' is being chased by a large Changeable Monster. Two stars are talking about the story and they say:
Star 1. La pequena bateria mutante se fue, escapó, corrió lo más rápido que pudo...
Star 2: Corre! Corre!
Star 1: No hace falta que grites, que ella ya corrió, por la cuenta que le tenía.
Star 2: Es que me emocionó
What an interesting discussion It makes me feel better as I couldn't believe I was finding this difficult when all the words were SO easy. I finally went with 'because she wasn't stupid' which is really a paraphrase of 'because she knew what was good for her' and I thought better for young children. Really appreciate all your input. Jane
No problem, Carol - I understand what you meant now. I think on any other site the sentence I was objecting to ("even if it isn't right") might have passed without comment, but we Prozians are quite fond of analysing people's choice of words - sometimes a little too much ;) Thanks for the clarification.
about whether the Asker was simply looking for an explanation (which seems most likely to me!) or a ready-made answer that she could copy and paste into the TT. In my experience, especially with more literary texts, it can be quite irritating when posters suggest answers that you as the Asker had already worked out for yourself using the info posted by an earlier poster, as you then sometimes feel obliged to use the later answers when it was the earlier ones that in fact were the most helpful!
I had no idea whether your suggestion was right or not - only that I did like your way of thinking!
But, since seeing Charles's explanation, I realise that yours and Manuel's ideas are in fact both along similar lines (both implying that it was expedient for the bacterium to beat a hasty retreat), only yours was far better expressed in English! I agree with your reasons for rejecting Manuel's proposition as it stood, but also feel in retrospect that this only needed a small tweak to make it work. It was just that I didn't see it at the time.
Carol: "even if it isn't right - at least it makes sense" - what do you mean by "right" here? If you mean it's not a literal translation, you're correct. That does not make it incorrect or "not right". It should be obvious that the most literal translation isn't necessarily the best translation in a literary context - this is not a manual. However, it's possible the asker was simply trying to understand what the phrase means, rather than looking for a way to express that meaning in English, in which case Charles' explanation below is excellent. On the other hand, if the asker is looking for a way to translate that meaning, I think both "she did run, as well she should" (Susan's suggestion) and "she had enough sense to run for it" (mine) would be good options in this case. I would be curious to see the final translation, Jane! :)
as it turns out, Manuel was on the right lines all along, even if he didn't phrase it all that well in English. However, his suggestion only needed a tiny tweak to make it work. And I often find that the most helpful answers can be the ones that set you on the right track early on, even if they aren't the ones that eventually get used! In other words, the most helpful answer isn't necessarily what gets entered in the Glossary!