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..por la cuenta que le tenía

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
Hi
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
Jane Martin
Local time: 06:28
English translation:...if she knew what was good for her / herself
Explanation:
Hello Jane

I have come across this question in wordreference about the same idiom but with the first person of singular. This idiom is more used in second person, than in third person, really.

Well, here is the link: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=805824&langi...

They translated the idiom like this: if I know what's good for me

In third person, would be: if she know what's good for her

And in past tense: If she knew what was good for her/herself

I hope this will help you

Regards
Selected response from:

Manuel López
Spain
Local time: 07:28
Grading comment
Muchas gracias Manuel
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +6it had enough sense to (see below)
Eliza Ariadni Kalfa
4 +1...if she knew what was good for her / herself
Manuel López
1 +2as well it should / as well she shouldSusan Andrew


Discussion entries: 12





  

Answers


35 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
...if she knew what was good for her / herself


Explanation:
Hello Jane

I have come across this question in wordreference about the same idiom but with the first person of singular. This idiom is more used in second person, than in third person, really.

Well, here is the link: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=805824&langi...

They translated the idiom like this: if I know what's good for me

In third person, would be: if she know what's good for her

And in past tense: If she knew what was good for her/herself

I hope this will help you

Regards

Manuel López
Spain
Local time: 07:28
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Muchas gracias Manuel
Notes to answerer
Asker: Gracias por tu ayuda


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: Following Charles's explanation, this only needs a tiny modification to work in English, something like: "she already did run, FOR she knew what was good for her". BUT, don't use "herself"!
8 mins
  -> Obviously my knowledge has dicerned if the translation is good or not. I know is not perfect but fits the meaning. If she wants to survive, she has to do it well, she must know what is doing at the right moment.

disagree  Eliza Ariadni Kalfa: does not fit the context
48 mins
  -> So, where it is your alternative suggestion?? I don't see it. ;~)

agree  Charles Davis: Carol is right: all you have to do with this is to cut "if" and just say "she knew what was good for her" (since Jane says that she's treating the bacterium as female). But although it's not right with "if", I'm agreeing because the rest of it is good.
12 hrs
  -> Yes, you are right. The "if" don't seems to fit well.
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
it had enough sense to (see below)


Explanation:
Star 2: Run! Run!
Star 1: No need to yell, the bacterium had enough sense to run for it!

or: No need to yell, it was wise enough/had enough sense to run for its life!


The reason I disagree with Manuel's suggestion: there is no 'if' involved, it is clear from the context that the bacterium did indeed run. The expression is used in a context where you offer a suggestion: e.g. "if you know what's good for you...you will do this" or "if she knew what was good for her... she would do this". In the past tense, it's used to suggest an alternative course of action that was NOT taken e.g. "If she had known what was good for her she would have taken that test." In this context, it's clear that the bacterium did do the right thing and run, so the expression "if she knew what was good for her" doesn't fit. Moreover, there's no "she" involved (even though the word is of feminine gender in Spanish), as you said it's a bacterium, so it should be "it", unless it is given a feminine name like "Clara the bacterium" :)

Eliza Ariadni Kalfa
United States
Local time: 07:28
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GreekGreek
Notes to answerer
Asker: thanks for this. I actually put ' 'she wasn't stupid'. You're right she should be an 'it' but as she is later invited to to meet the Changeable Monster's parents, I've treated her as female.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Charles Davis: I think this gets the sense of it.
9 mins

agree  Carol Gullidge: and I very much like the Asker's own "she wasn't stupid/daft", which puts it neatly in a nutshell
2 hrs

agree  Pablo Julián Davis: Nice one, I like the positive better than 'wasn't stupid' or its variants.
5 hrs

agree  James A. Walsh
7 hrs

agree  Rachael West
1 day1 hr

agree  Sofia Rodera
2 days3 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +2
as well it should / as well she should


Explanation:
It ran away as well it should or you could use she if it has a name.
This is just a guess going on the context.

Susan Andrew
Local time: 06:28
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks - this would work as well. :-)


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Charles Davis: Another valid possibility, I think.
1 min
  -> Thanks Charles

agree  Catarina Lopes
15 mins
  -> Thanks Ana
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