"Merhaba demek bile bir hizmet."

Translation:Even saying hello is a service.

November 16, 2015

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I had trouble parsing this at first, so I'll share the breakdown:

"Merhaba demek" - To say hello / Saying hello
"Merhaba demek bile" - Even saying hello
"Merhaba demek bile bir hizmet" - Even saying hello is a service


Is this a saying in Turkey or just a constructed phrase?


Perhaps not--it's very similar to an Arabic saying, based on the teachings of a very wise man, "Even a smile is charity." It comes from a context where the concept of "charity" isn't limited to sending a donation, but includes removing broken glass from the public path, offering an arm to a blind person, giving directions to someone lost, or passing the kleenex box to dry fresh tears as well!


just a constructed phrase


what does "even/bile" refers to? does it refer to "demek" ? or to "hizmet" ??


It refers to "Merhaba demek". Take a look at my breakdown below.


Hello, EhabMohey. When we use "do" or "does" as a helping verb in English, "do" is conjugated, but the main verb stands in the infinitive: "What does this word refer to?"

The English translation sounds a little odd to me, but I think it gives some good insight into the word hizmet. Here, at least, it reminds me of the German word Nächstenliebe: altruism, charity, love of neighbor.


I wrote "Saying Hi" it was marked as incorrect. Why?


Hi, LadyAthena. I don't think merely substituting "hi" for "hello" should cause your translation to be rejected. "hello" seems a little nicer to me (a little more formal & polite). But overall, the "official" English translation strikes me as kind of strange. Is there a better way to translate the idea of "hizmet"? The issue may lie with culture & religion.

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