Translation:We looked at the people in the restaurant.
Spojrzeliśmy --- sometimes I get a different thought impression in my mind when I am thinking Polish than when I am thinking English. My mental picture (thinking in Polish) is more "gazing, observing, actively "checking out" - Does anyone else see different mental images depending which language you are thinking in. (I learned both languages simultaneously as a child - but only spoke Polish with my parents and limited immigrant population)
There are different mental images, as each word in two languages may mean more or less the same, but with very subtle differences that are not easy to translate and depend a lot on common use. For example, when I am thinking in English "look at" means to me observing for a longer period of time. I am a native speaker of Polish, and "spojrzeliśmy" gives me an impression of briefly checking out, "taking a look".
I totally understand - thanks for responding - I find it often difficult to explain to a mono-linguist.
It's because Polish uses two different verbs when English uses the same verb in two situations.
"Patrzeć" means "to look continuously for some period of time".
"Spojrzeć" means "to take a look, glance".
Based on this, I would translate "patrzeć" as to watch and "spojrzeć" as to look at.
But then 'to watch' has a strong connotation with movies, for example. "patrzeć na film" sounds as if you looked at the screen but your brain didn't really 'watch' the movie consciously, just some pictures moving in front of you, not having any meaning.
We don't look at people "at" the restaurant, but "in" the restaurant. We use "at" to say where someone is. Reported.
Yes, I agree. "he was at the restaurant" but "we looked at the people in the restaurant"
I bit nitpicky in my opinion. "We were looking at" as in the sense "We were glancing at" is the same to me. I can see the distinction if I said "We were looking for.." but in my mind "were looking at" and "were glancing at" have the same meaning. I did not use the word "for" in my translation.
Yes, but "patrzeć" describes continous action, whereas "spojrzeć" doesn't. It refers to the very short moment when you take a look. Of course, this difference is not so visible in English and there is some overlap but I don't think that there is a better way to translate it.
I think a better translation would be "we were watching the people in the restaurant"
Or is there another Polish word for watching, as for example, in the sentence "we were watching television"?
With television, it's "oglądać". Here... here it could work for continuous "patrzyliśmy", but not for "spojrzeliśmy".
It's rather "we looked", "we took a (rather short) look".
Right now I can't think about a context where "watched" would work, but maybe there is one. None of the sentences in this section accepts "watched", from what I see.
Could I ask the difference here between we looked and we saw? It seems to be more like 'saw' based on Jellei's explanation above, "we took a short look".
Isn't 'we looked' more... conscious? We decided to take a look at them instead of 'we were looking around the room and we saw those people'. That's my impression. And the 'conscious' part suits the Polish sentence better.