"למה הם מפחדים? זה בסך הכל חתול."
Translation:Why are they afraid? It is just a cat.
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"In total" is a terrible translation. The correct translation is "after all". So the whole thing would be: "Why are they afraid. It is a cat, after all."
Nice find! Other common translations, in a negating usage such as this, are: nothing but, merely, simply. But, 'after all', captures the sense of summation conferred by בסך הכל and nails the idea here. And obviously 'just' got the official nod ;)
Your suggestion is not correct. It doesn't mean that. Sayree3 gave an excellent explanation.
I had the same question. 'After all' sounds better in the English sentence so I checked the dictionary and I found the following. 'After all' is not listed as a possible translation for בסך הכל in any of the dictionaries I checked. So I looked up how to say 'after all' and there were several suggestions but high up on the list was אחרי הכל. Close but no cigar.
While "after" commonly translates as אחר, I offer for consideration that 'misapplication' of certain words often achieves a more accurate overall description. In coming to modern Hebrew from a biblical background, I am familiar with the Hebrew's rich heritage of novel, challenging, mind-expanding language.
I posted an etymological analysis of בסך הכל here.
Can't get my head around how "in total" and "just" is the same phrase. And isn't רק = "just"?
Think about the newspapers sentence. If he's selling newspapers, "He has 50 newspapers in total" and "He has just 50 newspapers" are pretty similar. Or at least that's how I interpreted it (I'm not a native Hebrew speaker.)
(I know you posted that four months ago, so you've probably figured it out, but others might have the same question.)
Nice explanation, but I'm going to make some clarification to help people grasp the nuance :)
It's important with phases like בסף הכל that are more conceptual in nature, and used in a wide-range of scenarios, to not get hung up on word-for-word translation, but allow whatever best conveys the concept. The concept of בסך הכל is 'after assessing the matter' 'all things considered' 'all told'.
'Just' works well here because the point of the statement is to degrade or disparage the fear factor. But in the newspaper scenario, 'just' introduces a negative connotation not otherwise implied.
I typed רק in the excercise where you have to translate this sentence from English to Hebrew and it was accepted. Wouldn't רק be a more natural choice anyhow? I think it sounds better and it's simpler, too(:
I wrote "afraid" and it was accepted. You must have had another mistake.
In that case, your mistake was writing "it's". Usually, they accept only the long form - "it is" in this case. That has happened to me quite a number of times, so I always write only long answers - they are, it is, I am and so on.
Oxford Languages defines “after all” as: in spite of any indications or expectations to the contrary. "I told her I couldn't come after all".
“In spite of” is different than “merely”, so I would say no. Also, Snezhi said that after all was not listed in dictionaries as a possible translation of בסך הכל besakh ha-kol.