Need help on a translation project
Hi there. I need your help to translate a part in a Dutch Wikipedia article: Natuurkunde (link: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natuurkunde). There is a sentence that is really confusing: Maar sinds een eeuw worden in het gemeenschappelijke gebied van de biofysica natuurkundige eigenschappen van levende systemen onderzocht. My version is: "However, physical characteristics of living systems are being investigated in the common area of biophysics for a century" I hope you can help me to correct my translation (and explain my mistakes). Dank u wel!
That is a mouthful of a sentence! Your translation is very good though. The only part you might want to change is "are being investigated" to "have been investigated...since (or for) a century." So, "However, physical characteristics of living systems have been investigated in the common area of biophysics since (for) a century." As far as I know in English, if you say 'have been investigated' and there's a time period (century), it means it's going on now and will continue, whereas if you use 'is being investigated' it only means now, but not beyond.
Ahh, I have guessed before that it must be "...have been investigated..." Dank u wel! However, this sentence makes me confused about the difference between worden and zijn in the passive sentence construction in Dutch. Here is what I have concluded from Duo's tips and notes on passive voice :
We use worden to describe ongoing actions. For example: het artikel wordt vertaald (the article is being translated)
We use zijn to describe the state of things after something has been done to them. For example: het artikel is vertaald (the article has been translated)
Now, the sentence which I asked before uses worden, this is actually what makes me stuck here. I wonder, is this because sinds een eeuw is added to the sentence then the whole meaning changes from "are being investigated" to "have been investigated"? Once again, thank you for your help :)
I read the first part of your question and did my own translation first, before reading your translation, and this is how I broke the sentence down:
sinds een eeuw = for a century now
natuurkundige eigenschappen van levende systemen worden onderzocht = physical properties of living systems have been studied
in het gemeenschappelijke gebied van de biofysica = in the shared field of biophysics
And this is how I translated it (in the context of the sentence that preceded it):
(Physics originally centered around the non-living world, while the living world was left to biology.) But for a century now, physical properties of living systems have been studied in the shared field of biophysics.
The wording that made me pause was 'het gemeenschappelijke gebied.' I had to sit and think about this for a while, but I believe this is simply saying that biophysics is a shared field (of study) between physics and biology.
I'm not sure what the nature of this project is, but if you need any help with this project, I may be able to offer limited outside support.