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Question on translation of "Metall ist schwer!"

I am wondering why the German sentence "Metall ist schwer." cannot be translated "Metal is difficult." Consider an instructor talking about working with various materials. In response to a question about working with various materials (say, wood, composition boards or metal), the instructor might respond that "Working with metal is difficult." which, I am guessing, would translate something like "Metall ist schwer zu bearbeiten." Unfortunately Duo only accepted the translation of "heavy" for "schwer" and I got a no go. When I went to the discussion board, it was locked. So, I could not get any help there. Must the translation be only "heavy?" If so how does one translate "Metal is difficult to work with?"

August 26, 2017

1 Comment


You actually already answered this yourself. For it to mean /difficult/ in German in this case would require the specification "zu ver-/bearbeiten". Even if you were to point out that the German language is hard (difficult?) to learn you'd have to add that part in. While people might understand "Deutsch ist schwer" they'd assume that you're making a funny, acting as if you don't actually spoke the language. A grammatically correct version would be "Die deutsche Sprache ist schwer zu erlernen".

But then again, why am I rambling =} .. it's not like Duo sticks to it's own rules half the time.

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