"Die Lehrer hätten die Eltern auch vertreten."

Translation:The teachers would have represented the parents, too.

3/15/2013, 12:23:49 AM

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Soglio
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Duolingo gives one possible translation as "The teachers would also have covered for the parents." Is that a good translation? It means something else entirely in English.

3/15/2013, 12:23:49 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
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The English “cover for someone” has two meanings, (1) “cover up a misdeed for someone”, which is not a valid translation of ‘jemanden vertreten’; and (2) “{fill in|stand in|substitute} for someone”, which is a perfectly good translation of ‘jemanden vertreten’.

6/25/2013, 12:41:14 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya
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Uhm, you're right. I totally missed the second meaning of 'jemanden vertreten'. It can also mean 'to temporarily do sb.'s job'. So, in that sense 'to cover for' would indeed work. I'll remove my original comment.

6/25/2013, 8:46:38 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Soglio
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Interesting. In English, though, I'm not sure I'd use "cover for someone" in quite that sense--that is, of formally substituting for someone. I'd be more likely to use it to represent a quick ad hoc action--"Can you cover for me while I run to the store?"

Of course, context is everything, and we have no context here. Still, I can't think of an instance in which someone would say "The teachers would cover for the parents."

We do have a concept of teachers acting "in loco parentis," that is, "in place of the parents," meaning they might have supervisory or disciplinary powers normally allotted parents, but I don't think one would use "cover for" in that case.

6/25/2013, 12:55:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya
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Yes, I agree that 'to represent' is by far the more natural translation here. I guess that's why I missed the other meaning in the first place. But technically, it can have that meaning and I told you it couldn't. So, my bad.

6/25/2013, 1:09:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Soglio
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Rough stuff, language. ;-)

Seriously, though, and setting aside der Lehrer and die Eltern of this question, I still have a question about "jemand vertreten" here. Would you use it for the sort of temporary, on-the-fly substitution that's usually implied in "cover for"?

6/25/2013, 1:17:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya
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I'd probably say 'Kannst du mal für mich einspringen?'. 'Vertreten' is used more naturally in a work context e.g. if you take on sb.'s job while he/she is vacationing.

6/25/2013, 1:20:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Soglio
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Thank you. I'm probably foolish to try to parse nuances while the conditional past perfect still has me tearing my hear out, but they are so intriguing.

6/25/2013, 1:37:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
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Hey, I've made worse bloopers on Duolingo. This is one little oversight out of how many thousands of contributions you've made here?

6/26/2013, 12:46:44 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
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Good point. It's a pretty implausible interpretation for this sentence.

6/25/2013, 1:05:55 PM
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