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Heinrich Heine: Tricky translations, and Google translate

„Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht, dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht.“ I came across these lines while listening to one of the podcasts about Heinrich Heine(@Slow German), and was puzzled regarding the meaning of the very first line. Does the latter part of this sentence mean "I am brought to sleep(um den schlaf gebracht)" or "I am taken away from sleep"? (Google translate supports the former translation, but the tone and the larger meaning of the poem suggests the latter. ) Are we talking of some idiomatic meaning here: um gebracht?

January 31, 2018


  • (Umbringen, short for jemanden ums Leben bringen: to kill sb., to take sb.'s life)
  • (Jemanden um den Verstand bringen: to drive sb. crazy)
  • Jemanden um etwas bringen: to take away something of somebody (jdn. um sein Geld bringen - to steal/take away sb.'s money)

So it's my sleep is taken away from me here = I cannot sleep.


wow. I would probably never have looked this up as I would always have felt that it meant the opposite. Thank you.


Suggestion: don't use Google Translate for tasks like this; use a decent online dictionary like Pons, which would have given you the correct translation here.



I know, I don't really use it for looking up meanings of a single word. But when it comes to translating a whole sentence... Would PONS help me there? I use dict.cc, which lists umgebracht, but not a separable form.

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