https://www.duolingo.com/NikhilBeke

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?

1/31/2018, 3:21:38 PM

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Max.Em
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  • (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.

1/31/2018, 3:33:43 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/npLam
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wow. I would probably never have looked this up as I would always have felt that it meant the opposite. Thank you.

1/31/2018, 3:58:40 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
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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.

dqxxmvyvoedn

2/1/2018, 8:05:01 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/NikhilBeke

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.

2/1/2018, 10:53:33 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
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Pons wouldn't have translated the whole sentence for you, but it certainly gives you that particular combination of verb + preposition if you look up "bringen" or "gebracht":

.14. bringen (rauben): jdn um etw akk bringen: to rob sb of sth
jdn um etw akk bringen (durch eigene Schuld): to cost sb sth
etw bringt jdn um seinen guten Ruf/seine Stellung: sth costs sb his/her reputation/job
jdn um den Schlaf bringen: to keep sb awake
jdn um den Schlaf bringen (länger a.): to cause sb sleepless nights

dqxxmvyvoedn

2/1/2018, 12:36:01 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/NikhilBeke

Point taken. The problem was initially I never thought 'um' was part of the verb phrase and was searching for gebracht only in the dictionary, hence the confusion. Anyway, lesson learnt. Thanks!

2/2/2018, 11:36:17 AM
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