"Скажи им, чтобы они здесь не курили." -- Possible translations
Hello, I posted this in the comment section of the phrase, but I was recommended to ask here instead:
Please can someone tell me which of these (if any) are acceptable translations of "Скажи им, чтобы они здесь не курили.":
Tell them that they may not smoke here.
Tell them that they must not smoke here.
Tell them that they should not smoke here.
Tell them that they cannot smoke here.
Tell them that they do not smoke here.
Tell them that they are not to smoke here.
Tell them that they are not smoking here.
Tell them that they should not be smoking here.
Tell them that they are not to be smoking here.
To me, it's just "Tell them not to smoke here". Many of your suggestions would need должно (must), нужно (need to) or нельзя (forbidden) to complete them.
If we replace indirect speech with direct one, the exact translation of "Скажи им, чтобы они здесь не курили" would be: "Tell them: "Don't smoke here!" Based on this, you can choose the most suitable option with indirect speech.
Hi! I think it's just "Tell them not to smoke here." When the speaker puts their demand (or order) like that, it does not imply that the speaker is basing it on any existing written or unwritten rule (as it would be implied by using the modal verbs you listed). The speaker may just as well be basing the demand simply on their personal preference. (The speaker certainly feels they are entitled to make such a request, but that does not mean it's actually true. ;)) In English too "tell them not to smoke here" does not tell you why the people are asked to do that - because of a rule, because it's dangerous, because I said so?
If there is a specific reason you are not satisfied with that translation, maybe you could explain it and get a more precise answer?
I assume the matter at hand is not necessarily dissatisfaction, but a desire to investigate the nitty-gritty nuances of Russian deontic modality.
As piguy3 said, I have no problem with this translation, I just wondered what OTHER translations might be possible -- and surely at least one of these could be used?
As for not implying an existing rule, I see what you mean, but it may not be completely true. If the sentence was "tell them to stop smoking here", perhaps. But I think that you would only ever say "tell them not to smoke here" if the reason was that there was some kind of rule (even if it is just a temporary thing put in place by the speaker).
I think that any English speaker would interchange "tell them not to smoke here" and, say, "tell them that they must not smoke here", and this is basically why I thought of asking -- however, I'm not thinking that maybe they are not quite grammatically identical, so you could be right. However, while this eliminates "must" and "may", there are others that still fit this definition: e.g. "tell them that they should not smoke here", "tell them that they should not be smoking here", and possibly "tell them that they are not to smoke here" and "tell them that they are not to be smoking here".
This raises a further point that no-one seems to have touched on: the last three options I posted are in a different tense (simple vs. perfect continuous), so... that would mean that they would translate differently to Russian, right? (I'm not so great at tenses in Russian yet).
that would mean that they would translate differently to Russian, right?
I don't think so. I don't think Russian expresses the difference between "to smoke" and "to be smoking" other than using things like time adverbs or other more roundabout means.
On the chance that no one shows up with more definitive answers, one can enter all these periphrasic modality constructions into Reverso and see what pops up, for instance: http://context.reverso.net/translation/english-russian/they+are+not+to. они не должны, им не стоит, and им не следует all do seem like pretty reasonable renderings of "they are not to [bare infinitive]"
Ah, so the continuous present and simple present are the same in Russian? OK, that makes things easier. I wasn't sure. (That explains why there are no continuous present verb conjugations on Wiktionary!)
To add my piece to the request for a certain amount of additional detail:
Usage of "should" notably varies across English dialects, and it's used in non-American dialects where, frankly, it's pretty unnatural for an American. Since I'm American I can't profess to understand such usage, but it seems conceivable to me with my very limited understanding that certain native English speakers might think that "Tell them that they should not smoke here" and "Tell them not to smoke here" are not just statements along the same lines but rather have essentially entirely the same meaning. If something like that is the case for you, it would be good to know.
Maybe "Tell them that they do not smoke here" and "Tell them that they are not smoking here" have similar issues. I am really in the dark about non-American mandatative structures. This is one of the areas of starkest grammatical distinction between English dialects. These don't seem like sentences I would ever come up with, so I think I might be missing something and there are bigger English differences in play.
To me "Tell them that they are not to smoke here" and "Tell them that they are not to be smoking here" are the most splitting-hairs cases, as I can't profess to have a clear understanding of what the modality there means. They're different than "Tell them not to smoke here" obviously, but they seem approximately equally arbitrary and unspecific as to the origin of the basis of the request.
This is very interesting, I had no idea that American English treated the word "should" differently. In this case, to me (a non-American), "tell them that they should not smoke here" could be re-written as "tell them that it is recommended that they do not smoke here" (which is a little awkward, of course, but has the same meaning).
I have to admit, I do not even understand what a mandative is (interestingly my spell-checker is telling me that it isn't a word!), but I think I can somewhat answer my own question for these. "They are not" and "they do not" both have significantly different meanings to the imperative "do not", as they are in continuous present and simple present tense respectively. In Russian, maybe "скажи им, что они здесь не курять"? But I just wonder if the sentence in question could also be interpreted in this way. I will assume not, unless I can find out otherwise.
I am starting to understand that that sentences have slightly different meanings to the correct answer, but many of them are interchangeable in English, so all I want to know is: are they also interchangeable in Russian?
I have to admit, I do not even understand what a mandative is
Well, I didn't help matters by spelling it wrong in my post! Glad you got the correct version :)
It looks like my concerns about English issues don't really apply. A brief synopsis would be that I would have fashioned "tell them that it is recommended that they do not smoke here" as "tell them that it is recommended that they not smoke here." The "that they not smoke here" is actually the English subjunctive (often called "mandative subjunctive" - my spellcheck doesn't recognize it either) in action, but as far as I've read it's also by and large an American peculiarity at this point. Other speakers often use "should" in these types of structures, which is what I was referencing above and why I wanted to check what you had in mind with some of the sentences you'd composed.
"They are not" and "they do not" both have significantly different meanings to the imperative "do not", as they are in continuous present and simple present tense respectively. In Russian, maybe "скажи им, что они здесь не курять"?
I think the most important distinction is that "they are not" and "they do not" are indicative statements (descriptions of a current situation), as opposed to any sort of command/instruction/imperative. I think your translation is right (although not sure about the two unspecified "theys," which presumably are different groups), but it should be курят, just an ordinary conjugated verb. I think чтобы is only used for things that are along the lines of commands, and it's always followed by a verb in the form of the past tense (but which I believe is technically considered the Russian subjunctive, seeing as how it generally doesn't have anything to do with the past) or an infinitive.
so all I want to know is: are they also interchangeable in Russian?
Not sure which sentences you're referring to here. Maybe some of the suggestions in my post of a few minutes ago will be of use.
I somehow missed this reply until now, but thanks for commenting.
I think чтобы is only used for things that are along the lines of commands
Well, this definitely rules out the two 'indicative statements' (thanks for giving them a name, my grammatical terms are not up to scratch it would seem!).
"That they not smoke here" is one that didn't even occur to me. It is different to "should", and although I don't think I would ever use it myself in a sentence, could this actually be the literal translation of the sentence?
Not sure which sentences you're referring to here.
I think I elaborated in my other comment below ("OK, here's my update...")
Re-reading this, I probably should clarify that I was using "along the lines" of in what is probably an unusually broad sense. For instance, "я хочу, чтобы" is I think I perfectly ordinary structure, and I guess "I want [somebody] to do / not do [something]" isn't what one would normally have in mind when thinking of a command.
> "That they not smoke here" is one that didn't even occur to me. It is different to "should", and although I don't think I would ever use it myself in a sentence, could this actually be the literal translation of the sentence?
I suppose that "Tell them that they not smoke here" is something like a word-for-word translation of the sentence. However, even as someone who naturally uses structures like "that they not [bare infinitive]" a lot, this one doesn't seem natural to me. I used it above because it followed "recommended."
Since no one has taken a shot definitive or not at translations of the possibilities you laid out, I'll do my best when I have a bit more time.
OK, here's my update:
As far as I can see from your comments, none of these have the exact same meaning in English to "tell them not to smoke here". However, you must consider that there is no situation in English where the sentence "tell them not to smoke here" could not be replaced with, for example, "tell them that they may not smoke here", without losing any meaning or being misinterpreted.
"may not smoke here" = basically the same meaning in English, so idk
"must not smoke here" = synonymous with "may not", except more insistent
"should not smoke here" = similar to "may not", but less insistent
These first three could be written in Russian with the word "должно" or "нужно" (or something), but is this word necessary? Because it isn't in English.
"cannot smoke here" = implies that that they "do not have the ability to", or "не могут", so this is a NO, I would say
"do not smoke here" = this is just an indicative statement, and is clearly in simple present tense rather than... um... whatever this sentence is supposed to be :) so NO
"are not to smoke here" = this is the closest in meaning, I would think. Still has the implication that they are "not allowed to".
"are not smoking here" = the same as "do not smoke here", but in present continuous tense instead of simple present, so NO
"should not be smoking here" = same as "should not smoke", but has a perfect continuous verb in there, and I'm not sure how this translates to Russian
"are not to be smoking here" = similar to "are not to smoke", but has a perfect continuous verb as with "should not be smoking"
piguy3 also mentioned the sentence "Tell them that they not smoke here", so I'm also curious if this is an alternate translation.
The most helpful thing could be if someone was able to confidently translate each of my sentences into Russian.
Thanks everyone for the answers.
Random side note: I don't think those two are examples of "perfect continuous" but rather "present continuous" (one with a modal, one an infinitive). As far as I know "past perfect continuous" would be "they had been smoking"; "present perfect continuos" would be "they have been smoking"; and that odd duck the future perfect continuous would be "they will have been smoking."
So my best effort (I would happily defer to any Russian native speaker that happened by):
Basically Russian doesn't have the same modality distinctions.
Options that come to mind (all followed by infinitive) are:
им нельзя - basically means "forbidden" or "prohibited" so corresponds to "may not," "must not," "are not to", but sometimes "should" belies a certain definitiveness, so it might pop up there, too. Don't know how often "им нельзя" would be used in this particular sentence. If it's forbidden, it's obviously forbidden to them so maybe it'd just be "здесь нельзя курить"
они не должны - spans from "they should not" to "they must not" so it would seem to pick up "they may not" and "they are not to" along the way
им не следует - I think this one tends to be closer to "they should not"
им не стоит - the one I'm least familiar with; I feel like I've seen lengthy discussion on this on these boards and even native Russian speakers can't quite agree on its range of meanings; it'smore on the "they should not" end of things but I think could also be used for "they don't need to" which doesn't fit here (but probably from context just wouldn't fit to begin with).
There'll be no distinction between "should not smoke" and "should not be smoking" etc.