"Was soll das?"

Translation:What is the point?

April 7, 2013

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Soglio

Is this translation accurate?

April 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/christian

Yes.

April 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/miaerbus

Is it an idiom?

September 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/christian

It's more of a shortened expression.

http://goo.gl/s8h3Or

September 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Hi, Christian

Your link gives (amongst other phrasea)

'was soll das für einen Zweck haben?'- is this the expression you mean?

In English, 'What's the point of that?''- means - what purpose does that serve? How does that help?

However, 'What's the point?' can often mean - I give up, there is no point in trying. [More colloquially: #@$! this for a game of soldiers.]

So the two are rather different. :)

January 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/gisberth

To give up is rather:
Was soll's (soll es),
as an expression of resignation, whereas
Was soll das (werden / sein / bedeuten / darstellen / bezwecken / bewirken / erreichen / ...) demands an answer and is showing your interest or (felt) involvement.

June 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Huy_Ngo

I guessed it means "What is it supposed to mean?" and it was amongst the translation!

May 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Doctor-John

Alas, dear Christian, your link now yields only "Not Found."

If you're still following this discussion, could you give us an example or two of the expressions "Was soll das?" is a short version for?

Addendum: The link goo.gl/GQbg2m suggested by Laruthell leads to "Was soll das?" on pons. Vielen Dank!

March 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/.Lukasz.

He is wrong, it does NOT mean "What's the point".

What's the point would be "Wozu das alles".

Was soll das means something among the lines of "What's that about" , "What are you doing?"

March 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Laruthell

I think it will have been this: goo.gl/GQbg2m

March 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FatAlan

Christian's link worked fine for me.

February 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ArtBurnap

Here are a couple of other ways to translate 'Was soll das?' What is that supposed to mean? What's that for / about?

August 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Soglio

Thank you.

April 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sp4mblob

personally, i think not because the english sentence is asking about the meaning of a thing e.g. whether it's worth doing or not whereas the german sentence is more of a "what the heck are you doing?"

January 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Agonisti

Yeah, it seems the default/official translation is a poor one, if you're right.

I would still really like to see this phrase written out completely and explained, because right now it's clipped to the point of being enigmatic in terms of how it derives its supposed meaning.

The jump from "what shall that?" to "what are you doing?"/"what does that mean?"/"what is all that about?" is a rather big one indeed.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jodwyer

How about: What's that supposed to mean?

August 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/TimFuller

Yes, I think you are right. When I was in Germany and someone said, "Was soll das?", they usually meant "What's that all about" or "What does that mean?" or exactly what you have suggested.

November 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Agonisti

If you're correct, Duo's default answer is quite misleading, imho.

"What's the point?" usually carries a negative connotation, to the point of suggesting giving up, in my experience.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Bad news, guys - 10 months down the line, and they still don't accept this as a valid translation.

Since you all agree, I'm off to report it.

Have a good one.

:)

July 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/arianne.felize

Good

May 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Beneficium

PONS recommends your translation.

August 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Beneficium - you are well named!

Thanks you for PONS - it is a cool site.

:)

July 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LukaZaplat

Another good site: www.dict.cc

August 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Beneficium

Thank you and you're welcome. :)

July 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/G-Shumway

It also accepts: "What is it?" Is that also a good translation?

July 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chrysaphi

But it doesn't accept "What should that be?"

July 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sp4mblob

which is not exactly the same... "was soll das?" is more in the sense of "what is going on?" in a general sense whereas "what should that be" is object-specific e.g. a child paints something and the parents cannot recognize what it is supposed to be, so they ask "what should that be?" (German: was soll das sein?)

January 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Myrrha01

Well, these are subtleties, my duo friend! Was soll das bedeuten matches the English "what's that supposed to mean"?

January 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/benw7

Which is a perfectly correct translation. Report it!

February 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RobinB896941

To this bilingual Englishman living in Dortmund / NRW, "Was soll das?" is so highly idiomatic that it's difficult to express in English even though I "know" exactly what it means.

I'm most familiar with it as an expression of extreme annoyance in reaction to an apparently arbitrary action which causes the speaker unnecessary inconvenience.

Beispiel 1:
Vorgesetzter: "Die neue Geschäftsleitung ersetzt die bisherige gleitende Arbeitszeit durch drei Schichten. Ab Montag haben Sie die Wahl zwischen Früh-, Spät- und Nachtschicht; Sie beginnen und enden jede Schicht gleichzeitig mit dem restlichen Personal."
Angestellte: "Was SOLL das? Wer bringt nun meinen Sohn in den Kindergarten und holt ihn wieder ab?"

Beispiel 2:
[Eine unbekannte Frau im Restaurant schüttet einem Mann ein Glas Rotwein ins Gesicht]
Er: "Was SOLL das?"

Example 1 (English):
Supervisor: "The new management is switching from flexitime to three shifts. From Monday you have the choice of early, late or night shift, and you start and end each shift at the same time as the other staff."
Employee: "But WHY? Who'll take my son to kindergarten and pick him up later?"

Example 2 (English):
[In a restaurant, an unknown woman throws a glassful of red wine into a man's face]
Man: "WTF? Why did you do that?"

Some good Was soll das? translations have been proposed by other Duo users elsewhere on this page:

  • What's that about? – ArtBurnap
  • What's all this about? – Aynmon
  • What the hell? – savage516054
  • What are you doing – FreekVerkerk
  • What the hell are you doing? – Krizzards
                             [12 Mar 2019 14:08 UTC]
March 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/pellucidon

Sounds like "WTF?!! " fits all or most cases.

Or just "What the ... !"

March 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Krizzards

It accepts now "what's that all about", but not "what's that about" which I think is the closest translation in meaning. I don't think Was soll das? really means what is the point. That would be "Was ist der Zweck?"

March 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JaySea2007

I remember it being used often for "What the hell?" as well. Like if you punched a friend in the arm or smacked your partner in the behind and they were annoyed by it, "Was soll das?" Or" Why the hell did you do that?"

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DieSumpfHexe

What is the point...I ask myself that every day. What is the point of existence. Then somebody calls me and interrupts my creeping thoughts.

April 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/FreekVerkerk

How about: "What are you doing".

Like when you meet somebody walking in your garden. Or touching your car.

February 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FreekVerkerk

"Or what do you want." The german expression is not something you say to your beloved one, it is quite aggressive.

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Puett

What is the point? What is the matter? What's up? Why are you doing that? These are all possible translations, depending on the context.

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/rjpmdpa

I answered, "What is that about?" but was marked wrong with the suggestion of, "What is that ALL about?" Sorry, I don't see a significant difference. And this is an idiom anyway. Come on DL... I don't think the suggested translation is particularly accurate--it's not what I would think of when I hear this.

July 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CMTinPHX

Please exclude idioms from topical lessons.

August 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Doctor-John

All the lessons are either topical or grammatical (present tense, dative case, etc.) . Are you suggesting that grammatical lessons are more appropriate for introducing idioms? Why?

Idioms are a part of every language. So obviously we need to see them in moderation.

August 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Aynmon

While this translation is in general appropriate, as a German native speaker I only ever use "Was soll das?" like "What's all this about?", which is much more colloquial.

January 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/reengr

I wrote 'what should that be' as in a situation where a kid draws something and someone asks him what he wanted to draw because it's not clear. Could that be used in this context? Duolingo clearly says this translation is wrong.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Krizzards

I think you would probably say, Was soll das sein? or Was ist das? "Was soll das?" usually has a negative connotation.

March 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/pellucidon

I wrote: "What does that mean?" (Sept 2015). Not accepted.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/HamzaBashir1

I think of this like "What is that supposed to be?" as "Ich soll studieren" means I am supposed to study.

December 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertHJMa

'there's no reason for it' & 'why carry on' are two other interpretations of 'Was soll das' too.

September 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/supermollusc

"What is that meant to be?" soll akzeptiert werden

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/gabejosh

yes, that's what I answered but it is still not accepted.

January 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Johanna258510

Could it mean, "So what?" That seems rather aggressive, but is that the sense of the sentence in German?

May 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FreekVerkerk

The german phrase is also rather aggressive it is supposed to stop somebody from doing what they are doing. I would say: "What are you doing" would be a good translation. What you would say to a child who is throwing stones at your car.

May 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JaySea2007

How about, "what the hell was that all about?"

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/.Lukasz.

No, "So what?" would rather be "Na und?" or "Und jetzt?" (literally translated to "and now?").

Some think "What's the point of that?" would be a good translation but "Was soll das?" (as in with no other word complementing it) is used in a rather indignant manner, so it's maybe even more of a "What the ❤❤❤❤?" to some degree, "What's your problem?", "What's that about?", "What/why are you (even) doing it?".

There really is no perfect translation for this phrase.

May 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Neno350086

For "was soll das" Collins says: what’s all this?; (= warum denn das) what’s that for? of course, those answers are not accepted

November 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JacquesFre5

Just wait for the upcoming "Owl's Universal Dictionary"

May 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Pwmjkm

Why "big"? Why not just "what's the idea?"

March 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/2200Lucia60

I think you can say "Was soll es?" too. And equally, " Was soll das bedeuten?" ... "Was meinst du damit?" I am waiting for a confirmation from a german speaker.

November 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DS0273

"What do you mean by that?"

March 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/tontonzark

Was soll das (bedeutet) means what are you doing ! Why are you doing that ! But it's very abstract. For sure it doesn't mean what the point !

April 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ChefeBispo

"What the hell?" or even "WTF" seems as good a translation as any, but the prudish owl won't have it.

May 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/-Copernicus-

That's not really a good translation. "Was soll das" has the specific meaning of asking for the meaning or point of something, but "What the hell" is really just a generic multipurpose expression of confusion or annoyance. There's certainly some overlap in usage, but just "What the hell" doesn't really capture the meaning of "Was soll das."

May 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TgrHair

What's up? is a valid translation.

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

Eh? I don't think so.

"What's up?" sounds to me like a greeting, or asking about current events in general.

Was soll das? refers to something in particular that has happened (or is happening) and asks what the purpose of that action is.

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Krizzards

I'd agree and add that it has a "sarcastic-tone" of voice, like "What the #@ll are you doing?" and is asking about an action that is wrong or stupid. I like Freekverkerk's description of saying this to a child throwing rocks at a car.

May 21, 2018
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