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"Para un barco sin rumbo, cualquier destino es bueno o malo."

Translation:For a ship without course, any destination is good or bad.

5 years ago

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/bvanw
bvanw
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There is an English idiom "Any port in a storm" not sure if this one in the example is related. The example is particularly meaningless, so if it is a real idiom it begs to be explained.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wmunnell

You're exactly right, any destination serving for a ship off course is parallel to any port serving in a storm. But since Duo's not recognizing that, their literal translation (many of their English translations, in fact) needs to reflect a better understanding of English usage and convention.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/josh.ramirez500
josh.ramirez500
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good call

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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Why? this isn't an English course, and anyone encountering this phrase, or something like it will need to know how to parse it. This is a program to learn the language, not rote memorization.

Also, this is an idiomatic paraphrase of a line from Seneca. Idioms do not translate literally very easily.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wmunnell

1) Why? Maybe because if one has learned a second language, he's able to translate it meaningfully into his native tongue. A literal translation of this sentence does not compute in English but seems nearest our idiomatic "any port in a storm". Obviously nothing to do with learning by rote. 2) I daresay most English speakers are unable to parse the sentences they speak and write, yet are fluent; were Duo teaching how to parse Spanish sentences, they'd be teaching the words' functions in the sentences. 3) I wouldn't know whether this is meant as a "colloquial paraphrase" of Seneca inasmuch as the import of Seneca's words is somewhat different from what's found here. Seneca's metaphor ("No wind blows in favor of a ship without direction") would indicate that without a plan a good result is unlikely. Look it up.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bvanw
bvanw
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Excellent response. And one might paraphrase the Seneca quote as "Only a bad wind blows for a ship without a course." See also http://whenisapartynotaparty.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/no-wind-blows-in-favor-of-a-ship-without-direction/

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wmunnell

Oh, hey, I like that. (And thank you for the link.) Do ya s'pose "An ill wind blows no good" might be construed to bear some relationship to your paraphrase?! Nah, no ship in sight. But, then again, if it's without (a) course, who knows where it is? But at least we know it will be good or bad. (Gosh, are there no other options?) Isn't this fun??

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bvanw
bvanw
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The "will be good or bad" quote is typical of a certain passive-agreesive nature in Spanish culture. Americans like things more settled.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M132T003C
M132T003C
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If the current Duolingo phrase is supposed to be an alternative translation of that, it is an especially bad one, because I can actually make sense of “Only a bad wind blows for a ship without a course”, and I can’t make sense of “For a ship without course, any destination is good or bad.”.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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You haven't addressed the utility of learning an English idiom that shares few words and little intent with the Spanish. Forcing us to connect the two so that you get it right is silly and useless. Also, I disagree that the sentence does not compute in English. Were anyone to say this in conversation I would expect people to think it was overblown and a little silly, but it would be understood.

My point is that the sentence here is closer in meaning to Seneca than 'Any port in a storm', where the idea is any help is useful. What the lesson phrase is saying is that to a ship headed nowhere in particular, it doesn't matter which way the wind blows.

Also, why am I the only one here that thinks that you dissenters are making an awful lot about small differences in word choices between translations of a Latin phrase into English, and a Spanish idiom translated into English?

Look, if it really matters to you this much maybe you can pretend you are typing "Any Port In A Storm", or really do it, because I really don't care. I am just very tired of people complaining that Spanish doesn't translate word for word into English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sggriff

Jindr, I think what he's trying to say is, why is the point of learning a phrase if we have no idea what it means and how/when to use it? If can't figure out what this sentence is supposed to mean, or in what context I would ever use it. We are trying to figure out what the closest English equivalent would be to get an idea of when we would use it in conversation. It doesn't have to be word for word, but it does have to be equal to something we can understand in some way, or it becomes meaningless to us- just a bunch of words strung together. I don't understand why you are criticizing people for trying to gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of phrases instead of settling for a shallow, grammatically correct memorization.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bvanw
bvanw
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Any language that translates word for word with another language is really the same language, variant pronunciation and spelling.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carter.ag
carter.ag
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“The archer must know what he is seeking to hit; then he must aim and control the weapon by his skill. Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” [Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales: Volume II. "Epistle LXXI: On The Supreme Good." ca. 4 B.C. - 65 A.D. Tr. Richard M. Gummere, Ph.D. 1920. Harvard University Press, 1962.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/namayani

to me this feels a bit more like Alice in Wonderland's "any way is good if you don't know where you're going," but maybe in reverse. - if a ship does not have a set course, it can reach any place and that place can be good or bad depending on what kind of a place it is, and not on whether it was it's intended destination or not. Maybe?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SD-77
SD-77
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it's hopeless :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpell
MissSpell
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'Para un barco sin rumbo, cualquier destino es bueno' sounds like, any destination is good for a directionless ship.

'Para un barco sin rumbo, cualquier destino es malo' sounds like any destination is bad for a ship which has chosen to be directionless.

'Para un barco sin rumbo, cualquier destino es bueno o malo' sounds like word salad. Can anyone figure out what is meant here?

Maybe we need to improve it, in which case.....

Para un lingüista sin frase, cualquier palabra es bueno o malo.

Any other suggestions?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yerrick
Yerrick
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This sentence is definitely good or bad.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

It works better for me as a question in a discussion

'So, blah, blah ...good or bad?'

'Mmm, good... no, wait... bad, yes, definitely bad!'

'Wrong! It's good'

good or bad as a statement just does not work for me here

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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While the classic scholars here were having their dust-up, I realized that cualquier does not take an O as a masculine ending. The feminine, however, takes the standard A in cualquiera.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel-in-BC
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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Thanks for alerting me to that, Dan. I didn't know the name for that phenomenon, and I didn't know it worked for cualquier.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

Ahhh, so it's not a gender thing!

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mitcorb

What the hey? But I got it right on audio alone.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sallyann_54

Well, perhaps one can tire of hearing people complain, but the fact is, that some of these sentences are ridiculous and I personally am losing heart at the impossibility of it. Contrary to translating word for word, which to me seems to be part of the problem, it would be better to translate so near as possible so that it at least makes sense in English. Because, increasingly, it doesn`t . And I find that instead of learning Spanish, I am spending much of my time here trying to work out what the heck the English sentence is supposed to mean.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pigslew
Pigslew
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Absolutely!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SamuelOrr

Reminds me of the joke about the airplane flying over the ocean.." The captain announced "I have good news and bad new..first, the bad news we are hopelessly lost....and the good news... we're on time."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tylerthehun

When would you ever say this?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gorditaflaca

It's probably an old saying

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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Tyler, When one is on a sailboat with a broken mast.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lphoenix

I don't think people complain for long about translation difficulties. The problem is that when you encounter a question where you need to know a common phrase or an idiom, you may sense that that is so, but you soon realize that you don't have much chance of translating just the precise way DL wants you to. And if that causes you to run out of hearts, you have to re-do the entire lesson again. That is disheartening, frustrating, and wastes time. It's a consequence that you increasingly want to avoid. And when you're penalized for not knowing something you simply could not know without specific instruction beforehand, and you're marked wrong when you guess at it, and wrong when you try to stay as literal as possible, it feels like you're being jerked around. Which is something I've never encountered in any Spanish lessons before. And you end up with the focus being: just get through this lesson somehow, forget about learning anything for real, just get it over with because you don't have all day. That is not the way to really learn. That's the way to pass tests.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

I entirely agree - this is not the way to learn and I am losing heart with this method (no pun intended)

The sentences are poorly selected for teaching Spanish (or any language for that matter) and seem to have been chosen merely to stimulate these types of discussions about linguistic nuances. It is fairly simple to include the points you hope to teach to your students in any given module without running the risk of having them becoming in these kinds of linguistic minefields - it just takes a little more thought and preparation (and probably language teaching qualifications wouldn't hurt). I think most people have come on here to study Spanish semi-casually and some of this stuff falls way out of that gamut, in fact, it is fairly useless and not learner-friendly.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wayne

Wonder if this is a common saying, or just a strange sentence when translated.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cquark
cquark
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As the classics scholars above are noting, It seems to be the Spanish translation of a Latin quote from Seneca: ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est. Which Duolingo is now having us translate into English. Suggesting that what's really needed here is a number of volunteers to help out with a Duolingo Latin course.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valle2
valle2
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thank you for the wisdom you share with us, oh great duolingo

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aotoolester

Why is "for a ship without course, whichever destination is good or bad" wrong?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bvanw
bvanw
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I think the words whichever, whatever or any all would work here. And I have looked it up!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/briecee
briecee
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Whichever does not work here, in standard English at least.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Patmitarn

I put whatever and it was marked wrong. I am sure that it should have been accepted.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiryo
Kiryo
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I wrote "destiny" instead of "destination", I know it doesn't make a lot of sense but before it seemed different...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Louxda

It makes as much sense as the rest of the sentence, arguably. "Any direction is good or bad when a ship doesn't have a destiny..."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kiryo
Kiryo
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Wow, Duolingo needs more expressions like this, just look at this thoughtful debate! More philosophy on Duolingo! ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jack.george

whatever is clearly in the definition of cualquier so how could it not be accpted? I really don't get that! Very annoying.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yerrick
Yerrick
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It is one potential translation; so is "any". As always, context must be taken into account in determining exactly which word to use to translate another.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anomalousjack

Good OR bad. But not both! I could understand the logic of this better if it was put as a question. Is this really anything close to a Spanish idiom, or just some nonsense Duo has made up on a bad day?

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Blas_de_Lezo00
Blas_de_Lezo00
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In Spanish: "Quien no sabe dónde va, termina yendo donde no quiere."

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wmunnell

What??! In English we say a ship is "off course" not "without course".Who comes up with some of this stuff?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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A) it's an idiom. B) a ship is only off course if it was going somewhere. The meaning here is a ship going nowhere in particular.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Melita2

Jin, You are right. It also has nothing to do with Any port in a storm, which means that beggars can't be choosers, if the beggars are on a boat in a storm, any port will do. They are not directionless. Again you are right.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bvanw
bvanw
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That's right. I don't think "off course applies here, we would use "without a course" and the article "a" is strongly advised. "Without course" is okay, just sounds off-beat.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/briarose333

This is the fifteenth time I've gotten this stupid sentence on the faith unit... why is it popping up so much??

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/briarose333

annd i just got it again...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/briarose333

and again! this isn't even a very useful sentence

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Paulalock

I just got it 5 times in one refresher section, don't think I'll ever forget it now!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/itay_bi
itay_bi
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According to google dictionary :

any port in a storm = la necesidad carece de ley

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kishoreholla

Since i do not know neither spanish nor English, but being an Indian, i am able to relate it to philosophy. For a life without purpose, there is nothing like a good or bad.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Billhmjr

Without set direction in your life, you have a 50/50 chance of it turning out good or bad.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/davgleonard

Should not the "es" in this statement be replaced with "puede ser" ?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carter.ag
carter.ag
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You could say it that way and it would make a whole lot more sense, but the quote that Duo is borrowing (from Seneca, basically "No wind blows for a ship without a harbor") has the sense that any wind is pointless without a direction/aim/goal.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SMAGringo

In English, this saying is actually, For a ship without a course, any destination will do....but of course, it is marked wrong.....as I knew it would be, but I was curious as to what they would do with it...who would guess a literal translation!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Amodia
Amodia
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Except for down a waterfall :)
Excepto por abajo de una cascada. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scottrobertssatx

Whatever doesn't equal any

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daniel.Luke

Hmmm, pretty sure boat should be allowed on this one.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AliT.Firef
AliT.Firef
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Duh! 'Any destination is good' and it would be saying something, but as it is, es una frase sin rumbo. Also I got it wrong :)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DAO_2468

"To a ship without direction, any destination is good or bad" The answer I was given makes sense but it's not good English. Is there any point in reporting this nonsense that we get from DuoLingo, does anyone ever read these comments?

1 month ago