Translation:The examination takes a few minutes.
Yes, but it might change the meaning of the sentence into the opposite:
"es dauert (nur) wenige Minuten" => it only takes a couple of minutes (it won't take long).
"es dauert ein paar Minuten" => it will take a couple of minutes (it might take some time).
The use of the present continuous tense indicates that the examination is in progress and not yet complete, and so the speaker is not in a position to say how long it will take when completed, as is required by the German sentence.
If the speaker only wants to say that it has taken a few minutes so far then the present perfect tense would be used, as in "The examination has taken a few minutes (so far)".
Does this mean more along the lines of just a few minutes, or a few minutes?
I think that the accepted translation doesn't reflect the meaning of the original phrase because of the distinction between "few" and "a few".
In the German phrase, imagine a medic saying "Die Untersuchung dauert wenige Minuten." What he means is "It won't last long". The closest translation would be "The examination lasts only a few minutes".
The accepted translation shifts the meaning. The patient expects the examination to be very fast, but the medic warns him that it will "take a few minutes".
I was also confused by this example and I think you are right and that this translation is not good. Given the similar example I had before I think that this sentence means few and NOT a few
Sakasiru's example from another thread:
They have few books. = Sie haben wenige Bücher.
They have a few books. = Sie haben einige Bücher.
Very astute, that's why as an interpreter I pay attention to these details. I love Duolingo but I wish we could have some native speakers in here to help with the nuances like this. Have a Lingot!
Does this mean "... few minutes" or "... a few minutes"?
I tried the former out of curiosity and it was accepted, but the default translation has "a few" and they are not the same.
Compare "I have a few examples" (I have several) and "I have few examples" (I don't have many).
You are right, Agonisti. In this example "few minutes" plays down the time taken, whilst "a few minutes" plays up the time taken. I am not alone, in this string, in feeling that DL has chosen the wrong one here. "Wenig(e) = few", whereas "ein paar = a few"
Could "a couple of minutes" also be used as a translation? For the time being, it is not accepted.
What would be the difference between using the verb dauern compared to nehmen? Can't seem to find a clear answer. Thanks!
dauern = to take some TIME, to last
nehmen = to take some THING
It takes ten minutes to boil an egg. -- use dauern
Take ten eggs and boil them. -- use nehmen
I suggest using only "examination" in English in this case, or "medical visit". As stated previously, "exam" has another meaning.
"Exam" should be accepted though too. I work in a hospital and we always say "exam." Hardly anyone actually goes to say the whole word. "I'm going to do an exam on you," or 'I'm going to do your exam now".
"The examination takes few minutes." vs "The examination takes a few minutes." ??? Is there a difference (even if slight) in meaning?
As a native speaker of English, I would never say "The examination takes few minutes."
As a native speaker I find "The examination takes few minutes" very ugly but the more correct translation.
I have few examples to convince you, but this sentence is one.
If I said "I have a few examples" the meaning is changed.
The difference is between not having many and having some.
For some people it takes few minutes for the subtle twists of the english language to set in, for others it takes more time, if at all.
Not casting nasturtiums, it's just another example. And I do mean aspersions.
I keep writing the correct sentence and will write minutes, yet everytime time it says I forgot the 's' when it is clearly there. This bugs me.
So "etwas" is used for uncountable nouns and "wenige" is used for countable?
"The examination doesn't last long." Was marked incorrect. Is it only because it's not a direct translation? I feel it is an accurate spoken translation, isn't it?
Your sentence translates to "Die Untersuchung dauert nicht lange.". That's another sentence that explicitly states what the other only implies.
I got this wrong a few times before I included the word 'only' in the English translation in accordance with the suggested answer, whereupon Duolingo accepted it. There is no 'only' implicit in the German version, though.
Why not "The examination lasts a few minutes" ?
Duo marked it wrong translation...