How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Do you have a translation question?
sampaguita
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How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by sampaguita » Mon 04.13.2009 10:04 pm

I know that

なんのために生きるのか?

means "what do you live for?"

But how do you say

"I live for nothing"?

Thanks!

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by Hyperworm » Mon 04.13.2009 11:47 pm

I'd say
何のためにも生きていない。
Or perhaps
何かのために生きてるんじゃない。
?

It's a bit of a vague sentence originally, though. For instance, is the speaker supposed to sound depressed that he has no reason to live, or is he celebrating the fact that he doesn't have to waste his life for someone/something else, or is he being philosophical and saying "I don't have a reason or purpose to live; I just live", or...?

Translating phrases which sound cool but have fuzzy/ill-defined/no meaning is a bit tricky >_>
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sampaguita
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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by sampaguita » Tue 04.14.2009 5:23 am

Let's just say that the speaker has no specific feelings for this -- he merely states the fact that he lives for nothing in particular. How would that be translated then? Thanks!

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by spin13 » Tue 04.14.2009 7:17 am

sampaguita wrote:Let's just say that the speaker has no specific feelings for this -- he merely states the fact that he lives for nothing in particular. How would that be translated then? Thanks!

Ve believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by kurisuto » Tue 04.14.2009 8:00 am

Maybe 生きがいがない (ikigai ga nai) : "ikigai" means by itself "goal in life" or "something one lives for".

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by AJBryant » Tue 04.14.2009 9:33 am

sampaguita wrote:Let's just say that the speaker has no specific feelings for this -- he merely states the fact that he lives for nothing in particular. How would that be translated then? Thanks!



And, again... what does it MEAN??

I want to know his INTENT. What is he *SAYING*?

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by richvh » Tue 04.14.2009 9:45 am

In other words, what's the context?
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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by two_heads_talking » Tue 04.14.2009 12:26 pm

AJBryant wrote:
sampaguita wrote:Let's just say that the speaker has no specific feelings for this -- he merely states the fact that he lives for nothing in particular. How would that be translated then? Thanks!



And, again... what does it MEAN??

I want to know his INTENT. What is he *SAYING*?


I think this is kinda like when .... I have a friend who has a problem.....

The intent is the OP's but they are trying to be vague so no one thinks they are pathetic or something.

To the OP, if you aren't sure what context is, try asking and answering these questions..

who? what? where? when? why? and how?

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by Sairana » Tue 04.14.2009 11:39 pm

For comparison, I asked one of my friends, completely randomly, what it means when someone says, "I live for nothing."

Her answer was, "I don't know, why'd they say it?"

Even in English, the answer requires context.

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by sampaguita » Thu 04.16.2009 12:11 am

I'm thinking of it as an answer to the question "What do you live for?"

A: What do you live for?
B: I live for nothing.

Something like that. :D

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by furrykef » Thu 04.16.2009 12:32 am

But "I live for nothing" is supposed to mean something, and it isn't obvious to us what that means, so how you translate it depends on what is meant by it. Taking your conversation, let's suppose it went like this:

A: What do you live for?
B: I live for nothing.
A: Really? What do you mean by that?

We need to know B's response to that before we can continue. You seem to be assuming that there's some magical, neutral, one-size-fits-all meaning of the phrase that can be translated, but I think there really isn't one.

You see, when you translate into another language, to do the job properly, you can't just translate words and phrases. You must translate what they mean, not the words they used. Sometimes you can do it using similar phrasing, but, well, sometimes you can't.

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by sampaguita » Thu 04.16.2009 10:44 pm

Hmmm...yeah I get the point. This is a rather sensitive subject, so I guess that's where the confusion comes about.

My basic question is, how do use "tame ni" when there is no reason to start with? I'm used to sentences like

母のためにいっしょうけんめいはたらく。
木村さんのためのペンを買いました。

But what if there is no purpose at all? Do you use

なんのためにもはたらかない。
べつのためにはたらかない。
このペンはだれのためにも買わなかった。

Is there anything wrong with these sentences? Thanks!

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Thu 04.16.2009 11:12 pm

sampaguita wrote:Hmmm...yeah I get the point. This is a rather sensitive subject, so I guess that's where the confusion comes about.


No, it has nothing to do with the subject being sensitive. I'm still not entirely sure what "I live for nothing" means in English, so I have no chance of being able to express it in Japanese.

My basic question is, how do use "tame ni" when there is no reason to start with?


You don't. "tame ni" expresses a purpose or reason, so you don't use it when there's no purpose or reason. 理由はない can mean "I have no reason".
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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by sampaguita » Tue 04.21.2009 7:08 pm

That's the answer I'm looking for!Thanks!

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Re: How do you translate "I live for nothing"?

Post by AJBryant » Tue 04.21.2009 10:28 pm

Ummm....

That's *not* "I live for nothing."
:?

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