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My question is not a duplicate of the existing question about translating "to be going to" to Russian, because the solutions suggested there (собираться, хотеть, etc.) do not seem to work in my case.


My question is this: How is the precise idea of the below sentence (1) elegantly expressed in Russian?

(1) This game is going to perish.

The rest of my post explains the context of this sentence, my motivation to ask this question, and my hopeless attempts to find a precise but elegant Russian translation. You can skip that and just suggest your translation variant, but reading my post in full may result in a translation variant better tailored to my needs.


Let me first explain the context. I am writing a short essay in Russian about one of our national strategy board games. The game is called 連珠, and its nature is somewhere between Go and chess. The main point of my essay is that the rules of that game are getting more and more complicated to address "loopholes" and have already become a highly sophisticated system of "patches." This makes novices strongly discouraged, because a lot of knowledge and understanding is required even to get started. With virtually no novices joining the game, almost all players who play in official tournaments in Japan are very experienced players who joined the game long ago, when the rules were much simpler and more natural and when there were much less alternative entertainment opportunities such as online poker. Sooner or later these players will drop out of the game for ageing and other reasons. If nothing changes before that, the game will collapse at that point.

The variant "игра умрет" is not what I looking for, because the idea of Sentence (1) is different from "this game will perish." The latter phrase is a just a prediction of the end result. What I want to say is something different: if things continue developing as they are developing, the game will cease to exist in the end. In other words, I am talking about a process(!) occurring now, namely the process of over-complicating the rules. The game is moving in the direction towards death, as a plane that entered into a tailspin is approaching the ground, and the process is very unlikely to change, although I cannot exclude that a creative solution will be found to salvage the game. In English, Sentence (1) elegantly expresses the idea.

Of course, I can easily compose a long sentence in Russian to express what I want to express, but I am curious to learn how I can express the idea elegantly or idiomatically, similar to the English sentence (1) in terms of conciseness and preciseness. If I can find an elegant variant, I can use it as the title of my essay.

I know that "to be going to" is often translated to Russian as "собираться", as pointed out in answers to the existing question about "to be going to," but it seems to be wrong or at least very weird to say "игра собирается умереть," because "собираться" is used to describe an intent or purpose.

I also dismissed the variant "игра умирает," because there is a difference between "the game is dying" and "the game is going to die." The difference is the same as between "he is dying" and "he is going to die." The expression "he is dying" implies that the person is in the very process of dying, e.g., with bleeding wounds and in agony, whilst a person who is going to die may be quite healthy and just doing something that will kill him in the distant future. For example, when the German soldiers invaded Russia in June 1941, they were going to die, but were not dying. What I want to say is that the game IS GOING to perish, not that it is perishing or dying. It is a long way to the death of the game, and the number of active players is currently almost not changing, as the drop-out rate is currently almost zero.

I also dislike the option "игру ждет смерть," because this variant does not refer to the current process and thus seems to be merely an artistic way of saying "the game will die."

Being at a total loss as to how translate Sentence (1), I humbly hope that wise native Russian speakers can kindly help such a poor student as I am by telling me what grammatical or lexical solution is there in the Russian language for such situations.


UPDATE: Попробую сказать по-русски, что именно я хочу от вас. Я хочу фразу со значением "если так пойдёт и дальше, то рано или поздно игра умрёт," но коротко, как Предложение (1), и к тому же без утери точного значения. Я хочу ёмкость и точность для заголовка сочинения. Я не хочу выразить, что игра точно умрёт. Я хочу выразить, что игра к этому "идёт". Чтобы избежать смерти игры, людям надо вовремя увидеть проблему и найти решение её. Но не очень вероятно, что они это сделают. Прошу прощения за вероятные ошибки в вашем прекрасном языке, но я очень сильно старалась обойтись без них.

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    In Russian this idea in this context would most naturally be expressed by "(эта) игра обречена". Slightly more informal and modern: "у (этой) игры нет шансов". Both imply that the listener already knows why the game is doomed, otherwise you have no chances avoiding a lengthy explanation - just like you did in your question. – tum_ Jul 5 '19 at 6:41
  • "игра умрёт" sounds very unnatural in Russian – shabunc Jul 5 '19 at 8:06
  • @tum_ : I dislike the variant "игра обречена," because it is like "the game is doomed / bound to perish." There is a difference between "the game is going to perish" and "the game is bound to perish." The latter variant sound like, "The game will perish no matter what the organizers do." The former variant sounds like, "The game will perish if things continue developing like they are developing, so a fundamental change of the course is needed!" It is this idea that I want to express – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 9:37
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    @Mitsuko "the snowball" analogy is just that - "рэндзю катится в пропасть" or even "катится ко всем чертям" :) if you want to be extra expressive.. Also, катиться можно в тартарары, к катастрофе и т.д. If it's a title of an essay it is currently notoriously popular (read - clichéd) among Russian journalists to use a highly expressive phrase ending with a question mark. Something like: "Рэндзю при смерти?", "Последние дни Рэндзю(?)" and similar bullshit. Not recommended )) – tum_ Jul 5 '19 at 14:14
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    Ok, I'll copy the comment into an answer ) – tum_ Jul 5 '19 at 14:29

15 Answers 15

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Inspired by your "snowball" analogy - "рэндзю катится в пропасть" or even "катится ко всем чертям" if you want to be extra expressive..

Also, катиться можно в тартарары, к катастрофе и т.д.

If it's a title of an essay it is currently notoriously popular (read - clichéd) among Russian journalists to use a highly expressive phrase ending with a question mark. Something like: "Рэндзю при смерти?", "Последние дни Рэндзю(?)" and similar bullshit. Not recommended.

PS: Myself I'd rather choose "Как нам реорганизовать Рэндзю?", which actually fits the topic quite well as far as I can judge (see the origin, though Google shows that this allusion trick has already been used too. ))

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  • Best answer so far :) – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 15:16
  • @Mitsuko Remember I mentioned one of the golden rules of a translator? You're expecting people to offer a good title without even seeing the essay - very cruel :) Here's another allusion-based for you: "Рэндзю - что делать и кто виноват?" )) – tum_ Jul 5 '19 at 15:43
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Here are possible versions varying in strength of expression:

Эта игра может прекратить своё существование.

Под угрозой само существование этой игры.

Эта игра - на пути к полному исчезновению.

Эта игра обречена на полное забвение.

Эта игра может навсегда исчезнуть.

Со временем этой игры не станет.

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  • Thanks, but it does not seem to be what I am looking for. You make no reference to the current process, to "going." I want to stress that there is an ongoing process (the process of over-complicating the rules). – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 9:13
  • Perhaps the closest of your variants is "Эта игра обречена на полное забвение." ("This game is doomed / bound to perish.") But still there is a difference between "the game is going to perish" and "the game is bound to perish." The latter variant sound like, "The game will perish no matter what the organizers do." The former variant sounds like, "The game will perish if things continue developing like they are developing, so a fundamental change of the course is needed!" It is this idea that I want to express. – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 9:13
  • A correct translation of Sentence (1) must imply that there is an ongoing process (the process of over-complicating the game rules and, as a result, a gradual increase of the average age of active players) that gradually brings the game closer and closer to the abyss. There is a need to reverse the process! There is a need for people to realize where the game is going to! There is a need to change things! – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 9:43
  • You can add a note in the beginning of a sentence, for example: При таком ходе событий... Дело/всё идёт к тому, что... Всё складывается так, что... Literal translation (like Игра движется к своему закату) wouldn't sound perfectly Russian. – Alex_ander Jul 5 '19 at 11:41
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    @Mitsuko: You place great emphasis on the “ongoing process” aspect. However, I would disagree with your starting assumption that “This game is going to perish” really carries such a connotation of “ongoing progress” in English. To my ear (as a native British English speaker), “…is going to…” is just a plain future tense, without any particular connotation of an ongoing present process; it’s pretty much synonymous with “This game will perish.” To emphasise the “currently ongoing process” aspect, I’d suggest something more like “This game is set to perish” or “…is on the way to perishing”. – PLL Jul 6 '19 at 17:18
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"Пошел обратный отсчет до практически неизбежной гибели этой игровой дисциплины" seems to be a pretty good way for expressing of your idea. "Пошел обратный отсчет" implies that there is a a process of awaiting of a disaster, however it doesn't directly say that this disaster is gradually developing. This phrase compares the disaster with a time bomb that is going to detonate, thus it has such a meaning. "Практически неизбежной" reflects that we are more than sure that it is likely to happen, however it also leaves a small chance for some "divine intervention". "Гибель" is just a synonym for "смерть" that better fits the context.

https://ru.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%B3%D0%B8%D0%B1%D0%BD%D1%83%D1%82%D1%8C

"Игровая дисциплина" emphasizes the competitive nature of this game.

EDIT: Another option that might be a better fit is "Игра медленно, но неумолимо приближается к своему закату". Dawn symbolizes the death of the game and "приближается" literally translates as "is going to" or "approaches". "Медленно, но неумолимо" expresses the inevitably of the result of the process and the slowness of the process itself. It's worth noting that even though this phrase subtly compares the life cycle of the game with the cycle of yawn and dawn, it has a really weak connection to the idea of 24 hours and is commonly used for processes which take many years.

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You can try the following option:

Если ничего не изменится, то игра рано или поздно прекратит свое существование.

This translates to

If nothing changes, the game will cease to exist at some point in the future.

It's probably what you want, according to your description.

Update: If you need a title, try this:

Игра, уходящая в историю

Which translates to:

The game which is becoming to be thing of the past.

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  • Thanks, but now compare the length of your variant and the length of Sentence (1) :) Your variant is not suitable for the title. – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 9:40
  • @Mitsuko Sorry. Of course, it's too long for a title. I didn't notice it in the question, but it's really difficult to do so. Updating the answer, offering one more option. – trolley813 Jul 5 '19 at 9:46
  • Oh, the variant you added in your update actually seems to better fit. "Игра уходит в историю." But I still feel that it is not exactly what I want. This variant is like "the game is perishing," whilst I want "the game IS GOING to perish." In my post, please read the paragraph about why I dislike the variant "игра умирает." – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 10:17
  • "Игра уходит в историю" seems to imply that the game will ultimately perish pretty soon. This would fit if the official federation of the game reached bankruptcy and were being dissolved. I want a phrase with a very different connotation: It is still a very long way to the abyss, and it may take decades for the game to perish. I want to say that the current direction of development is wrong, if we think globally in terms of long-term prospects. I am not saying that your variant is utterly incorrect, but it does not seem to hit the bull's eye. Let's see what other variants will be suggested – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 10:18
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As I can see, the following sentence is the key sentence in the problem's description:

If nothing changes before that, the game will collapse at that point.

The idea of a condition "If nothing changes" is usually expressed in two ways:

Если так будет продолжаться дальше, ...

or

Если ничего не изменится, ...

As for the possible result, I can add some other ideas:

..., эту игру ждет печальный конец.

..., игра уйдет в прошлое (or в историю)

..., игра канет в Лету

"Лета" (Lethe, "oblivion") is a river in the underworld in ancient Greek mythology. Dead people drunk water from the river and forgot their past.

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  • Yes, you expressed my idea very precisely, but I want a short elegant phrase like Sentence (1). Isn't there any elegant way of expressing this in Russian? What I want is "если так пойдёт и дальше, то рано или поздно игра умрёт," but shorter, like Sentence (1), and without alteration of the precise meaning..I want something short and catchy, suitable for the title. – Mitsuko Jul 5 '19 at 11:32
  • I have no idea how to say it shorter... – Dmitriy Jul 5 '19 at 13:44
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Actually, there is no exact translation for this. However, you can try following option: "Вскоре игра умрёт." It is quite similar to what you are looking for.

"Игру ждёт смерть" sounds like a prophecy from a fantasy film.

"Игра собирается умереть" doesn't sound good because of the context it is said in. If it were "I am going to go outside", то "я собираюсь пойти погулять" is a very good option. But the word "собираться" cannot be used anywhere. Actually it means something like "to pack your things to go", you know.

Good luck!

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If you want to sound pompous, it's hard to compete with The Bible:

Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed on them: Do you think that they were more sinful than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Which officially translates to Russian as follows:

Думаете ли вы, что эти Галилеяне были грешнее всех Галилеян, что так пострадали? Нет, говорю вам, но, если не покаетесь, все так же погибнете. Или думаете ли, что те восемнадцать человек, на которых упала башня Силоамская и побила их, виновнее были всех, живущих в Иерусалиме? Нет, говорю вам, но, если не покаетесь, все так же погибнете.

So, going back to your sentence:

"Или думаете ли, что правила шахмат и го сами по себе недостаточно сложные? Нет, говорю вам, но если не покаетесь, эта игра так же погибнет."

(there's a little problem with this, which is that chess and go aren't quite dead, so if you could replace them with some games that have actually perished because of their over-complicated rules...)

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Игра будет забыта.

I think it is the shortest way to say it. And It sounds really Russian. Hope it helps you.

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Такими темпами игра умрет. Игра (стоит) на пути к гибели/забвению. Also, you said you don't like игру ждет смерть, but it's actually closer in meaning to the game is going to die rather than the game will die.

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Taking the context into account (the game is traditional, no novices want to learn it due to it being unfashionable and having convoluted rules) it looks like the closest match for the situation is "endangered language". The host of problems an endangered language faces looks exactly the same - fewer and fewer speak it, it's unfashionable, the rules are too complicated, creating a high barrier for entry.

And for languages like this, we have the following terms:

If you agree with this, then the most succinct and natural translation to Russian would be one of the following two:

  • вымирающая игра

  • исчезающая игра

PS: Quickly did some research after having written the post, and here's a video on YouTube where a guy talks about "games that have already perished or are going to perish soon", note the title of his video. He's presenting for the Russian-speaking community, and used this phrase without blinking an eye, so it seems, indeed, to be the most natural for us: Вымирающие игры

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May be

"это пропащая игра"

would fit? Look at https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%89%D0%B8%D0%B9 punkts 4,5,6

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How about "Игра: Близится ее смерть"? Since you want continuous time this could help

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  • It sounds weird. – Elena Jul 18 '19 at 18:03
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у игры нет будущего
путь в никуда
будущее игры выглядит достаточно мрачно
не удивляйся если в русском языке и правда не окажется нужного выражения, facts don't care как говорится.

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Эта игра обречена

Эта игра может быть закрыта

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"Игра загибается" или "игра скоро загнётся" (figuratively, colloquial (not rude, but not quite literary)). Frequently used in common speech exactly into meaning you named. Or "игра схлопывается" ((idiomatically) in almost any context). Практически то что вы и просили.

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