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The phrase “this much” is explained here: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/272326/what-does-i-know-this-much-is-true-mean

The Russian translation of this book title is: "Я знаю что это правда". The meaning of "this much" was lost in translation — as if the title was "I know this is true".

What would the Russian equivalent of "this much" be in this context?

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  • I'm not Russian, so I'm reluctant to provide this as a formal answer, but it seems to me that this could more accurately be rendered with the particle хоть somewhere in the sentence. The meaning is that the speaker has some information, maybe not all of it, but they're sure that what they do know is true. Great question! I'm curious to see what the natives come up with.
    – CocoPop
    Feb 11 at 16:42
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    Perhaps "Я знаю что хотя бы это правда" . "хотя бы это" means that at least this part of the story is true and I know that. Feb 11 at 16:51
  • That's exactly what it means 👍🏻
    – CocoPop
    Feb 11 at 18:15
  • I believe the writer gives an account of their life, including a lot of twists, secrets and deception, so it's hard for them to know what true and what isn't. But they're claiming in the title, that was they wrote, to the best of their knowledge, is in fact true.
    – CocoPop
    Feb 11 at 18:22

2 Answers 2

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First of all, two compulsory notes:

  1. Show titles (as well as movie titles, book titles, character nicknames etc.) are a marketing device. The correctness of their translation is not the first goal, and not even the tenth. The primary goal is to make the viewer tune in (buy a ticket, put the book in their shopping cart, etc.).

  2. Even in the original language, show titles are brief sentences that, at least on the poster, lack any context. Phrases like "Enemy mine", "Up the down staircase", "American beauty" don't make a lot of sense until you've watched the movie or read the book. Other titles don't make a lot of sense even after that.

That said, in some contexts, "I know this much is true" can be translated as:

  1. Что правда, то правда

    "I didn't do it! I couldn't even walk!" "I know this much is true. He had broken his leg and was wearing a plaster cast". // — Это не я! Я и ходить-то не мог! — Что правда, то правда. Он сломал ногу и был в гипсе.

  2. Знаю одно

    "I know this much is true: whatever she does, she does it for the money" // Я знаю одно: что бы она ни делала, всё ради денег.

I haven't watched the show or read the book and can't tell if these translations would make a catchy title, or if they would make sense in the context of their plots.

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What would the Russian equivalent of "this much" be in this context?

I'd like to suggest some possible translations of this idiom, that refer to common speech patterns:

  • Это я знаю наверняка - literally "This I know for sure"; derived directly from "Я знаю наверняка", which Reverso suggests for "I know this much is true". If you omit the pronoun "это" ("this"), you make it sound more pleasant: "Знаю я наверняка". Other versions of this off the top of my head are "Известно мне наверняка" and "То, что я знаю наверняка".

  • Одно лишь знаю точно - literally "I know only one thing for sure", but very idiomatic.

  • Знаю лишь то, что это правда - literally "All [I] know is that it's true".

  • Могу сказать, что это правда - literally "[I] can say this is true"; refers to "могу сказать [лишь одно]".

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    I think "Это я знаю наверняка" and "То, что я знаю наверняка" are the best, however all other examples are equally good. Feb 12 at 12:28
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    I would vote for "Одно я знаю точно". Feb 12 at 12:47
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    As a native English speaker, I agree with Sergey.
    – CocoPop
    Feb 12 at 15:28
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    +1, одно я знаю точно has a nice ring to it
    – Quassnoi
    Feb 13 at 0:02
  • I think "То, что я знаю наверняка" is the best. "То" doesn't restrict to "Одно" (one part of the story) and "Это" again, has some restrictive feel to it, just like "Одно", while "То" is more inclusive, yet doesn't mean the "entire". Feb 16 at 0:04

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