4

How would I translate sentences like

"One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated."

As far as I can tell, the russian Wikipedia version of this phrase uses the informal you.

But is there a literal translation without rephrasing to a you-form?

1

While the Russian idiom is indeed using you (вы/ты) version, you could literally translate the English version using word человек (person, human):

One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.
Человек не должен поступать с другими так, как он не хочет, чтобы поступали с ним.
(or)
Человек не должен относиться к другим так, как он не хочет, чтобы относились к нему.

Note that pronoun он (he) is only used because Russian word человек is a masculine noun - the statement applies equally to men and women. In fact, it's exactly for this reason that English word one is used, rather than man or woman. As in English, words for человек and мужчина are one and the same - man and hence using it in the sentence above is likely to be interpreted as addressing a male audience rather than human audience.

Finally, it's worth noting that Russian word-for-word literal translation may sound overcomplicated due to double negatives. Instead, you could turn it into a positive version:

Человек должен поступать с другими так, как он хочет, чтобы поступали с ним.
(or)
Человек должен относиться к другим так, как он хочет, чтобы относились к нему.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I think "каждый" may be better option here. – Artemix Aug 29 '14 at 21:05
9
  • you can use generic 2nd person, which is typical for proverbs and morals. Use Singular but without pronoun:

    Не относись к другим так, как не хочешь, чтобы относились к тебе.

  • You can opt for infinitive impersonal sentences:

    Не следует относиться к другим людям так, как не хочешь, чтобы относились к тебе.

Literal treatment would be “Человек не должен относиться к другим так, как не хочет, чтобы люди относились к нему” but it is weird and is not typical for such constructions (sounds non-native, i.e. a person knows Russian but obviously lacks experience with how people do and do not say things).

| improve this answer | |
  • Not sure why you call it generic 2nd person, it's an imperative. – jwalker Aug 27 '14 at 18:39
  • @jwalker "Как переводить "one"?" - not an imperative – alamar Aug 28 '14 at 12:07
  • @alamar It's the other one, the impersonal. What's your point? – jwalker Aug 29 '14 at 0:27
  • @jwalker I merely mean that the meaning is generic. You compile a sentence that sounds as if it were adressing the person you are speaking to but actually means that the statement is true for everyone, i.e. any hypothetical listener. Similar expressions exists without imperative: "С кем поведёшься, от того и наберёшься", "Без труда не вытащишь рыбку из труда", "Его так просто не остановишь". – Shady_arc Aug 29 '14 at 10:29
  • This is a moderately frequent usage of 2nd person which is often overlooked by materials for Russian learners. ^_^ – Shady_arc Aug 29 '14 at 10:32
0

The second "one" can be translated by any suitable pronoun depending on translation of the first. Examples: 1. Не поступай с другими так, как не хочешь, чтобы поступали с ТОБОЙ. 2. Не делай другим то, чего не желаешь СЕБЕ.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.