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I have this sentence from JLPT book which I don't understand: いくら仕事だといっても、体をこわしてまですることないんじゃありませんか?

I get that the sentence is about destroying your health/body when you work too much and when this point is reached (at how much work?) but I don't manage to come up with an acceptable translation.

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could you provide more context? Is there a preceding or following sentence? I can't be sure which verb the いっても is...(言う?) –  yadokari Jan 29 '13 at 5:26
@yadokari いって is 言って. –  Earthliŋ Jan 29 '13 at 6:47
@user1205935, thanks I get the first part then but I can't get through the double negatives at the end accurately. –  yadokari Jan 29 '13 at 6:58
頑張ってください =) I have to catch a plane! –  Earthliŋ Jan 29 '13 at 7:00
It is an example sentence from one of the JLPT preparation books - there is no more context thats is why I am struggling with an acceptable translation. –  toobee Jan 29 '13 at 9:38
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2 Answers

Aすることはない means “do (should) not have to do A.” Here ことはない can be replaced with 必要はない without changing the meaning by much. (Compared to 必要はない, ことはない has an implication that the absence of necessity is a general fact. See the question “Difference and nuance between することはない and する必要はない/する可能性はない” by phirru for more on the difference between ことはない and 必要はない.) は can be omitted in the colloquial context.

1時間も歩くことはないよ。タクシーを使うべきだよ。 We should not have to walk for an hour. We should use a taxi.

BしてまでAすること(は)ない means “do not have to do A to the extent of doing B.”

体を壊してまで仕事をすることはない。 You do not have to work to the extent that you become sick.

(The subject is unspecified in the Japanese sentence, and it depends on the context, but we cannot translate the sentence into English without specifying a subject. You should note that the choice of “you” here is not necessarily correct.)

In your sentence, する in することない means 仕事をする, where 仕事を is omitted because it is clear from the first half of the sentence.

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Building off of Tsuyoshi Ito's answer, here is my attempt at a translation:


No matter how much you say it's your job, don't you think that you shouldn't have to work yourself to the point of exhaustion?

No matter how much you say it's your job, don't you think that you shouldn't have to work yourself to the bone?

Here is a breakdown of the sentence as I understand it, as well as another loose translation:

いくら * 仕事だ * といっても、* 体をこわしてまで * することないん * じゃありませんか?

how many * it's work/your job * you say, * to the point of damaging your health * shouldn't do * isn't it?

Sure it's your job, but do you really think you have to work so hard that you damage your health?

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Translation is delicate, and it is difficult to get everything right and smooth. I noticed two problems with your translations (in the points that are different from what is being asked in the question). 1. Although the literal meaning of “いくら…だといっても” might be “no matter how much one says …” as you wrote, I do not think that it captures the intent well when you use it as a translation. I would translate it as “it is true that …, but.” 2. 体を壊す means “damage/lose one’s health.” –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 31 '13 at 4:25
@TsuyoshiIto Ito, thank you. I gave it another try. –  yadokari Jan 31 '13 at 17:53
The last one looks good, although the translation of ないんじゃありませんか is loose (as you noted). –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 31 '13 at 18:08
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