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In English, for example, if you say

"How can it possibly take this long [to release a game]?!"

you are expressing anger and impatience.

In Japanese, can you express that same anger and impatience by saying

どうやって[ゲームをリリースする]ようにこんなんに長い時間がかかる可能性がありえるのか?!

Or is there a different way to say express these kinds of thoughts?

2 Answers 2

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どうやって[ゲームをリリースする]ようにこんなんに長い時間がかかる可能性がありえるのか?!

This suggestion has several mistakes.

  • Change ように to のに.
  • Change こんなんに to こんなに.
  • どうやって means "how" in the sense of "by what means" or "by doing what". どうやって空港に行くの is okay because 空港に行く is an intentional action, but どうやって可能性があるの is strange because 可能性がある is not an action. You may use どうして instead, but you can drop an interrogative in this case.
  • 可能性がありえる ("there is possibly a possibility") seems redundant. Use either 可能性がある or ことがある. The latter would be preferred in everyday conversation.

After fixing these, one natural (but a bit stiff) translation would be:

(どうして)ゲームをリリースするのにこんなに長い時間がかかる可能性があるのか!?

(Why) Is it possible that it takes this long to release a game!?

In casual conversation, this would become:

ゲームをリリースするのにこんな長い時間かかることある?

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I would argue that “How can it possibly take this long” in English is actually idiomatic. People that say that are seldom asking for a concrete answer that explains it, they are noting their dissatisfaction, as such I'd say a translation such as

ゲームをリリースするのにこんなに長い間がかかる理由は本当にわからない。

Which is also idiomatic would fit better. It denotes the frustration of the speaker with how long it takes.

However, to literally seek an answer as to how it can possibly take this long, I would suggest a simple:

ゲームをリリースするのにこんなに長い間がかかる理由は何?

But I believe the reason this sentence does not actually translate the “possibly” is that in English the possibly itself unambiguously implies the frustration and nothing more. It makes no sense to include “possibly” when actually wanting to know something, I would argue that any open inquiry in English that uses “possibly” is not actually asking in earnestly but simply expressing frustration, and that's why I don't think there's a good way to include that part in a translation that's actually asking. As such, my translation is more so a translation of a simple “Why does it take this long to release a video game?”

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  • 2
    間がかかる doesn't seem a natural collocation.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 5, 2023 at 2:17

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