complete paragraph:

I never thought I'd make use of that (an idea discussed earlier). But, when we designed the first iPhone, i remembered that (idea).

But what if I were to add "は":


That is about placing emphasis? and in that context you don't need emphasis? It would sound weird / confusing? The reader would think "Why is emphasis placed there? Is he/she comparing it to something? It doesn't really matter, I will ignore that は and keep reading.".

In order for "時には to sound natural, the context would be like:


When we designed the Mac (emphasis placed if speaking) I was a college student who knew nothing about the world. But, when we designed the iPhone (emphasis placed if speaking) I was the CEO of a company with more than 5,000 employees.

To do a contrast, place emphasis on those 2 points in time?

With regard to saying 時に、 instead of 時には、, is this explanation correct?

  • Possible duplicate of とは、では、には Understanding of double particles Jun 30 '16 at 15:44
  • @strawberryjam My question is much less open-ended. I'm talking about just one sentence. A pro translator wrote "~時に、" where I wrote "~時には、". I think what I did was add a contrastive は where it is not needed. And, that makes my translation sound unnatural, but has no other impact. Jun 30 '16 at 16:56


  • At the time when we designed the Mac...


  • But when we were designing the first iPhone...


  • But at the time when we were designing the first iPhone...
  • So, " (present-continuous verb tense + いる時に、" comes out basically meaning "while"? Jun 30 '16 at 15:18
  • That sounds right to me. These all sound good, "while we were...~ing", "when we were...~ing", "as we were...~ing"
    – sazarando
    Jun 30 '16 at 21:30

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