This might be a lot to ask for one post, I apologize if it is.
So I'm translating a sentence. I want to make sure I fully understand the nuance and that I don't make any assumptions. I'm not trying to translate it into "perfect" or "eloquent" English, just to where I can fully grasp the grammar.
Here's the sentence in question:
And what I've translated it to:
When "was it already that cold?"-thinking Shimamura gazed outside, (she saw) railroad residence-looking barracks just bleakly scattered at the base of the mountain(s), and before the snowy hues could fall there, (they were) swallowed in darkness.
First: I'm using a thought as an attribute, is this the wrong way to picture it? There is most likely a verb omitted after the と, likely 思う, and it's obvious by the context that Shimamura is thinking something. In English this would be translated to "Shimamura, thinking X," as putting an attribute in front of a name or a specific animate noun is degrading.
But take the sentence: あのネズミを食べたネコはあそこにいる。
The cat that ate the mouse is over there. The that mouse-eating cat. . .
Now if we alter the sentence: ネズミと思っているネコはあそこにいる。
The cat thinking "mouse" is over there. The "mouse"-thinking cat. . .
From how I see it, the attribute in front is more accurate for literal translation, because its more consistent when the noun becomes plural or inanimate as opposed to how English restructures the sentence (the mice-eating cats, the "mouse"-thinking cats). So I ask:
- Is this accurate in terms of literal translation?
- How is it thought of to native speakers? Is it degrading as it is in English?
- If I'm wrong, how would a thought as an attribute be structured?
Second: For だけ, does this have similar nuance as in English? As in emphasis? Or is it more strict, closer to saying 'at best'?
And Lastly: For the transition into the last clause, the word and feels a little incorrect, and words I might use were I writing a similar sentence in English like but or where add nuance I don't think was intended.
So I'm thinking I should simply imagine the connection as being much more abstract, saying simply "This clause, and the following clause are intertwined," rather than implying a subset of transition words in English; which means this is somewhere translation might get muddied.
Am I wrong to assume this?
That's pretty much all the things I'm unsure about off the top of my head. If there's anything else I might be wrong on please bring it up.
I'd also love to hear any perspectives. I'd appreciate any response, thanks!
Edit: Made the first question a bit more clear and added detail to better explain what I'm asking.