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ぼくに何かできるのかと言えば、難しいところだ。例えば逃げ出すことを考える。

I know it's wrong, but this was the best I could come up with:

"I can't really say what I can't do. For example running away."

closed as off-topic by Flaw Nov 19 '16 at 15:45

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  • So what is the question? – oldergod Oct 17 '16 at 6:45
  • Sorry it's not really a question... I just don't know what I can't understand in this sentence... – Harooyou Oct 17 '16 at 6:53
  • The question obviously is : Is the OP's translation perfectly correct? Discuss. _________ Or in OP's own words, [Could someone help me translate this sentence?] __________ Answer: Surely, you've come to the right place, OP. – HizHa Oct 17 '16 at 7:02
  • 3
    I can't really say what I can't do. For example running away. I think you're close.. how about putting it like: I can't really say what I can do. For example, running away comes to my mind" -- I don't know if my English makes sense, but does this help a bit? – Chocolate Oct 17 '16 at 7:04
  • @chocolate それって<s>トリビア</s>回答になりませんか? – broccoli forest Oct 17 '16 at 9:43
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ぼくに何かできるのかと言えば、難しいところだ。例えば逃げ出すことを考える。

The first sentence is a roundabout one that is typically heard from an embattled politician, but it roughly just means "I can hardly think of what I can do".

0

This sentence has the nuance of someone saying they can't do something. But Japanese are not direct and won't flat out say "I can't" to be polite as possible - in most cases. This person is basically saying "If you're asking what I can do about this (whatever) it's too much for me. I'll just run away." Basically you're saying "I can't do this." But you'd never hear someone just flat out say it in most contexts. I don't know where you found this sentence, but I'm guessing it's from a novel or an older, more story-driven game.

"If you're asking whether I can do something about it, it's too much trouble for me. (I'm considering running away for example.)"

  • 僕に(me <to>) 「何か出来る(do something) のか(question asking for confirmation)」と(quote) 言えば(conditional <say>) むずかしいところ (difficult position/situation) 例えば(for example) 逃げ出すこと (<noun> running away を考える (consider) – Eggs Benedict Oct 17 '16 at 7:46
  • It seems to me that everything before と is the cited phrase, including ぼくに. – broccoli forest Oct 17 '16 at 8:58
  • Ah, I see. Although むずかしいところだ is a phrase hard to find literal translation in English, I'm very sure this expression is grammatically self-containing that takes no object or argument. – broccoli forest Oct 17 '16 at 9:21
  • “ぼくに何ができるのか?” と言えば、むずかしいところだ。 Yes you are correct, thank you. Sorry I had a little trouble trying to put all those weird symbols in hahah. I still don't know how to use the editing and line breaks on this site – Eggs Benedict Oct 17 '16 at 9:22
  • The 僕に is being quoted. But in a kind of weird sense is modifying the first verb できる, and pushing out into a question. I'm sorry if I can't really explain well in English. I just sort of know but can't tell... This is is just a round about way to say "No" but it's very confusing, – Eggs Benedict Oct 17 '16 at 9:25
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ぼくに To me

何かできるのか (Is there) anything that you can do(?)

と言えば、If you say

難しいところだ。(It is) a difficult thing.

例えば For example,

逃げ出すことを考える。I think about running away

The above is the word for word literal translation. It might not make perfect sense in English. But the following sentence could make more sense.

If you say to me, "Is there anything that you can do?", it is difficult to say, but I think running away is the thing that I could consider.

  • I'm afraid that what ぼくに modifies is できる instead of 言う in the regular way of parsing. – broccoli forest Oct 17 '16 at 8:56
  • @broccoliforest I see. Please feel free to edit the answer. – Rathony Oct 17 '16 at 9:48

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