1

While stumbling over my serval-month-old translation notes out of boredom, I found that I had made note of のこと to mean 'with regards to (noun)" for the following Japanese sentence.

それでも彼には、自分のことだけはわからない。

I think I understood that this instance of こと was being used to create a noun phrase indicating something that the speaker does not feel close to, and was attempting to show this 'distance' with "with regards to himself".

1) In light of this, is my understanding of こと accurate; or am I misunderstanding its usage in the above sentence?

2) And in the case my understanding is accurate, do the following two translations accurately showcase this 'こと-distancing' of the speaker and subject?

"Even so for him, with what regards to himself he doesn’t comprehend in the slightest."

"Even so for him, when regarding himself he doesn’t comprehend in the slightest."

Edit: Still for him, he is unaware of himself in the slightest.

4

I think you are overthinking. First of all, you said you know ~のこと is a noun phrase, but why are you trying to translate the noun using "with regards to ~", which is an adverbial phrase? 自分のこと in this sentence is simply "things about himself", or "things regarding himself" if you want to use the word regard. I'm not sure why 'distance' is related, either. Please see: What is the こと in sentences such as あなたのことが好きだ?

  • When I wrote distance, I was referencing the distance between the speaker and the subject in the definition "indicating something that the speaker does not feel close to" I.E. the amount of closeness or 'distance' between the speaker and the subject. I could have worded that better in my question. To be honest, I have no clue as to why I translated it that way all those months ago, my memory says that it was something I found on a comment on this site, but I've been unable to relocate said comment. Maybe I dreamt the comment up and mistook it as real? – Toyu_Frey May 4 at 8:06
  • I think I meant 'with regards to (noun)" in the above case, which in turn would be "with regards to (himself/him), and therefore would be a noun phrase in English, where himself/him is the noun. I understand now that this is the wrong way to go about understanding a translation of のこと in the above context. – Toyu_Frey May 6 at 2:05
  • I suppose I was trying to make the dialogue sound high-browed in my translation of "Even so for him, in regards to himself he doesn't comprehend in the slightest." According to you, a more accurate translation at the loss of the high-brow tone, would be the following? "Even so for him, he doesn't comprehend things regarding himself in the slightest." – Toyu_Frey May 6 at 2:06
  • @Toyu_Frey You're still adding many words that are not mentioned in the original. Please read this question to see what this に is doing. Something like "Still, he is unaware only about himself." should be enough. – naruto May 6 at 10:31
  • I think I'm translating the entire sentence wrong then, as I read だけは as the expression "at the least" aka, 'in the slightest' in the above, not realizing it can also be used as 'only'. – Toyu_Frey May 6 at 23:16

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