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このアニメは、戦争の中で育った女の子が、誰かの代わりに手紙を書く仕事をして、愛や人の気持ちを知る話です。
This anime is a story about a girl who grew up during the war who works on writing letters 誰かの代わりに and experiences love and people's feelings.

I'm struggling to understand 誰かの代わりに in this sentence. A literal reading would be "instead of someone" but that makes no sense. I assume it means that she writes letters for other people, but I can't understand how it can mean that.

Also, the end of my translation -- and experiences love and people's feelings -- feels off. I'm not sure how to translate 知る here.

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    For more info on this, this appears to be from a NHK News Easy article, and the original NHK article uses 手紙を代筆する仕事 rather than 誰かの代わりに手紙を書く仕事. www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20190731/k10012015821000.html – Leebo Aug 3 at 10:43
  • I'm intrigued that you should think "誰かの代わりに" makes no sense,especially given that you correctly inferred that it means "for other people". Exactly what about it do you find puzzling? That the "誰か" translates to "(unspecific) other people" instead of "(unspecific) someone" or "a certain someone"? That the "代わりに" translates to "for" rather than "instead of"? How does the actual meaning of the phrase differ from what you would have thought it would mean based on what you knew about the constituent words? – goldbrick Aug 3 at 11:31
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    @goldbrick I think there are two reasons. Firstly, the lack of "else" confused me. I didn't know that 誰か could mean "someone else" as well as just "someone". Secondly, "Instead of someone else" sounds to me like there is one specific person rather than many undefined people. If you said to me "I'm writing letters instead of someone else", my first thought would probably be "Who is this other person". Final thought, maybe I forgot that 誰か could also be plural, so I guess "instead of everyone else" would make more sense. – user3856370 Aug 3 at 11:41
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誰かの代わりに手紙を書く仕事をして、

Would "write letters on behalf of someone (or, her clients)" make sense?

愛や人の気持ちを知る話です。

Would "learn" make sense? Like... "learns (what) love (is)" "learns people/human's emotions (such as love, sorrow, happiness etc.)" (implying 戦争の中で育った女の子 had not known 愛や人の気持ち before she started this 仕事)

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    「戦争の中で育った女の子が、誰かの代わりに手紙を書く仕事をすることによって / を通して 、愛や人の気持ちを知る話です。」って感じの意味だと思います。 – Chocolate Aug 3 at 11:24

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