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Two characters are having the following conversation:

A:「あなたにも殺し屋になってもらうの。ツヴァイ」

“You too will become a assassin. Zwei.”

B:「馬鹿言うなよ……。なんで僕が、そんなことやらなきゃならないんだよ⁉」

“Don’t say something so ridiculous……. Why me, why do I have to do that sort of thing!?”

(TL note: reason why I went with 'have to do' instead of 'must' for やらなきゃなら is because 'have to do' in my mind gives a better sense of being forced to preform or do something than 'why must I do...').

A:「生きるためよ

I know that the final bit in Japanese is a relative-clause structure, with the verb 生きる (example def: to live/to function) modifying the noun ため (example definitions: good/benefit/result/etc). So far, the translations I've come up with that are closest to the Japanese are the following two:

a) You’ll get to live.

(I'm doubtful of the above translation's representation of the relative clause in the original)

b) Because you will live.

(I'm also doubtful of my second translation as it uses the word 'because'; although it seems to be more faithful to the relative clause structure in the original)

What I'm stumped on is how to represent the relative-clause structure without using the word 'because' in English; because as far as I'm aware, there is no 'because' (other than a possible omitted one?) in the original Japanese. Which translation is more accurate in comparison to the original, and what would be a better possible translation that achieves both (1) and (2) of the TDLR below?

TDLR: Context: Character A says something to which Character B asks a 'Why' question, Character A answers without a 'because' clause. Translator (me) is stumped on how to show Character A's answer in English while (1) remaining faithful to the Japanese relative-clause sentence structure, and (2) not use the word 'because'.

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    I suggest you have another look at ため in the dictionary. It has other common meanings that you are missing: "in order to", "for the purpose of", "because" etc. – user3856370 Oct 6 at 22:31
  • @user3856370 Yeah, I know ため can also mean those meanings but decided not to show them in order to not clog up the translation definitions. Isn't the ため definitions you're suggesting for the conjunction ために though; as seen here: jisho.org/search/ために? I know that sometimes the に can be dropped; but seeing as how its a relative clause, I don't really know if the conjunction definitions for ために would be applicable here... Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. – Toyu_Frey Oct 7 at 1:07
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Chocolate Oct 8 at 4:48
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This ため in 生きるため is a purpose marker, not a reason marker. The closest English noun is "sake" as in "for safety's sake", but you can choose to use other expressions that can express a purpose.

  • 英語を勉強するため(に)学校に行く
    to go to school in order to study English

  • 安全のため(に)ヘルメットを被る
    to wear an helmet for safety's sake

Therefore this 生きるためよ is translated as "(It's) for (the sake of) your life" or "In order to live". As you can probably see, this adverbial phrase perfectly works as an answer to the question even without explicitly saying なぜなら ("because") or something.

  • How can you tell its a 'marker', and then tell what kind of specific marker it is? Is 'marker' a reference to 'topic marker', same word, similar usage, slightly different meaning/purpose in definition? – Toyu_Frey Oct 8 at 16:41
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    @Toyu_Frey “Marker” doesn’t have a strict definition, but I think you can call anything which has the primary purpose of attaching to something else and as a result affecting how it relates to other things in the sentence a “marker”. – Darius Jahandarie Oct 8 at 17:01
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Maybe "In order to live/To remain alive/To keep living"? I'm not sure "because" would necessary be a bad choice, though, if it fits the original meaning and context.

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