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Would you leave 'you' out of translating this sentence in a casual conversation with acquaintance by email?

Money's worth what you make it worth.

So would お金は価値を持ってそれを作るものをの価値がある be correct and still make sense? Or would you have to put in some form of you, like そなた?

お金は価値を持ってそなたそれを作るものをの価値がある。

Or

お金は価値を持ってあなたそれを作るものをの価値がある。

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    そなた is somewhat comparable to 'thou'. Where did you get the idea it was an ordinary way to say 'you'?
    – Angelos
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 3:26
  • Regardless of casualness, it depends on whether you intend to say it as a personal advice or a generic remark. Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 3:28
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    I have to say neither translations are grammatical
    – nodakai
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 3:30
  • a generic remark
    – Eriek
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 3:43

1 Answer 1

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This type of "you" is called generic you. As you have guessed, how to express generic you depends on the language. In Japanese, it's often best not to specify a subject at all. 人 is a word that can be used to explicitly refer to generic you. あなた/そなた almost never appears in traditional Japanese sayings, but it may be understood in a translated material.

  • 欲しいものが常に手に入るわけではない。
    You can't always get what you want.
  • 何が起こるか分からない。
    You never know what will happen.
  • 人はパンだけで生きるのではない。
    Man shall not live by bread alone.

Your translation attempt has a number of grammatical errors. Most importantly, "to make it worth" cannot be expressed with 作る which only means "to create/establish/make". You have to use a causative form instead. A literal translation would be something like お金には人が価値を持たせる分だけの価値がある, but this still sounds fairly unnatural in Japanese. I recommend rephrasing it like お金の価値は使い方で決まる, 使う人によってお金の価値は変わる, うまく使えば使うほどお金の価値は上がる, etc.

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