Aber bilde mir nicht ein

On the Beltline Trail

Added 2012-03-20

On the Beltline Trail, just west of Yonge, on a concrete retaining wall, some unusual German graffiti —

German on the Beltline Trail

The text, in the original German, says —

Ich fühle mich jetzt mächtig angezogen, neue Ausdrucksformen zu kreieren

Aber bilde mir nicht ein was rechts zu wissen

Google made a pretty decent stab at translation —

Now I feel attracted to create powerful new forms of expression

But I do not know what lies at the very right

Google got the powerful part wrong; it modifies the attraction, not the forms of expression. Google also came up with "very" on its own initiative.

As well, the end of the second line didn't sound quite right. My German isn't great, so I called my Mom, whose is. She helped me improve the translation as follows —

I now feel powerfully attracted to create new forms of expression

But I don't pretend to know what is right.

Google missed the self-deception in "bilde mir nicht ein". One might also say "I don't imagine I know..."

My Mom also said a real German-speaking person would not have used "rechts" for right, as the opposite of left. What was probably intended was richtig, as in correct. I'm drawn to create new forms of expression, but I don't pretend to know what's correct.

Graffiti philosophy. Who knew!

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