Arrested Development #23
Context: Lindsay had vowed to stay in the tree until it was saved. But...
Narrator: Lindsay left the tree to sleep in her own bed.
Spanish Translation: Lindsay bajó del árbol para dormir en su cama.
ISSUE #1: BAJAR
This was a little weird at first, but I got used to it quickly. It’s actually no weirder or less literally accurate than what we would say.
The translators here used “bajar” for “left”. “Lindsay left the tree...” -- “Lindsay bajó del árbol...” But when you LEAVE a tree, you have to GET DOWN or GO DOWN from it, right? So in this context, “get down” and “leave” are the same basic idea. That’s why they could use “bajar” here (to go down, lower).
You’ll see and hear “bajar” used like this all the time. Whenever there’s downward movement, “bajar” is the way to go. Down from a tree, an elevator, down stairs, getting of a bus or train (stepping down).
And nowadays, from habit or custom, even if the train’s totally even with the platform (no downward movement when you get off) you still “bajar” from a train. You can always “salir” (to exit, leave) but “bajar” is the more common choice.
Lindsay BAJÓ del árbol...
= Lindsay LEFT the tree...
ISSUE #2: POR VS. PARA
In English, Lindsay left the tree “TO sleep”. But in Spanish, she left the tree “PARA dormir”. The “para” does mean “for” basically, so “para dormir” means “for sleeping”.
But why “para” and not “por”? “Para” is an arrow. And “por” is a “go-between” (it manifests itself in many forms).
“For sleeping” means “for the purpose of sleeping”. A purpose is a goal. It’s a target. And what sticks into a target? ARROWS stick into targets! When “for” is used FOR purpose, it’s an arrow, and translates to “para” in Spanish.
“Sleeping” is the target here (goal, purpose). With “for sleeping” or “to sleep” you can clearly see the purpose behind “for”. It’s like an arrow, moving toward “sleeping”. So “for” is represented by “para” in this example.
Lindsay bajó del árbol PARA dormir...
= Lindsay got down from the tree FOR sleeping...
= Lindsay left the tree TO sleep...
ISSUE #3: VERBS AFTER PREPOSITIONS
I don’t often feel comfortable calling the patterns I see a rule. But to the best of my knowledge, there are literally zero exceptions to this rule:
When a verb follows a preposition, like in this example (para dormir) -- the verb ALWAYS goes in the infinitive form.
This has nothing to do with “para” or “dormir” specifically. It just happens to be a preposition followed by a verb. And when a verb follows a preposition, it has to be in the infinitive form.
“To sleep” is “para dormir”.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
Lindsay bajó del árbol para dormir en su cama
= Lindsay got down from the tree for sleeping in her bed
= Lindsay left the tree to sleep in her own bed