Better Call Saul #14
Context: Chuck just told Jimmy that if Jimmy’s found guilty, he’ll be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Jimmy: That is insane.
Spanish Translation: Eso es una locura.
Our Issue: Ser Vs. Estar, Present Tense
THE LOGIC OF SER & ESTAR:
“Ser” refers to stuff that’s part of somebody or something’s IDENTITY or ESSENCE.
“Estar” refers to stuff that’s part of somebody or something’s STATE OF BEING.
Jimmy said “That IS insane” in English. In Spanish, they chose “ser” -- not “estar”. Why did they do that?
I think it’s a good idea to use the Get Literal Method here. Because you can’t say “that” when referring to something unless everybody already knows what you’re talking about.
In this scene, we know Chuck just told Jimmy that he’d be labeled a sex offender if found guilty. So “that” refers to that =)
that IS insane
= the situation IS insane
Jimmy is obviously talking about the situation when he says “is”. The situation IS insane.
So just like it would for a person, the “is” here is saying the IDENTITY or ESSENCE of this current situation is insane. That’s why they used “ser” in the Spanish translation.
The situation IS insane (what the situation is)
= La situación ES una locura
Contrast this with a recent Dosis Diaria that also talked about a “situation” but used “estar”.
I AM in a situation (what the person is)
= ESTOY en una situación
That’s different though. Because Jimmy’s talking about himself and his relationship with that situation (a different situation). He has a problem. He’s temporarily in a situation. That’s his state of being.
But in this example today, Jimmy’s not talking about himself and his relationship to the situation--he’s talking about the actual situation--its identity and essence.
THE WHOLE THING:
Eso es una locura.
= That is a crazy thing.
= That is insane.
Any questions? About this issue or any others? Ask away!