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After being interrupted by the character he is talking to, the nameless MC says the following line of dialogue, referencing a situation that the character he is currently speaking with acted in.

「……さっきは何で、 あんなことを?」

"......why do that sort of thing, from a while ago?"

The translation of Japanese to English doesn't sound truly right to my ears, even though it makes perfect sense when considering that the MC has no clue as to what is going on around him.

To break down the sentence so that those who are not learning or understand Japanese can help, the following are the basic semantics of Japanese that are used in the above sentence:

In

「……さっき、 あんなこと?」

is a topic particle, the topic being denoted by whatever is before it; in the above case, that would be "さっき", or "A while ago". in this case, is added to the 何, forming 何で, which generally means "why" or "how". あんな I believe means this when considering the context of the MC not understanding what was occurring during the situation. Therefore, I translated あんな to the English equivalent -or as close to a equivalent I can make, as its impossible to translate perfectly from one language to another- of "sort of" or "such". こと in this case can translate to "thing" or "situation" but I think it specifically means 'situation' in the above case. To make the English seem more natural, and to keep the vagueness of the original, I went with "thing", as "Why do that sort of situation?" is something a native English speaker would never say. The を (wo) at the end is something I myself am still trying to figure out, but this answer has providing some meaning to what its doing, I still don't know what that is in my specific case.

Maybe its because in America (as far as I'm aware) we don't ask questions that are vaguely questioning AND specific without some sort of emotional emphasis; such as, "What the hell was that?!" or "Why in the world would you do that?".

I'm trying to figure out a away to keep what I think is the subtle meaning of 'why did you (and others) do that sort of thing' in my translation, which is why my first translation attempt is vague in terms of the 'who' that is doing the 'thing'.

  • I don't understand the sentence. Why do that sort of thing? is fine. But how does a while ago fit? What are you actually trying to express with the first three words? – Jason Bassford May 6 at 4:59
  • @JasonBassford "A while ago" refers to the time the thing occurred, such as in the following sentences or phrases we use in America: "She left a while ago." or "A while ago, I saw a cool airplane fly over the highway." – Toyu_Frey May 6 at 22:52
  • I know what a while ago means. And I know what Why do that sort of thing? means. But I don't understand what you're trying to express by joining them together in the way you have in this specific sentence structure—it's nonstandard and bordering on ungrammatical. Is what you're trying to say, Why did you do that sort of thing a while ago? – Jason Bassford May 7 at 16:56
  • @JasonBassford Yeah; that's the word that my brain failed to come up with as the nearly-ungrammical bit was niggling away in the back of my mind, but I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Although its a good answer, I don't think Ill be able to use it in my translation. – Toyu_Frey May 7 at 18:24
  • This kind of question needs a lot of expertise in the original Japanese. You need to explain a lot of just the basics of the Japanese in order to ask about the appropriate corresponding English. Please edit to explain the Japanese in its entirety. – Mitch May 7 at 18:42
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I am assuming that the conversation in question pertains to the event in question, otherwise my suggestions won't make much sense.

If the event occurred recently, and the player can be expected to remember it (the character obviously does), you could use a construction similar to:

Why did you do that back there?

Or more questioningly,

Back there.. Why did you do that?

If the event was a long time ago, or not immediately preceding, a more appropriate wording might be:

Why did you do something like that?

If the tone is accusatory or angry, then:

Why would you do something like that?

or

How could you do something like that?

  • You assumed correct, the conversation is about the mentioned event. From the Main Character's point of view, the event in question did occur recently. I like the "or more questioningly" option you give, it seems to fit. Can I appendage "that sort of thing" to its end, so that it matches the original Japanese more accurately? – Toyu_Frey May 8 at 3:10

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