Schon deshalb/If only because

I was asked in a comment on the .. thread whether I would not normally have asked this in FLEFO, the CompuServe translators’ forum. The truth is that if I have a translation query I have to turn to somewhere where there is more than one person who might help. There are large numbers of mailing lists. Here is a question I posted on two mailing lists of networks of the British ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting):

bq. I am never happy with my rendering of schon deshalb. Can anyone suggest a good rendering? Here is an example:
An dieser Voraussetzung fehlt es hier schon deshalb, weil in dem Werbespot – insoweit vergleichbar einem Titelblatt – lediglich darauf aufmerksam gemacht wurde, daß sich die beworbene Zeitungsbeilage inhaltlich mit Marlene Dietrich als einer Person der Zeitgeschichte befaßt.

bq. Draft translation:
This requirement is not fulfilled in the present case if only because it was merely pointed out in the commercial that the newspaper supplement in question deals with Marlene Dietrich as a figure of contemporary history; here, it is similar to a title page.Suggestions fell into two groups: 1) for the specific reason that, precisely because, the prime reason being, on these grounds alone, for this reason alone, , for the very reason
and 2) one reason being, firstly, in the first place, for one reason, not least because
of which I lean towards the second.
I have also thought of ‚not only’.

I’ve now encountered the same problem yet again:
Eine derartige Aufteilung der Vergütungspflicht würde schon deswegen der gesetzlichen Regelung zuwiderlaufen, weil im Gesetz feste Vergütungssätze vorgesehen sind.

Must write down a list of this kind of language used by the courts, with English equivalents, one day.

Where else could I have asked? There are other translation forums but they are either too quiet or too noisy. In the old days FLEFO would have helped.

There is a German translators’ mailing list called pt (originally partnertrans) at, and at there is a list called legaltranslators (very quiet though). There is Alexander von Obert’s u-forum (and see the list of other lists there).
There is LANTRA-L, very big indeed (at that site I see there is still a book review I did on Translation and the Law, edited by Marshall Morris). And there’s a UseNet group, sci.lang.translation – here’s an FAQ, very out of date. And it looks as if you can access the group from the WWW here – but no guarantee.

I usually read newsgroups with Agent newsreader.

6 thoughts on “Schon deshalb/If only because

  1. “If only because” seems to render the meaning quite well in this case, but I do see that the line of thought is somewhat different.
    Here are a few occurences of “schon deshalb” on the ECJ website (I know that they were probably translated from English into German and not vice versa)

    By its second question, the national court asks whether, where a national official has either applied national law conflicting with Community law or applied national law in a manner not in conformity with Community law, the mere fact that he did not have any discretion in taking his decision gives rise to a serious breach of Community law, within the meaning of the case-law of the Court.

    Die zweite Frage des vorlegenden Gerichts geht dahin, ob in einem Fall, in dem ein nationaler Beamter entweder gegen Gemeinschaftsrecht verstoßendes nationales Recht angewendet oder nationales Recht nicht gemeinschaftsrechtskonform angewendet hat, ein qualifizierter Verstoß im Sinne der Rechtsprechung des Gerichtshofes schon deshalb vorliegt, weil dem Beamten bei seiner Entscheidung kein Ermessen zustand.

    Finally, the plaintiffs in the main proceedings cannot allege that the increase in the guaranteed total quantity of certain Member States was greater for the simple reason that the situation and the trends in those Member States were different to those of Ireland

    Schließlich können sich die Kläger des Ausgangsverfahrens auch auf eine stärkere Erhöhung der Gesamtgarantiemenge für bestimmte Mitgliedstaaten schon deshalb nicht berufen, weil die Situation und die Entwicklung in diesen Mitgliedstaaten von denjenigen in Irland abweichen.

    Moreover, the fact that HLF is an interested third party within the meaning of Article 93(2) of the Treaty cannot confer on it locus standi entitling it to bring an action against the contested decision

    Im übrigen kann die Klägerin HLF nicht schon deshalb, weil sie eine Drittbetroffene im Sinne von Artikel 93 Absatz 2 des Vertrages ist, gegen die streitige Entscheidung klagen.

  2. Thanks for the references. Do you have a name? You don’t sound like Adrian, but perhaps you are. Still, I am very grateful for the comment.

    In the first example you give, the use of ‘mere’ works very well. It has been placed elsewhere in the sentence – or has it. I will have to think about whether this works in other places. I think ‘for the mere reason’ would work in my example too. (I don’t like ‘*By* its second question’ – I think I would say ‘In its second question’).

    The second and third examples are negatives, so the meaning is different and they aren’t so problematic to translate.

  3. Ah – that’s good, I was frightened I had driven someone away!
    I’m not sure if I agree with the first one any longer. I decided to leave my translation as it was. I will have to think about it again.

  4. That requirement is lacking. As a reason, it suffices to state that …

    That requirement is lacking. (…) is reason enough for that.

    “Schon deshalb” is saying: This is one simple reason that is enough to prove my point. I could carry on with more reasons, but they are not necessary, since the first one is so convincing.

    Hope this helps :)

  5. This is a good suggestion, thank you.
    I quite agree with the definition. For some reason, however, I am not 100% convinced by the suggestions, although logically they should be the perfect examples.
    Of course, I think judges don’t say this in England, at least not regularly, so there is no obvious or natural solution.
    The ‘is reason enough’ reminds me of the expression ‘X did such-and-such and this was sufficient reason for dismissal from his job’, which is slightly different – this was the only thing he did wrong and it was bad enough to allow the employer to sack him. ‘As a reason, it suffices…’ seems fine.
    At the moment, I am more inclined towards starting a new sentence with ‘One reason …’. But of course, this may make the reader expect ‘Another reason’

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