Recently I was watching a movie where an actor in translation (Czech dubbing) said:

"It was the third year I was there."

But originally in English the actor said:

"I had been there for three years."

The translation is incorrect right? Because if person had been there for three years he would have to say it was the 4th year I was there right?

Because let's say the person starts working somewhere in 2016 and 3 year passes. So it is 2019 and saying I am here the 3rd year is wrong in my opinion, isn't it?

Because the person is there already 4th year. (1st was 2016)

  • If you were referring to subtitles, there would simply be a question of translation accuracy. But dubbing has a different problem. The replacement voice needs to match pretty closely with the actor's lip movements. They choose words of as similar a meaning as they can that can be said while passing for the actor's voice.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 25, 2017 at 22:04

1 Answer 1


Logically, you are correct. In actual practice, the phrase "I had been there for three years" is not meant to be exact. If I say, for example:

I lived in Japan for two years

It doesn't necessarily mean I left the country exactly two years from when I arrived. The truth is I lived there for 2 years and 3 months, but "two years" is close enough for conversation.

In the same way:

My wife and I have been married for seven years

doesn't mean that now is our eighth year. Actually out anniversary is in late February, but it's close enough that "seven years" is good for casual conversation.

Of course if there was a need to be exact, I would say "almost seven years" or "a little over two years".

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