What I have for

Cuerpo de mujer, blancas colinas, muslos blancos,
te pareces al mundo en tu actitud de entrega.

is this

Body of woman, white hills, white thighs,
you look like the world in your attitude of surrender.

Is this right? I'm particularly confused about "te pareces al mundo". I think the reflexive for "parecer" is "to look like," but then is the personal "a" used for the world because it is being anthropomorphized?

  • 1
    I deleted "por favor" in your question title and changed a command ("check my translation") to a question ("how to translate..."). If you disagree with the edit, you can always roll it back. Btw, welcome to Spanish.SE!
    – Yay
    Jun 27 '16 at 17:48
  • one thing, by the context, i think devotion would be a better translation for entrega
    – Jarry
    Jun 29 '16 at 16:54

Your translation looks spot-on to me! Just a few notes: "en tu actitud de entrega" can be reworded as "con respecto a tu actitud de entrega". I'm not sure if the same is true for the English sentence. "Parecerse en" is almost a collocation where the complement introduced by "en" expresses in what sense both things look alike. Hence the expression:

No se parecen ni en el blanco de los ojos (= "They don't look in the least bit alike", according to WordReference)

Neruda is saying that she looks like the rest of the world in that both have complied; the world because that's what people do, and in her case because she's given in.

Both "parecer" and "parecerse a" mean "to look (like)". The former is used for impressions or when guessing, closer to "to seem", and the latter is used for comparing two things, closer to "to look like". Note the preposition "a" is strictly necessary in the second case, and in no way is it restricted to people — objects can also look alike. In sentences like:

Este cuaderno se parece a uno que tenía yo cuando era joven.

there's no anthropomorphization, only a comparison.

Finally, in "A parece B" the speaker is saying there is a chance A is B, while in "A se parece a B" A isn't B, but it looks like it. In English, you could make that difference explicit by saying "A seems to be B" vs "A and B look alike". In the first case B can be either a noun or an adjective, while in the second case it can only be a noun.

PS — this is not a case of "personal a" but just the "enlace" of a "complemento de régimen". "A B" in "A se parece a B" shares some characteristics with indirect objects (you can say "A se le parece") and "complementos de régimen" (you don't need to duplicate the pronoun in "A se parece a él"). In any case, "personal a" only applies to direct objects.

You can read more about these constructions in §35.6.


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