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García Márquez in "Relato de un Náufrago" states

Había brisa pero no corría en la misma dirección que yo debía imprimirle a la balsa para navegar directamente hacia la Osa Menor.

What does he mean?

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    What's the part of the sentence that it's causing you trouble? And what did you investigate about that so far? Can you please add more details to the question, please?
    – RubioRic
    Commented Apr 23 at 6:12

2 Answers 2

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The doubt seems to revolve around the meaning of the verb "imprimir", which is a very formal and literary way of saying "give (something abstract) to something".

Under (5) here we can read this definition:

  1. tr. Dar una determinada característica, estilo, etc., a algo.

"imprimir una dirección a la balsa" can be literally translated as "conferring some direction on the raft" (a very formal way of saying "giving some direction to the raft" or "setting the raft in a certain direction").

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The meaning of the phrase is that, although there was wind, it wasn't blowing in the correct direction the subject needed to direct its ship towards Ursa minor constellation.

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