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Help me clarify this sentence, please


6 Feb 2015
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I am a volunteer movie translator, and I've just finished translating "Jishin retto" (1980) into my mother tongue, Bulgarian. Since I don't speak Japanese (except for counting from 1 to 10, and knowing how to use "san", "chan" and "sensei"), I've translated the movie from English subtitles that I had found on the Internet. The English text was pretty good, only at one particular point the words didn't make sense to me, and I still find them hard to comprehend. The hard part is half a sentence long (a couple of seconds), but I'm going to present here a little bit longer fragment of the conversation, which goes like this:

- There's a train car up ahead. The roof has collapsed on the car, holding it down and trapping us in. Water is flowing through the gap, but if we could smash down the wall, the water could flow out freely.
- A wall! How can we get it out of the way?!
- If we leverage the incline that the train is on to get it moving, it might smash through the wall!
- If the ceiling has collapsed and trapped us in here, I don't see how we can get the train to move!
- He's right. How in the world could we possibly move this train?!

And here it is in Japanese:

So, the hard part is colored in red. I believe, the English translator has made a mistake and actually meant "if we lever the incline", not "leverage".

Now, what is the idea here? Is it...

(1) To lever (e.g. to move upwards with some kind of stick) the incline (e.g. the inclined surface) that the train is on (e.g. under the train)? If so, what is that inclined surface? The rails? Or something else under the train? I really don't get it. Or is it the train car itself? All those suggestions of mine seem absolutely impossible and meaningless.​

Or is it rather...

(2) To push (or pull) some kind of lever(s) inside (or outside) the train car, which lever(s) is (are) part of the car itself? For instance, to release the brakes of the train (and make it moving), or to change the position of the gear-lever (if trains have gear-levers at all - this I don't know). But then, what about the word "incline"? Where does it go?​

I feel lost. It would be really wonderful if someone could help me with this. Thousand arigatos in advance! :)


22 Feb 2008
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The speaker Katsuno Hiroshi says "If we can make use of the inclination (of the ground/rails) that this train is on to get it moving, ..."


14 Jan 2009
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"Leverage" here means "make use of some (existing) advantage to obtain a result", although the choice of it here is a bit clunky on the part of the translator in my opinion. It can't always be swapped in for "make use of".
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