Off to see the play tonight, so read the book last night. Came across this sentence:
“She was more like Nora’s mother than her step daughter.”
I had to pause, I thought “We haven’t met Nora’s mother, how are we meant to know what she’s like?”
What the author meant was that Sheila, who actually was the step daughter, was acting like the author thought a mother would act. And of course to translate this you would also have to know that Sheila was in fact the step daughter. Without these pieces of information a translation could come out in a variety of incorrect ways, and obtaining these pieces of information takes time, and that’s why we don’t quote over the phone.