Wir sind dabei zu entkommen.

This is translated “We are escaping.” but wouldn’t it be more accurate to translate it: “We are about to escape.” ?

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“dabei” here means “in the middle of doing”, so the english pogressive already expresses that.
If you just say “Wir sind entkommen” it means “We have escaped.”
If you want to say “about to”, you would use “kurz davor”, or “gleich”:

Wir sind kurz davor, zu entkommen.
Wir werden gleich entkommen (sein). (but this sounds stilted)


Cazort, I’m just a beginner, but if I encountered this sentence in a book, I would probably think it meant “We are about to escape,” although whether that would be the best translation for the book isn’t clear.
This is one of those examples when the German mind escapes my grasp. I’m certain that ‘dabei’ gives a particular sense of how that escape is perceived, but there’s no way of ‘verifying’ whether I’m thinking of it the way a German would. Or, it’s very hard to study a language without invoking a theory of mind at times.

Maybe it is “We are just escaping”.

It is simply difficult to translate this nuances.

If you say “we are about to escape” has the escape already started?
Not necessarily, I think.
And if not, then it is not a good translation for “wir sind dabei …” because as pitti42 pointed out it, it means being in middle of doing something.

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Interesting how so many Clozemaster sentences seem to yearn for a context, where their intention, as well as their meaning can be clear. I think this is one of the most valuable aspects of Clozemaster, that it forces one to examine possibilities this way.

Not necessarily. The English present progressive can be used to indicate future intentions. Examples: “we are escaping tomorrow”, or “we are escaping as soon as Karl arrives”. Neither of these indicates an action in progress. Therefore, clozemaster’s suggested English translation is possibly ambiguous.

I’d suggest “We are in the process of escaping” as a more accurate translation of “wir sind dabei zu entkommen”, even though “in the process of” is a little unwieldy in English.