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Plugin or plug-in?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We remember reading somewhere that there is a demonstrable pattern in English: two separate words become a hyphenated compound, then eventually the hyphen disappears. In other words, most if not all hyphenated versions are ‘on their way out’, the only question being how long it will take.

In the case of plugin vs plug-in, the hyphenated version still seems to be the clear winner in the hybrid car market, for example – see Wikipedia page here. Google Ngram Viewer also shows the hyphenated version in the lead, although the rapid decline of the hyphen is obvious from the chart here. See also the pertinent discussion at English Language & Usage Stack Exchange here.

Conclusion: we will write plugin henceforth, except in cases where we want to differentiate something from a (code) plugin, e.g. “they were looking for a plug-in charging point”, which makes it clear that they were not looking for a piece of software 🙂

Binoculars

Do we have a British Covid Stasi?

By HE Translations team member Mike Gayler

BinocularsDuring the Coronavirus crisis there have been a number of allegations that people in Britain are ‘behaving like the Stasi’ or that we have a ‘Covid Stasi’, but how do these claims stack up against the reality of Germany’s past, and how does it relate to Britain today?

The Stasi was the official state security organisation for the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or East Germany. The full name was Staatssicherheitsdienst, and is acknowledged to have been both pervasive and effective. Its main task was to perform surveillance on the citizens of the country in order to quell dissent, although it operated in foreign countries through espionage and covert operations.

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Hamster with hazelnuts

Happy hamsters squirrel away supermarket stocks

Hamster with hazelnutsHamsters have been emptying shop shelves across Germany and now seem set to cross borders as other countries take up the telling term Hamsterkauf. Wise advice to stock up on essentials before being confined to home by an anti-coronavirus diktat, combined with an angst attack in the face of a pandemic, has seen runs on toilet paper, pasta, flour and hand gel – snatching away all available wares. The German language term for this buying more than you need is Hamsterkauf, meaning literally hamster buying, or buying like a hamster. The tiny hamster with its puffy cheeks full of nuts is a lovable symbol for sensibly storing what you need for later, like its bigger cousin the squirrel, but neither actually pay for what they accumulate and have never been seen panic buying. Read more

Quarantäne

Covid-19 update from HE Translations

QuarantäneWe are pleased to report that HE Translations continues to operate as normal at this challenging and surreal time. After all, we have been practising home working for 25 years, as illustrated in a Leicester Mercury article back in 2009.

We are regularly in touch with our technical translation team members in various countries, and it is interesting to hear the experiences in different locations. On the whole, we are impressed by the way Leicester, the UK and indeed the world is coping with the unprecedented situation. That said, the long-term consequences are unfathomable, both economically and otherwise. Our sympathies to all those struggling in these difficult times, when many are losing so much. Let’s hope that when this is over some good may also come out of it, and that the path to sustainable living for all will be clearer. All in all, we remain cautiously optimistic.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss a potential translation project from or into German or a wide range of other languages including Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Swedish, please email us at Herb@HETranslations.uk or call our usual office number, +44 (0) 800 773 4054.

Best wishes to you and your families and friends.

Three unicorns running

Unicorn Bets Set in Race to Carbon Zero

Are capitalists hoping to harness unicorns to lead the charge to a zero carbon economy? Some experts think so and are calling for investment in unicorn incubation programmes with the promise of great returns. Recently the unicorn has lent its name to the elite group of billion dollar startup tech firms, and now looks set to sire a whole new breed of firms focused on facilitating low carbon living. As icecaps melt, sea levels rise, and global overheating threatens human extinction, can a magical horse with a pointed hat save the human race? Some hard-headed technologists are advocating this, so is it time we understood this beautiful beast and its future a bit better?

Three unicorns runningThe unicorn has captured the human imagination since the earliest days of India, appears in the Christian Bible, in medieval bestiary books illustrating beasts of every alleged kind, and has often been harnessed as a symbol. Typically understood to be a forest-dwelling white horse with a single, spiralling and pointed horn sticking out of its forehead, it might initially have been the ancients’ remote misinterpretation of actual one-horned animals such as the ibex or rhinoceros, or of profile representations of cattle, but it developed a mythical presence in the Middle Ages in Europe which lives on to this day.

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