Circa symbol

Circa – circling around the abbreviation of an approximation in translation

German technical texts tend to be liberally littered with the abbreviation “ca.” to indicate that what follows should be read as an approximation.  Usually our preference has been to render this Latin term for “about” or “around” as “approx.” when translating into English.  This can, however,  be awkward, as that may appear too long in tables and other contexts.  Is there an alternative? If we seek an expert opinion,  The New Oxford Style Manual has this to say on the matter:
Circa symbol

“The Latin circa, meaning ‘about’, is used in English mainly with dates and quantities. Set the italicized abbreviation c. close up to any figures following (c.1020, c.£10,400), but spaced from words and letters (c. AD 44). In discursive prose it is usually preferable to use about or some when describing quantities”.

Read more

Person absorbing heat of the sun

Alien immission impacts English

Or: Restoring the efficiency of a lost Latin term

A report by TastyWebDesign.com

Following yet another long and interesting discussion on the term ‘immission‘ in a translator network, we decided to give up (at least for the time being) campaigning for its reintroduction into the English language, although we still think it would be entirely justified, not least based on the fact that the term is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. Anyway, we intend to use ‘environmental impact’ henceforth, although we reserve the right to use other solutions (e.g. ‘exposure’ or indeed the apparently frowned-upon term itself), depending on the context or situation.

Photovoltaic solar panel array installed in field

Why is this word so worth using? The term concisely describes the process that necessarily occurs in a technical context when we translate the eventual destination, absorption, or impact of an emission.  When a source emits an emission, and after its transmission, a recipient receives an immission, for example sound, light or heat.  As an emission is something sent out, so an immission is something sent in. Read more

manual coffee grinder and coffee beans

Ersatzkaffee – can drinking substitutes win the game?

A report by TastyWebDesign.com

With coffee being so wildly popular these days, is a coffee substitute a winner or a loser? Anyone who has watched enough World Cup matches has seen a substitute come on the field and decide the match with fresh energy, or else disappoint when they can’t do what the missing star player did. A coffee bean isn’t a football so why even talk of substitutes, why not some other better word? And why do people drink coffee anyway?

Why coffee?

comic book zap text

The Stimulant Effect

People enjoy the rich roasted taste of coffee and many cherish the stimulating effect of the caffeine it contains, a drug which zaps away fatigue and sleepiness and speeds things up. Regular coffee drinking can lead to caffeine addiction, meaning without this stimulant at regular intervals the coffee lover feels tired, with poor concentration, irritability, and even headaches – which are quickly cured by a fresh cup.  Coffee breaks become not just a pleasurable social ritual but a required recharge, part of the grind of daily life.  So why would anyone want or need to drink something else instead?  To replace a drink or a drug, or both?  Or just to respond to the endless cycle of headlines about coffee being good or bad for you? Read more

Nur wundern Plakat

Nicht ärgern, nur wundern

Nur wundern PlakatThe German motto “Nicht ärgern, nur wundern” is extremely useful and calming. In many situations it can avoid the need for Baldwin’s Nervous Pills. As long as we don’t start to worry about how to translate it into English! 😂

Personal note: The drawing was produced in 1944 by Herbert’s uncle, Bruno Gutfleisch, who sadly passed away in 1971. It hangs in Herbert’s office and helps him keep calm (and indeed carry on) in stressful translation situations 😇

Extrembügeln

Extreme Ironing / Extrembügeln

As evidenced by the photo (August 2014), our visitors from Germany took their ironing duties quite seriously, in the knowledge that Extreme Ironing was in fact invented in Leicester, and further encouraged by the fact that there appears to be a German Extreme Ironing Section.

Extreme ironing has not yet translated into a professional sport sponsored by manufacturers of irons or ironing boards, although the German language once again demonstrates efficiency by condensing the translation of extreme ironing down to just one word, albeit a compound word.

Weitere Infos zum Extrembügeln gibt es hier.

Extrembügeln