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Paper glider

Ludwig Prandtl 1875-1953 – The man behind the science of aerodynamics

Article by Dr Fred Starr PhD, FIMMM, FIE, MIMechE, CEng

Ludwig Prandtl with his fluid test channel

Ludwig Prandtl is shown next to the water channel which he used in his early boundary layer investigations.

Ever wondered why you have to brush the dust off a piece of furniture? Not being able to blow it away? And were you puzzled that golf balls are knobbly rather than smooth? Surely a smoother ball should be more streamlined, and fly further? Or when boarding a jumbo jet, asked yourself why do the wings have to be so long, almost to the point of being floppy? Wouldn’t square shaped wings, attached along the length of the fuselage, be more sturdy?

The man who supplied us with the answer to these questions, the last one, being at one time a state secret, was Ludwig Prandtl, the greatest of all German Aeronautical Scientists. And a great bunch they were. Prandtl was there at the start of the business, when, although Lilienthal had died in his glider experiments, and the Wright Brothers had flown, there was no clear idea what kept an aircraft in the air. No one, in fact, had any idea, how best to design the most important attribute of an aircraft, the wings.

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Portrait of Johannes Kepler

Kepler: the first cosmologist

Johannes Kepler 1571-1630

Another view

Article by Dr Fred Starr PhD, FIMMM, FIE, MIMechE, CEng

Johannes Kepler was, arguably, the first and most important scientific son of Germany, long before it came to be a nation. Kepler was a true genius, who had to move from one country to another to earn a living and to avoid religious persecution, and he can also be claimed for Europe itself.

Kepler’s insight into how the planets move round the sun showed the need for a new physics of the Universe. That is, one that proposed a rational and testable scientific theory. Before Kepler, the belief that the sun, moon, planets and stars revolved round the Earth once a day, being kept in position with invisible rotating crystalline spheres, required no further discussion. Copernicus was stuck with circular motions for how the planets moved, as was Galileo. Read more

Question mark in labyrinth

Translating web pages – easy snap or tempting translation trap?

Could you just translate this web page please? Well…

Spider in spiderwebIt’s easy you say, but a simple request that sounds like a snap can turn into a translation trap. Web pages are where we read these days, so why not start the job there and just translate what you see on the website? Well, web pages are actually made up of not just the words and images you see on the surface, but also technical code you don’t see, and styling you do, so you may regret your words when you find yourself swimming in a simmering sea of alphabet soup. And what if the result can’t be served up in a way that can be readily consumed? So before just jumping in and translating web pages, let’s look at what really is on a web page and how the text there might, or might not, mesh with the professional translation process to deliver a successful result – in a final format translator and client can readily use.
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Image of Gears

Germany’s Mittelstand: standstill or foundation of the Industrie 4.0 future?

The German economy owes much of its success to the country’s Mittelstand, a uniquely German term used to refer to Germany’s highly developed and export-oriented mid-sized business sector. Mittelstand is roughly translated into English as SME or Small and Medium Enterprise sector, but the Mittelstand is characterised by more than just the simple number of employees or the size of the annual turnover. Due to its ethos and importance, and focus on manufacturing, the Mittelstand has been the subject of considerable study and discussion, as well as concerns for its future when facing the challenges of technological change and international competition. Clearly it can’t afford to stand still if the German Wirtschaftswunder is to continue, so what is the Mittelstand and where is it going? Can small business and manufacturing survive in a world of globalised giants and the feverish flow of investor funds into speculative startups? Read more

Battery Storage Guide book cover

Battery Storage Guide now on sale

A topical new energy study is out this month and charging ahead with the publication of The Definitive Guide to Commercial and Industrial Battery Storage Systems. This thorough new report from German energy consultancy denersol, in cooperation with publishers DGS Franken, has been translated by the experts at HE Translations.

HE Translations are specialists in the Energiewende, the ongoing energy transition to sustainable energy, and are offering a 20% discount off the purchase price to early bird buyers in the month of May only. Read more

Batteriespeicher book jacket

Translating the Guide to Commercial and Industrial Battery Storage

Batteriespeicher book jacketHE Translations are pleased to be translating from German a valuable new resource, a definitive guide to the commercial and industrial battery storage technology and products available today. This comprehensive guide has been researched and written by expert Dietmar Geckeler of German energy consultancy Denersol, who specialise in decentralised energy solutions.

The transition to sustainable energy sources, known in German as the Energiewende, faces a significant challenge when energy from renewables must be stored outside the active generation period to provide a continuous power supply. So what exactly are energy storage systems, and where do we find them, and how do we use them?
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five stars rating

Top tips for a successful technical translation

five stars ratingWhen you need a translation of a technical text or manual, what you really are looking for is a specialist expert in this field to do the  job right. A serious translation ensures the accurate and usable rendering of descriptions and instructions into the target language, preventing time-consuming and expensive misunderstandings which could arise later. To achieve this an effective translator needs to understand not just the words on the page, but the technical processes and functioning of a technology or product.

Mastering this technical task calls for specialist understanding and experience, as well as an ability to be clear and unambiguous. And of course a well-written and clear original text is the best starting point, so here we offer a few tips from our long experience to get you going in the right direction. Just as you would not print blurred instructions just to save on ink, you wouldn’t want your meaning to be lost in translation.

The five Es for excellence in translation:

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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

German vintage camera

German film cameras

Report from HE Translations marketing representative Mike GaylerGerman vintage camera

First let me say that I am no expert in this field – I have a modest collection of analogue cameras, most of which are European, manufactured during the period 1955 – 1975. They are generally the sort of camera that a family man (and it usually was the man) would have taken on holiday and to weddings, or a camera that would have been proudly sported by the enthusiastic, albeit cash-poor, amateur photographer.

There’s a list of technical resources at the end of this piece; if I’ve used something from your site and not listed it, then please let me know and I’ll edit and credit you. Otherwise all errors are mine. Read more