Avoiding Gender Bias

Posted Posted in Style, Translation_Tips, Word Usage

Dragoman prefers using gender-neutral vocabulary in its translations wherever possible. Inappropriate:      This small, soil dwelling, bacteria eating, unsegmented worm may be an important key in mankind‘s endeavor to explore space. Gender-neutral:   This small, soil dwelling, bacteria eating, unsegmented worm may be an important key in humankind‘s endeavor to explore space. Inappropriate:     In this edition, Elizabeth Warren, chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, discusses TARP and the legacy of “too big to fail.” Gender-neutral:  In this edition, Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, […]

The Plural of “Behavior”

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips, Word Usage

Behavior is almost always a mass noun and it is very rarely used in the plural. Incorrect:  You must reflect on your behaviors if you want to avoid repeating your mistakes. Correct:     You must reflect on your behavior if you want to avoid repeating your mistakes. Behavior is used in the plural in the fields of psychology, social science, and education. Five behaviors could extend life expectancy at 50 by more than a decade, even without the discovery of a single new drug or […]

“Such As … and So On / So Forth” Redundancy

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips, Word Usage

Dragoman prefers “and so on” or “and so forth” to “etc.” (et cetera) to show that there are many other similar things or people that we can add. However, combining “such as” with “and so on” or “and so forth” in a sentence causes a redundancy. Incorrect:   Animals such as mountain lions, wolves and so on are carnivores. Correct:      Animals such as mountain lions and wolves are carnivores.            

“E.g. … and So On / So Forth” Redundancy

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips, Word Usage

If we begin by saying e.g., which means for example, it is redundant to add and so on or and so forth at the end. Incorrect:   Some EU countries (e.g., Italy, Belgium, Greece and so on) are largely dependent on gas imports from abroad. Correct:      Some EU countries (e.g., Italy, Belgium, Greece) are largely dependent on gas imports from abroad.      

Consist Of vs. Consist In

Posted Posted in Sentences, Word Usage

Consist in something and consist of something have entirely different meanings. Consist in means to be based on or depend on something. Incorrect:   Patriotism does not consist of blind obedience of the ruled to their rulers. Correct:      Patriotism does not consist in blind obedience of the ruled to their rulers. Consist of means to be formed from two or more things or people. Incorrect:   The students consisted in private school graduates. Correct:      The students consisted of private school graduates. You can […]

Warranty vs. Guarantee

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Although warranty and guarantee have similar meanings they cannot be used interchangeably. Dictionary.com defines warranty and guarantee as follows: A warranty is “a promise or guarantee given.” A warranty is usually a written guarantee for a product, and it holds the maker of the product responsible to repair or replace a defective product or its parts. It is only used as a noun. A guarantee is the promise included in the formal (and legal) warranty. Unless we are talking about a money-back guarantee, Dragoman prefers translating […]

Sex vs. Gender

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Wikipedia’s entry on sex and gender distinction reads as follows: “The distinction between sex and gender differentiates a person’s biological sex (the anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics) from that person’s gender, which can refer to either social roles based on the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one’s own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity). In this model, the idea of a “biological gender” is an oxymoron: the biological […]

Only vs. Alone

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Although only and alone have similar meanings, we cannot always use them interchangeably when translating into English. When we use alone to mean without including anything else, it comes right after the noun it modifies. Incorrect:   Minnesota only exports more than $2 billion in soybeans annually, with China as the state’s top export market. Correct:       Minnesota alone exports more than $2 billion in soybeans annually, with China as the state’s top export market. Incorrect:   The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for […]

Placing “Only” Correctly

Posted Posted in Word Usage

Only is often misplaced in a sentence. We must be careful about its usage to avoid confusing our readers. Only should go right before the word or phrase it modifies. “Only I said I cannot attend the party” means that I was the only one to decline the invitation. “I only said I cannot attend the party” means that I said nothing but I could not attend the party. You can further explore this topic here.