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Here’s the next round-up of the LKTips we’ve been posting on our social media channels over the past month. We hope you enjoy them – and feel free to give us a follow on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to find out more from us and keep up to date with the LKTeam!


The customer is always right(?)

Neither of the following would technically be wrong if you were to write them in a text:
“I added flour, sugar and eggs to the bowl.”
“I added flour, sugar, and eggs to the bowl.”

But for a customer with an Oxford comma preference, the first one would be considered wrong – in other words, what’s right and wrong isn’t just a question of what’s in the accepted rules; it’s also at your customer’s discretion. So, always remember to allocate some of your project time to looking through style guides and instructions provided with a job – and remember that even if a rule might seem arbitrary, it’s what the customer wants (and helps to keep the style of their documents consistent).

Didn’t get a style guide or instructions? Make sure you have your own consistent set of rules that you stick to in exactly those cases – it’ll help keep your translations tidy. It can be as simple as a few reminders in a Notepad file on your PC, or as elaborate as a whole style guide with a change history to keep track of your approaches – whatever works for you!


Keep it simple (but flexible)


A short but sweet LKTip: you don’t have to use “as well as” when you see “sowie” – in fact, just “and” will probably do most of the time.

It’s a good idea to have a mental bank of solutions that you can draw upon for certain common issues that come up in translation, but don’t let that trap you into thinking that X must equal Y in all cases, because the translations you come up with will inevitably have to vary according to context, tone, text type and so on.

Wishing everyone a great start to their translating week!


Technically speaking

This LKTip relates to the German word “technisch” – or more specifically, “-technisch” when it’s appended onto another word. More often than not, it just means “related to the word it’s attached to” – for example:

systemtechnisch – to do with the system
pharmazeutisch-technisch – pharmaceutical
steuerungstechnisch – to do with the control system/equipment

…and so on! So remember to avoid jumping immediately to “technical”, and think about whether “technisch” is just a bit of a gap-filler instead.


Carbon or CO2?


This LKTip is one we’ve talked about before, but loads of texts about the environment and sustainability have reminded us that it’s still a good one!

CO2 in German doesn’t have to be translated as CO2 in English – in fact, “carbon” is often the better option. Here are a few examples:

CO2-Emissionen > carbon emissions
CO2-Fußabdruck > carbon footprint
CO2-Kompensation > carbon offsetting

Sometimes “CO2” is fine, but don’t automatically reach for it!