Greetings.
I work in a German research centre, and as one of only two native English speakers, I'm frequently called upon to proofread and correct scientific and technical articles written by my German colleagues. Over time I've noticed that they tend to make the same mistakes over and over again, so I decided to write a short guide to English writing directed specifically to German speakers. It addresses common translation problems such as "bzw.", plus differences between German and English punctuation and diction.

I intend to make this document freely available to the public. However before I add a prominent link to it from my web page, I would be grateful if interested parties here could have a look over it and offer any suggestions for additions or changes.
The PDF version is available here:
http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/~miller/publications/advice.pdf

Regards,
Tristan

V.-o Tristan Miller (en,(fr,de,ia)) >`-' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= <> In a haiku, so it's hard (7 \\ http://www.nothingisreal.com / >
 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 17
I read in sci.lang.translation that Tristan Miller (Email Removed) wrote (in ) about 'Guide for German writers of English', onFri, 13 Feb 2004:
The PDF version is available here: http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/~miller/publications/advice.pdf

I am very interested in this project, but I can't get the link to work. Could you please e-mail the PDF to JMW(at)JMWA(dot)demon(dot)co(dot)uk ?
Regards, John Woodgate, OOO - Own Opinions Only.
The good news is that nothing is compulsory.
The bad news is that everything is prohibited.
http://www.jmwa.demon.co.uk Also see http://www.isce.org.uk
Tristan> ... my German colleagues. Over
Tristan> time I've noticed that they tend to make the same Tristan> mistakes over and over again, so I decided to write a Tristan> short guide to English writing directed specifically to Tristan> German speakers.
Tristan> ...
Tristan> I intend to make this document freely available to the Tristan> public.
Tristan> ...
Tristan> The PDF version is available here:
Tristan> http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/~miller/publications/advice.pdf

Very interesting and useful even for my writing of English technical documents. (How many people know the difference between em-dash, en-dash, etc.? LaTeX users tend to be more aware of that distinction (because LaTeX is WYTIWYM what you type is what you mean), but I do know some LaTeX users who use $-$ when he really wants an em-dash!!!)
BTW, for the first example on the last page of the PDF file on "bzw.", I think the following are also possible, if you really want the word "resp." to be there:
Please press button 1 or 2 if you want to go to the first or second floor, respectively.
Please press button 1 or 2 if you want to go to the first or second (resp.) floor.
It really takes time to get used to the German (ab)use of "bzw.", esp. when most dictionaries only give the literal translation. Emotion: sad I had problems with it until a teacher taught me to read it as "oder". Emotion: smile

Lee Sau Dan +Z05biGVm-(Big5) ~{@nJX6X~}(HZ)

E-mail: (Email Removed)
Home page: http://www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/~danlee
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I work in a German research centre, and as one of only two native English speakers, I'm frequently called upon ... to German speakers. It addresses common translation problems such as "bzw.", plus differences between German and English punctuation and diction.

Sounds like a really good idea to me. I'll definitely have a look. :-)

Sorry for ignoring your Followup-To header, but I don't read alt.usage.english, so I wouldn't be able to react to any possible replies. Since this is perfectly on-topic in europa.linguas, I think this is okay.
patrick

(de), (en), (es)
Greetings. I work in a German research centre, and as one of only two native English speakers, I'm frequently called ... to German speakers. It addresses common translation problems such as "bzw.", plus differences between German and English punctuation and diction.

It looks good from a quick glance. However, I think you are a bit dogmatic on some points. That's OK if this manual is intended to achieve a uniform style within one company, but there is a great deal of variation in the real world. In Britain, for example, the em-dash is often replaced by an en-dash with a space on either side. And I don't think many publishers recommend italics for e.g., i.e., cf.
I'm sure you could add lots of typical German mistakes. I've started collecting typical Swedish mistakes so that I can write a book of advice when I retire about 15 years from now. Today I added a wonderful sentence from a book I'm editing:
"Together with Nils-Otto Sjöberg a new type of adrenergic neurone was found in the reproductive organs."
Alan
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Alan Crozier
Skatteberga 1392

247 92 Södra SandbySweden
TO REPLY BY E-MAIL: change Crazier to Crozier
I would be grateful if interested parties here could have a look over it and offer any suggestions for additions or changes. The PDF version is available here: http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/~miller/publications/advice.pdf

Section 1.2 of this document states "Double quotation marks ... always come in pairs", but I believe there is an exception from this rule when a quotation spans several paragraphs. In German, the quotation marks are placed around the whole text regardless whether it is (part of) a paragraph or split into multiple paragraphs. In English direct speech the left quotation mark is often repeated at each subsequent paragraph.

Section 1.3 says "Unlike in German, there is no space around a slash." That's just as in German - at least as long as the slash is used at word level. It is incorrect to spell "a cat and / or a dog"; and it is incorrect to spell "eine Katze und / oder einen Hund".

I wonder why the section on the ampersand is included there. Apparently, the only difference is that you must not use the ampersand in German except as a part of a company name.
In section 1.5 on the ellipsis I am missing some hint on when to place space around it.
Gerd
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I read in sci.lang.translation that LEE Sau Dan wrote (in (Email Removed)) about 'Guide for German writers of English', on Fri, 13 Feb 2004:
BTW, for the first example on the last page of the PDF file on "bzw.", I think the following are ... floor, respectively. Please press button 1 or 2 if you want to go to the first or second (resp.) floor.

But we DON'T abbreviate 'respectively to 'resp.' in English.

'Beziehungsweise' and 'mussen (nicht)' are the two German words that give me most trouble when trying to edit English texts written by German native speakers for IEC and CENELEC standards.

Regards, John Woodgate, OOO - Own Opinions Only.
The good news is that nothing is compulsory.
The bad news is that everything is prohibited.
http://www.jmwa.demon.co.uk Also see http://www.isce.org.uk
I work in a German research centre, and as one of only two native English speakers, I'm frequently called upon ... have a look over it and offer any suggestions for additions or changes. The PDF version is available here: http://www.dfki.uni-kl.de/~miller/publications/advice.pdf

Interesting list, thank you. Parts of your list could have been written for me . Two short notes, the first regarding quotation marks. If a sentence is continued after the trailing quotation mark, you will (usually? always?) have the comma first, then the quotation mark. In German, if there is a comma, it would be the other way round. See the middle line below.
Then you write >Unlike in German, there is no space around a slash.< Hmm, is there one in German? If I "want a cat and/or a dog", I write "Ich möchte eine Katze und/oder einen Hund".
(PS: I read europa.linguas but not a.u.e, and I do not want a pet.)

Christian
John Woodgate schrieb:
BTW, for the first example on the last page of ... want to go to the first or second (resp.) floor.

But we DON'T abbreviate 'respectively to 'resp.' in English. 'Beziehungsweise' and 'mussen (nicht)' are the two German words that give me most trouble when trying to edit English texts written by German native speakers for IEC and CENELEC standards.

Ah, indeed! Mustn't vs. needn't should definitely be in the guide.

Another worthwile addition would be it's vs. its

Cheers
Stefan
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more