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What is the best way to convey acronyms in a text?
Thread poster: zabrowa
zabrowa
Local time: 17:19
Jan 27, 2009

I have some technical material here which alternates between phrases like (1) and (2) below:

(1) The Donkey Processing Unit (DPU) makes great sausage for all.
(2) The TCD (Telephone Connecting Device) is an essential tool for any employee of the sausage factory.

Which is the better way to convey acronyms?
My main concern is consistency.

Thanks!



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-01-27 08:49 GMT]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Either would do Jan 27, 2009

Both forms are equally possible, but as you say, it is better to be consistent.
And I don't think I want to buy any of your client's sausages!


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My Hue McGowran  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:19
Member (2008)
German to English
First version Jan 27, 2009

Hi there,

I'd personally go with the first version (acronym in parentheses AFTER the term). Apart from the immediate mention of the full phrase or term to make clear what you're talking about, you can then use the acronym in subsequent references throughout the text.

Do they really call something a 'Donkey Processing Unit'? Does it refer to the actual animal, or is it just a name? In any case it's a bit offputting in regards to sausage making.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
In my opinion... Jan 27, 2009

...the first one is more correct. After this first instance, it would be OK in my opinion just to use the acronym.

So:
"The Donkey Processing Unit (DPU) makes great sausage for all. Within the DPU, donkeys are taught to count to ten before entering the factory."


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
English to Arabic
+ ...
First is more common Jan 27, 2009

Agree with My Hue - first option is more common, especially if it's the first occurence of the term and you intend to only use the acronym from this point on.

I think it may occasionally make more sense to go for the second option, e.g. if the use of the acronym is much more widespread and people may not actually know what it stands for. You can easily get away with only mentioning the acronym, but you decide to add a clarification between brackets anyway. E.g. " a CGI (short for Common Gateway Interface) is a [whatever it is]"


... And I'm relieved to say that a Google search for "donkey processing unit" only produced one search result, namely this discussion. >phew<

[Edited at 2009-01-27 10:12 GMT]


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Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:19
French to English
I agree Jan 27, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...the first one is more correct. After this first instance, it would be OK in my opinion just to use the acronym.

So:
"The Donkey Processing Unit (DPU) makes great sausage for all. Within the DPU, donkeys are taught to count to ten before entering the factory."


I agree entirely.

I have actually tasted donkey sausage, produced in the south of France. I can't say I'm in any hurry to repeat the experience, but my hosts considered it a great delicacy!


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:19
German to English
+ ...
most (NA) style guides say... Jan 27, 2009

...on the first occurrence of an abbreviation or acronym, state the term in full followed by the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses, and then use the abbreviation or acronym by itself afterward.

This agrees with what others have said above: use the first form consistently.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Ken Cox Jan 27, 2009



Liz Askew


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Poor donkeys!!! Jan 27, 2009

Caroline Lakey wrote:
I have actually tasted donkey sausage, produced in the south of France. I can't say I'm in any hurry to repeat the experience, but my hosts considered it a great delicacy!


Oh my goodness!! I hope donkeys are respected in the future. However, I am well aware of the fact that a cow would wonder why we don't eat a donkey but we eat her child!!! I reckon we should all seriously consider a drastic reduction in meat consumption. :-/


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Blanca García-Puente  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
First sample better Feb 5, 2009

I also agree with Ken Cox. In the context of medical translations, I always put the full term first followed by the acronym. Later on in the text, the acronyms tend to appear on their own, so the reader would have always read what they refer to.
Blanca.


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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:19
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
donkey patties? Feb 5, 2009

And here I thought it was the donkeys that were processing the sausages.

Sort of like cow patties, which are distinctly different from beef patties, and you wouldn't want to serve up on a bun.


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