Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Is the use of "texts" (versus "text") acceptable?
Thread poster: lbone

lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:23
English to Chinese
+ ...
Jan 4, 2009

I found "texts" has been widely used by many translators, even many to-English translators.

In the Microsoft official documents I often refer to, I found Microsoft strictly prohibits the use of 'texts'.

Search results (in my Microsoft documentation resource library):
Search complete. found 'texts' 1 time(s).
Search complete. found 'text' 11357 time(s).

In Microsoft official web site, however, the ratio is somewhat larger, about 1:100 (1,630:193,000). This might be because many articles in the Microsoft site were by English native or non-English native technical writers and not reviewed by linguists. Anyway, this ratio still reveals the fact that Microsoft does not suggest the use of 'texts'.

However, in New York Times web site (www.nytimes.com), I found 9,870 records of 'texts' and 68,800 results for 'text'. This does show New York Times editors can accept the use of 'texts'.

'Texts' also appears in ProZ.com. I found some in the BrowniZ breakdown report.

In ProZ.com job system, I remember I saw 'softwares' in the job/quote description (by ProZ.com, not by a poster). But this is another topic.

I hope some English natives can give an opinion about the use of 'texts'.

BTW, is there an English language forum? I found many non-English language forums on this site, but I cannot find a forum called English or English Language forum.

[Edited at 2009-01-04 16:09 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-01-05 14:46 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:23
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
In this case, consider the context Jan 4, 2009

"Softwares" is an abomination that will mark someone as a non-native user of English very quickly, but there is no problem with "texts" if it is used properly in context. I would not use the plural form referring to text in a single document, and I might very well use the singular "text" to refer collectively to the content of multiple documents ("the text of these documents shows...") while alternatively using the plural ("these texts show...").

Do you have some specific examples of usage in mind?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

RichardDeegan
Local time: 23:23
Spanish to English
No problem with texts Jan 4, 2009

I am quite comfortable with texts, and have been using and reading it for years, in the context of different documents (never within a single document), such as "many early texts...."
"Softwares" is indeed an abomination, and ProZ's constant posting of "trainings" for "training" or "training sessions" grates worse than a fingernail on a blackboard.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:23
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
I second that Jan 4, 2009

RichardDeegan wrote:
... ProZ's constant posting of "trainings" for "training" or "training sessions" grates worse than a fingernail on a blackboard.


Yes, "trainings" is an offensive abuse of the English language, and ProZ would do well to eliminate it from the site vocabulary.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Softwares Jan 4, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
"Softwares" is an abomination that will mark someone as a non-native user of English very quickly...


Well, I don't care. What's the alternative, after all? Pieces of software? If it is vital to let your reader know that you're talking about multiple products.

Well, if you'll excuse me, I have two breads waiting for me in the oven. I see the Wikipedia article on bread uses the plural quite a lot, though usually in the sense of "types of bread", not "multiple loaves of bread".


[Edited at 2009-01-04 13:07 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:23
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Applications Jan 4, 2009

To indicate multiple pieces of software, you say applications, software packages, or software suites. Not softwares.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:23
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Definitions Jan 4, 2009

Looking at "text" in my English dictionary, I find:

1. the words or wording of something written or printed
2. the words of a speech appearing in print
3. the formal content of a printed work
4. an author's original wording as opposed to a translation, revision, or condensation
5. a topic or theme
6. a reference used as the starting point of a discussion
7. a textbook

For many of these, they are frequently used in plural. Microsoft is within its rights to strictly prohibit the use of "texts" in its documents, but that does not bind anyone else in texts that aren't being produced by Microsoft.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:23
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
"house style" Jan 4, 2009

Microsoft is completely free to prohibit the use of "texts" in their publications. This is a matter of house style and it reflects a policy that has been established to maintain consistency when there are many potentially valid alternatives. I've worked for publishers, for example, that prefer "toward" or "indexes," even though "towards" and "indices" are perfectly valid alternative spellings.

As to software, Merriam-Webster defines it as:

something used or associated with and usu. contrasted with hardware, as (a) the entire set of programs, procedures, and related documentation associated with a system and especially a computer system; specifically: computer programs and (b) materials for use with audiovisual equipment

So it appears to be a sort of mass noun (as is its predecessor, hardware!)--of the specific sort known as "singulare tantum"--that is, that appears only in the singular, along with words like wealth or dust.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:23
Chinese to English
+ ...
Both countable and uncountable Jan 4, 2009

lbone,

The word "text" falls in the same category as "work". In most instances the word "text" is uncountable. But sometimes it is.

Kathryn is correct to say that Microsoft is at its own discretion to define what kind of English is to be used in its own publications.

Here's a link that shows a few nouns that are both countable and uncountable.

http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/nouns-un-countable_3.htm



[Edited at 2009-01-05 02:35 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:23
Chinese to English
+ ...
Countable Jan 5, 2009

"Can you help me review a text?" - here text refers to something like a manuscript.

"Can you help me review these text?" is very awkward English, if not completely wrong.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:23
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 5, 2009

Thank you Kevin, Richard, Samuel, Mikhail, Paul, Kathryn and Steve! I got it.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pavle Perencevic  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:23
Member (2002)
Serbian to English
+ ...
Both uncountable and countable Jan 5, 2009

Eight times out of ten, "text" is either uncountable (as in "five pages of text") or singular preceded by the definite article (as in "the text was quite technical"). "A text" these days is most likely a text message sent via cell phone ("I just received a text from so and so..."). Other than that, you will encounter "a text" or "texts" (pieces of text) in more or less literary contexts.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
This is all.... Jan 5, 2009

....very interesting informations buddies!



Direct link Reply with quote
 

matstrish
Local time: 06:23
Swedish to English
Texts Jan 5, 2009

Very interesting discussion, especially from Kevin and Kathryn. Translating to English has its pitfalls when you live in a foreign country "too long". My English has "gone native" to a large extent.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:23
Member (2007)
German to English
softwares, trainings, informations, yuck Jan 8, 2009

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

To indicate multiple pieces of software, you say applications, software packages, or software suites. Not softwares.


Yep, this is the way I always express it.

I keep seeing "trainings", but until now, I've never heard anyone object to it. To me, it's right up there with using "then" when "than" is meant; it's barbaric. The same applies to informations.

Oddly, and interestingly, the German for a load of bread is "ein Brot" (a bread). After a modicum of thought, however, "loaf of bread" seemed odd instead. What other unit of bread is there really that would fit the pattern "x of bread"? If there isn't any, why not just say: "I bought a bread at the store today"?

"Texts", though, seems fine to me in the contexts described elsewhere in this thread.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Maria Castro[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Is the use of "texts" (versus "text") acceptable?

Advanced search


Translation news





WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs