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rode draad

English translation: common theme, common thread

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Dutch term or phrase:rode draad
English translation:common theme, common thread
Entered by: Bryan Crumpler
Options:
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03:51 Oct 21, 2002
Dutch to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial
Dutch term or phrase: rode draad
Het aantal gegevens hiervan (benchmarking) is voldoende voor het ontwikkelen van een rode draad.

Heet dit in het Engels ook een "red thread" of moet ik het zoeken in de richting van "common denominator" of iets dergelijks?
Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 11:58
anything figurative to denote a "common theme" works...
Explanation:
Just be creative... It's a matter of writing style in my opinion, but there are some expressions that we hear more often in English. 'red thread', unfortunately, isn't really one of them. Maybe so in the business world, but I've never heard of it except as a reference to lawn disease (pink patch).

Just my 2 cents.

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Note added at 2002-10-21 09:38:14 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Retracting statement on Sven to neutral -> I can see how \"running like a red thread\" would imply a central theme based on your sailors story, but to say \"_developing_ a red thread\" would be awkward, don\'t you think? I say this primarily because diseases \"develop\"... threads \"run\"...and considering the source, I think using \"het ontwikkelen\" for \"running\" would be a bit of a stretch.

Goes to show how good references in your original post are needed - before public opinion is at play. But honestly... \"red thread\" we don\'t hear very often. Just from a native standpoint... kinda like my friends getting on me for saying \"klaarblijkelijk\" instead of \"ja, da\'s duidelijk\" when I want to be sarcastic and say \"yeah, duh... that\'s SO obvious\".
Selected response from:

Bryan Crumpler
United States
Local time: 13:58
Grading comment
I think common theme or common thread (as suggested by David) will work fine in this context. Thanks to all for your elaborate answers/references.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +2[ re 'red thread' ]
Chris Hopley
4 +2common denominator
Dave Greatrix
5 +1anything figurative to denote a "common theme" works...
Bryan Crumpler
4 +1Common purpose or goalxxxjarry
5leitmotiv/thread
Henk Peelen
5 -2red thread
Sven Petersson
4 -1story line
Jos Essers


  

Answers


12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
leitmotiv/thread


Explanation:
volgens Van Dale (onder draad)

Henk Peelen
Netherlands
Local time: 19:58
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch
PRO pts in pair: 756

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Sven Petersson: "rode draad" and "red thread" has a double meaning that is lost when you use the van Dale translation.
43 mins
  -> I wonder if this double meaning is desired

agree  Bryan Crumpler: could work... leitmotiv is a musical term for "leading motive" or "central theme". Don't know if it works in a business sense though, though it's just as figurative as 'common denominator'... only that's math. Anything but red thread. It's a lawn disease
1 hr

neutral  Chris Hopley: Wel voor literatuur of muziek, maar IMO niet echt bruikbaar in de zakelijke sfeer.
4 hrs
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -2
red thread


Explanation:
Was invented by the British Navy. "rode draad" is a translation from English!!!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-21 04:28:34 (GMT)
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From http://www.bergsoe4.dk/eng/introduktion.html :

\"Introduction
In the old days, a red thread was woven through all rope belonging to the Royal Navy. In the event that any rope was lost or stolen, the latter being a more frequent occurrence, it would be obvious who the owner was. It was thus also common knowledge that rope interwoven with a red thread was of a high quality.\"


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-21 09:33:21 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

My esteemed colleagues “disagree” and answers demonstrate the dangers of circular translations.
The origin is the expression “red thread” from the Royal Navy.
The figurative meaning in British English is \"continuity\" AND \"quality\".
The expression was translated into Dutch with the identical meaning.
Closing the circle one MUST end up with \"red thread\", or a “modern” expression that communicates the same.
The discussion reminds me of the \"Rittmeister\" who after a few circular translations became \"Leutnant, Kapitän zur See\".


Sven Petersson
Sweden
Local time: 19:58
Native speaker of: Native in SwedishSwedish, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 346

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nadia Ellis: I would go for red thread
30 mins
  -> Thank you very much!

disagree  Dave Greatrix: I obviously do not disagree with the literal translation, but with its use in this sentence.
38 mins
  -> A Google search on "runs like a red thread" may convince you.

disagree  Bryan Crumpler: if you use "red thread," most people over here in the states who know the term would think you're talking about pink patch disease as opposed to "common denominator". Common den. would be just as figurative w.r.t. mathematics.
1 hr
  ->  A Google search on "runs like a red thread" may convince you.

disagree  Chris Hopley: "In the old days" are the operative words here. The phrase is definitely not (or no longer) used in its figurative sense in English.
4 hrs
  ->  A Google search on "runs like a red thread" may convince you.
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41 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
common denominator


Explanation:
Tina, I think your other idea is a safer bet.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-21 04:40:38 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I have never heard of the expression \"red thread\" in my lifetime, to describe a common denominator. However, I have heard of the expression \"a common thread\". Maybe you could use that.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-21 04:43:46 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

AT&T US Olympic Sponsorship: Family Story
... his own international skating career.\". It\'s a common thread, this sense
of ability and disability. Philip\'s brother Paul found skating ...
www.att.com/olympics/day_06/family_day_6.html - 12k - 20 Oct 2002 - Cached - Similar pages

DallasNews.com | Dallas-Fort Worth | Sports: Garland
... Sports: Garland. Winning way is common thread SGP transfer can\'t resist
chance to play football again at Grace Prep. 08/31/2002. By ...
www.dallasnews.com/sports/city/grandprairie/ stories/083102dnarlprivate.a915.html


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-21 05:00:15 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

\"establish a red thread\" 0 Google hits.
\"establish a common thread\" 28 Google hits.




Dave Greatrix
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:58
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 1747

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Sven Petersson: See above!
15 mins
  -> I have seen above Sven, and I still say that this is not an expression still used for this purpose in everyday English

agree  Bryan Crumpler: something figurative to denote "common thread", "common denominator" works to essentially imply a "central or common theme" of sorts
1 hr

agree  Chris Hopley
4 hrs

agree  Jason Roberts
15 days
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
anything figurative to denote a "common theme" works...


Explanation:
Just be creative... It's a matter of writing style in my opinion, but there are some expressions that we hear more often in English. 'red thread', unfortunately, isn't really one of them. Maybe so in the business world, but I've never heard of it except as a reference to lawn disease (pink patch).

Just my 2 cents.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-21 09:38:14 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Retracting statement on Sven to neutral -> I can see how \"running like a red thread\" would imply a central theme based on your sailors story, but to say \"_developing_ a red thread\" would be awkward, don\'t you think? I say this primarily because diseases \"develop\"... threads \"run\"...and considering the source, I think using \"het ontwikkelen\" for \"running\" would be a bit of a stretch.

Goes to show how good references in your original post are needed - before public opinion is at play. But honestly... \"red thread\" we don\'t hear very often. Just from a native standpoint... kinda like my friends getting on me for saying \"klaarblijkelijk\" instead of \"ja, da\'s duidelijk\" when I want to be sarcastic and say \"yeah, duh... that\'s SO obvious\".

Bryan Crumpler
United States
Local time: 13:58
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 264
Grading comment
I think common theme or common thread (as suggested by David) will work fine in this context. Thanks to all for your elaborate answers/references.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chris Hopley
2 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
story line


Explanation:
why would story-line not do??

Jos Essers
Local time: 19:58
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Dave Greatrix: Ay??
3 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Common purpose or goal


Explanation:
is what I would suggest here, the more so since we are concerned with benchmarking.

xxxjarry
South Africa
Local time: 19:58
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 3855

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chris Hopley
15 mins
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12 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
[ re 'red thread' ]


Explanation:
I think David's response to Sven's posting sums up the 'red thread' situation best: as a translation of 'rode draad', 'red thread' is fine at a simple level, but simply not appropriate here. It just doesn't fit into the sentence without excessive shoe-horning.

The example cited by Sven, "runs like a red thread", seems to be typical of the actual use of "red thread" in English, i.e. it's always used in a simile. To go along with this usage, the best we could do with Tina's sentence is something like:

'... voldoende voor het ontwikkelen van een rode draad' = 'sufficient to develop [something] that runs through [whatever] like a read thread'

Unfortunately, there are just too many blanks to fill in before we can do this successfully. So we need to find a viable alternative along the lines of 'common thread' (David's answer), 'common theme' (Crumpler) or even Jarry's 'common goal', which IMO extracts the actual meaning from the rather hackneyed 'rode draad'.

I think the native speaker instinct to steer clear of 'red thread' is one that should be taken seriously. We're all native speakers of one language or another and as such we instinctively know when a word is out of place. As Crumpler suggests with his 'klaarblijkelijk', it's more often not so much a question of 'good grammar' or syntax, but rather one of idiom. And only a native speaker or a skilled habitual user of a language (I deliberately avoid the misleading term 'near native' here) can accurately judge good idiom.

Chris Hopley
Netherlands
Local time: 19:58
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 2117

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Dave Greatrix: Good point, well put, Chris
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Dave!

agree  xxxjarry: You are very good at putting it all in a nutshell! Let the message be heard loudly and clearly.
15 hrs
  -> Thanks, Jarry!
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