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they

English translation: they - the company

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10:36 Nov 3, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / reference of a pronoun
English term or phrase: they
The following is one of the definitions included in the glossary of terms published by BSCI [Business Social Compliance Initiative]:



‘’Implementation
For the purposes of the BSCI implementation refers to the range of concrete measures that a company puts into practice or the instruments *they* provide to give practical effect to compliance with the BSCI Code of Conduct.’’

I was wondering if anybody could tell me whether *they* refers to ‘’the company’’ or to ‘’the concrete measures’’?
Grzegorz Mysiński
Poland
Local time: 19:41
English translation:they - the company
Explanation:
if it was the intruments you would probably say "these", or use a different contruction

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Note added at 4 mins (2007-11-03 10:41:23 GMT)
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construction
Selected response from:

Mark Nathan
France
Local time: 19:41
Grading comment
Thanks a lot.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +14they - the company
Mark Nathan
2 +3the measures
Tony M


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +14
they - the company


Explanation:
if it was the intruments you would probably say "these", or use a different contruction

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2007-11-03 10:41:23 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

construction

Mark Nathan
France
Local time: 19:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 40
Grading comment
Thanks a lot.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Noni Gilbert: Yes. In this case the writer could have used "it" also, but the tendency is to use the plural to avoid he/she dilemmas, and also in this case because the company "feels" plural.
1 min

agree  Patricia Townshend
1 min

agree  ahmad65
3 mins

agree  Craig Meulen: Standard GB English to use "they" when referring to a company, the government, a football team etc. US English would prefer 'it'.
5 mins

agree  EdithK
9 mins

agree  Jay Whitten
19 mins

agree  Michael Powers (PhD): Grammatically it should be "it", however this is what is used quite frequently. - Mike :)
21 mins

agree  xxxCMJ_Trans: poor but sadly common English usage.......
45 mins

agree  Jack Doughty
47 mins

agree  Suzan Hamer: and with Craig, standard British Use. A comma after BSCI would make the sentence easier to read . . .
48 mins

agree  V_N
1 hr

agree  Jonathan MacKerron: a comma after BSCI would have helped
3 hrs

agree  Olga Layer
4 hrs

agree  orientalhorizon
2 days14 mins
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56 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +3
the measures


Explanation:
I hate to throw a spanner in the works here, and I think Mark is quite likely right with his answer; however, I just wonder if it isn't more likely that these 'instruments' would be provided by the 'measures', rather than directly by the company itself.

And while I agree that in GB usage we might tend to refer to the company as plural, I do feel that coming as it does immediately after 'the company puts', the sudden switch to the plural sits very awkwardly in this interpretation.

So maybe Asker was right to have a doubt in the first place, i don't honestly think it is quite as clear-cut as it might at first appear.

Tony M
France
Local time: 19:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: agree, and a comma after the 1st "BSCI" would help in clarifying the sentence (but not this point)
51 mins
  -> Thanks, Carol! Yes, indeeed it would help a lot!

agree  Alexander Demyanov: To my eye, very likely.
55 mins
  -> Spasibo, Alexander!

agree  Bernhard Sulzer: yeah, it would be an awkward switch from "it" to "they." Plus, the missing comma doesn't make it any easier.
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Bernhard!

neutral  Richard Benham: You make a good point. However, I think it probably refers to the company (although "it" would be better in this case, to remove the ambiguity), but in any case it doesn't really matter.
6 hrs
  -> Thanks, RB! Yes, I think you and Mark probably ARE right, I just felt it was important to register the doubt. It might matter if someone has to find a way to translate it, and can't keep the original's ambiguity!
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
Non-PRO (2): EdithK, xxxcmwilliams


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