KudoZ home » English to Dutch » Science


Dutch translation: prutswerk


Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
16:18 May 29, 2002
English to Dutch translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase: kluge
We weren't doing research, we were doing kluge work
Bob Koninckx
Dutch translation:prutswerk
Do you not mean: kludge?
Anyway, it means 'prutswerk', making a mess of the work.
Selected response from:

Sigrid Lensink-Damen
Local time: 18:56
Grading comment
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer


Summary of answers provided
5 +3prutswerk
Sigrid Lensink-Damen
5 +1we hebben slechts enkele slimme trucjes toegepast
5..., we waren aan het improviseren.
Leo van Zanten



10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3

Do you not mean: kludge?
Anyway, it means 'prutswerk', making a mess of the work.

Sigrid Lensink-Damen
Local time: 18:56
Native speaker of: Dutch
PRO pts in pair: 17

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxjerryk: a remarkably precise translation
2 mins

agree  Bart B. Van Bockstaele: in computing, it also means prutswerk that does the trick, even if (nearly) no-one really understands why. Of course, the prutsers may well be the ones who do not understand why it does work. ^_^
58 mins

agree  Marijke Mayer: I wholeheartedly agree! Kludge is what it's called in the States! As in 'you're a kludge', my husband once called me that years ago after I spilled something. Just once though :-) I do believe that nowadays the word might be connected to computing.
1 hr
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
we hebben slechts enkele slimme trucjes toegepast

kluge of spellingvariant 'kludge':

sophisticated trick to solve a complicated problem quickly (although crudely - expediency is placed over elegance). Often used to repair e.g. bugs

Good reference:

kluge /klooj/

[from the German `klug', clever; poss. related to Polish `klucz' (a key, a hint, a main point)] 1. n. A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson) device, whether in hardware or software. 2. n. A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner. Often used to repair bugs. Often involves ad-hockery and verges on being a crock. 3. n. Something that works for the wrong reason. 4. vt. To insert a kluge into a program. "I've kluged this routine to get around that weird bug, but there's probably a better way." 5. [WPI] n. A feature that is implemented in a rude manner.

Nowadays this term is often encountered in the variant spelling `kludge'. Reports from old farts are consistent that `kluge' was the original spelling, reported around computers as far back as the mid-1950s and, at that time, used exclusively of hardware kluges. In 1947, the "New York Folklore Quarterly" reported a classic shaggy-dog story `Murgatroyd the Kluge Maker' then current in the Armed Forces, in which a `kluge' was a complex and puzzling artifact with a trivial function. Other sources report that `kluge' was common Navy slang in the WWII era for any piece of electronics that worked well on shore but consistently failed at sea.

However, there is reason to believe this slang use may be a decade older. Several respondents have connected it to the brand name of a device called a "Kluge paper feeder", an adjunct to mechanical printing presses. Legend has it that the Kluge feeder was designed before small, cheap electric motors and control electronics; it relied on a fiendishly complex assortment of cams, belts, and linkages to both power and synchronize all its operations from one motive driveshaft. It was accordingly temperamental, subject to frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to repair -- but oh, so clever! People who tell this story also aver that `Kluge' was the name of a design engineer.

There is in fact a Brandtjen & Kluge Inc., an old family business that manufactures printing equipment - interestingly, their name is pronounced /kloo'gee/! Henry Brandtjen, president of the firm, told me (ESR, 1994) that his company was co-founded by his father and an engineer named Kluge /kloo'gee/, who built and co-designed the original Kluge automatic feeder in 1919. Mr. Brandtjen claims, however, that this was a simple device (with only four cams); he says he has no idea how the myth of its complexity took hold. Other correspondents differ with Mr. Brandtjen's history of the device and his allegation that it was a simple rather than complex one, but agree that the Kluge automatic feeder was the most likely source of the folklore.

TMRC and the MIT hacker culture of the early '60s seems to have developed in a milieu that remembered and still used some WWII military slang (see also foobar). It seems likely that `kluge' came to MIT via alumni of the many military electronics projects that had been located in Cambridge (many in MIT's venerable Building 20, in which TMRC is also located) during the war.

The variant `kludge' was apparently popularized by the Datamation article mentioned above; it was titled "How to Design a Kludge" (February 1962, pp. 30, 31). This spelling was probably imported from Great Britain, where kludge has an independent history (though this fact was largely unknown to hackers on either side of the Atlantic before a mid-1993 debate in the Usenet group alt.folklore.computers over the First and Second Edition versions of this entry; everybody used to think kludge was just a mutation of kluge). It now appears that the British, having forgotten the etymology of their own `kludge' when `kluge' crossed the Atlantic, repaid the U.S. by lobbing the `kludge' orthography in the other direction and confusing their American cousins' spelling!

The result of this history is a tangle. Many younger U.S. hackers pronounce the word as /klooj/ but spell it, incorrectly for its meaning and pronunciation, as `kludge'. (Phonetically, consider huge, refuge, centrifuge, and deluge as opposed to sludge, judge, budge, and fudge. Whatever its failings in other areas, English spelling is perfectly consistent about this distinction.) British hackers mostly learned /kluhj/ orally, use it in a restricted negative sense and are at least consistent. European hackers have mostly learned the word from written American sources and tend to pronounce it /kluhj/ but use the wider American meaning!

Some observers consider this mess appropriate in view of the word's meaning.


Local time: 18:56
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch, Native in FlemishFlemish
PRO pts in pair: 2706

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AAAmedical: ja was ook op die interessante link 'gebotst'
14 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 day6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
..., we waren aan het improviseren.

....defined it as "an ill-assorted collection of poorly-matching parts, forming a distressing whole". It's used in computing and electronics, as you say, for a hastily improvised solution to some fault or bug...

    Reference: http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-klu1.htm
Leo van Zanten
United States
Local time: 09:56
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch
PRO pts in pair: 47
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

Return to KudoZ list

KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.

See also:

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