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Question

English translation: him/her (combination)

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14:41 Mar 16, 2002
German to English translations [PRO]
Education / Pedagogy / Education
German term or phrase: Question
I'm translating a text, urging parents to put their child in kindergarten. The term "das Kind" and its corresponding pronoun "es" is used all the time, but I'm loath to translate the pronoun with "it". Can I use just "he", or must it be "he/she"? Is it legitimate to circumvent the problem by using "children" and "they"? Is there any conventional wisdom on this? I looked up Child Psychology websites, but even there I find no standard way of usage. Olav
Olav Rixen
Canada
Local time: 17:32
English translation:him/her (combination)
Explanation:
I would use a combination. There are times when 'your children/children' may be suitable but if this a text speaking directly to the parents, they may have only one child.
ie. It is proven that children are happier when in the company of other children their age.
BUT:
If your child is experiencing learning difficulties, you should help him/her to .... (more personal)
In this case, I would use him/her and defintitely avoid 'it' or just 'he'.
If you look up 'your child' in a search engine, you'll see lots of examples.

Selected response from:

xxxAnneM
Local time: 02:32
Grading comment
Thanks, Ann! I wound up using a combination of "children - they" for "Das Kind - es" and "your child - he/she" for "Ihr Kind - es". Thanks also to everyone who answered! Olav
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +3him/her (combination)xxxAnneM
4 +1circumventing is one good solution
Kim Metzger
5 -1children / they
Alexander Schleber
4Being a parent myself....Antje Ruppert


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
circumventing is one good solution


Explanation:
The site below provides several solutions. One good one is to use the plural - they. But I would always say children - they and never child - they. I'm old-fashioned that way.


    Reference: http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/genderneutral.html
Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 19:32
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 879

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Hartmut Lau: You are facing the old "Spannungsfeld" between being faithful to the source language text and writing good target language text. Skip all the arguments on the topic and simply use your own good professional judgement!can good
7 mins
  -> Yes, but she's asking for assistance in forming a professional judgment.

agree  Eva Blanar
14 mins
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Being a parent myself....


Explanation:
Being a parent myself and having read the available literature in books, magazines, publications etc. I have seen that sometimes he and sometimes she is used.
That way it is somewhat personalized and yet all inclusive.

Check a magazine like Parenting for instance.'m sure thye have a website.

HTH,

Antje



Antje Ruppert
United States
Local time: 20:32
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19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
him/her (combination)


Explanation:
I would use a combination. There are times when 'your children/children' may be suitable but if this a text speaking directly to the parents, they may have only one child.
ie. It is proven that children are happier when in the company of other children their age.
BUT:
If your child is experiencing learning difficulties, you should help him/her to .... (more personal)
In this case, I would use him/her and defintitely avoid 'it' or just 'he'.
If you look up 'your child' in a search engine, you'll see lots of examples.



xxxAnneM
Local time: 02:32
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thanks, Ann! I wound up using a combination of "children - they" for "Das Kind - es" and "your child - he/she" for "Ihr Kind - es". Thanks also to everyone who answered! Olav

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kim Metzger: Yes, in this particular case your approach makes good sense.
13 mins

agree  Thomas Bollmann
48 mins

neutral  Anne-Carine Zimmer: Hmm - why would it be so bad to just say "Wenn Ihr Kind ...Probleme hat, sollten Sie ihm helfen... Since Kind comes with the gender 'das' (whether that is good or not) it never offends German speakers in general since it is a 'normal/logical' grammar form
1 hr
  -> I'm not sure what you are saying?? That it is okay in German to use 'ihm'? of course but English is a different matter I think in this case as there is no 'grammatical gender'

agree  Eckhard Boehle: good point!
3 hrs
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
children / they


Explanation:
As Kim has already suggested, I would use the plural and they, except in those cases where a reference is made to several children and a single child within the same context.

"das Kind an sich" = children as such
"wenn ein Kind" = if a child -> but can just as easily and correctly be translated as "if children" (depending onthe further context).

"das Kind" is here seemingly used as a category or type (i.e. in the plural sense) and the same would be true for "ein Kind". Since the advice probably is intended for "all children".

HTH

Alexander Schleber
Belgium
Local time: 02:32
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Eckhard Boehle: how can you say '"das Kind" is here seemingly used as a category or type' without knowing the whole text?
3 hrs
  -> How can oyu say I am wrong, without having seen the whole text?!
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