Automotive vs. automobile industry - difference in meaning?
Thread poster: Rebecca Holmes

Rebecca Holmes
United States
Local time: 12:29
German to English
Jun 6, 2005

I used "automotive industry" in a text (German to English) and just had a question from the customer asking if this was really correct. He said as far as he knew "automotive industry" referred to automotive part suppliers and "automobile industry" referred to car makers. Is this correct? I've never heard that before but would be fascinated to learn if it's true!

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:29
German to English
Don't think so... Jun 6, 2005

Hi Rebecca,

AFAIK, it's six of one and half-a-dozen of another. We have an automaker and a supplier as clients, and both refer consistently to the automotive industry. I think that what you would say, though, is "automobile manufacturers", rather than "automotive manufacturers", if you're talking about the automakers themselves.

I guess it's all down to client preference in the end...

Robin


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 18:29
English to German
+ ...
I think your customer is right Jun 6, 2005

Rebecca Holmes-Löffler wrote:

I used "automotive industry" in a text (German to English) and just had a question from the customer asking if this was really correct. He said as far as he knew "automotive industry" referred to automotive part suppliers and "automobile industry" referred to car makers. Is this correct? I've never heard that before but would be fascinated to learn if it's true!
Hi!
In my childhood I have heard of the usage "automobile manufacturer" more than the other phrase. Only since about 1015 years the usage "automotive manufacturers" has established itself. I think automobile manufacturer is also a more british usage. Rgds, Brandis


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
My take Jun 6, 2005

I've always used "automobile" for cars and "automotive" for cars + trucks (+ tractors!). I've never had any compliants so far. As most suppliers deliver to both types of vehicles, I generally use "automotive" unless the customer is only linked to the car industry.

[Edited at 2005-06-06 12:40]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:29
German to English
In the Motor City ... Jun 6, 2005

The "automotive industry" refers to automakers and suppliers alike. The local press calls it the "auto industry." The "automobile industry" when used at all in Detroit generally refers only to automobile manufacturers, but we generally refer to them in the press as "automakers."
Kevin


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:29
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Non-native side notes Jun 6, 2005

Hi Rebecca,

I'd tend to agree with your customer that automotive industry = automotive suppliers, i.e. manufacturers of auto/vehicle parts of any kind (or even parts manufacturers plus car manufacturers), while automobile industry = car manufacturers in the stricter sense. I'm not sure about Gillian's distinction, though.

On a related note, I always thought that automobile was rather AmE (nb. automobile manufacturer - AmE - vs. car manufacturer - BrE).

However, I'm not sure if these concepts/terms are being used more and more interchangeably in the individual "Englishes".

My 2c worth,

Steffen

P.S. Wouldn't that have been a nice EN monolingual KudoZ question?

[Edited at 2005-06-06 12:56]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
German to English
+ ...
Automotive vs. automobile industry - difference in meaning? Jun 6, 2005

Steffen Walter wrote:

On a related note, I always thought that automobile was rather AmE (nb. automobile manufacturer - AmE - vs. car manufacturer - BrE).



It is. The traditional British term is "the motor industry".

However, I'm not sure if these concepts/terms are being used more and more interchangeably in the individual "Englishes".


Agreed. That's why I think "automotive industry" is now an acceptable term even in UK English. I wouldn't use "automobile industry" in UK English, though.

Marc


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:29
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Marc Jun 6, 2005

You might like to quote Enc. Britannica to your client:

Automotive industry
 
All those companies and activities involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, including most components, such as engines and bodies, but excluding tires, batteries, and fuel.


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pidzej  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:29
Polish to English
+ ...
Britannica is US English though Jun 6, 2005

Textklick wrote:

You might like to quote Enc. Britannica to your client:

Automotive industry
 
All those companies and activities involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, including most components, such as engines and bodies, but excluding tires, batteries, and fuel.

and tires instead of tyres proves it quite convincingly I should say.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:29
German to English
+ ...
Britannica is US English though (?) Jun 6, 2005

Sure.

That's not the question under discussion though, if I understand Rebecca correctly.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
I tend to agree with client Jun 6, 2005

Hi,

If you look at the Collins automobile industry is an entry, meaning automobile maker (vehicle manufacturer), the collective name. While automotive, from the same source, could mean automobile maker but a quick google on the term shows that if it does to relate to parts and supplies, approximately the same applies to the motor trade. But you should probably stick to your guns anyway.


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Gareth McMillan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
German to English
+ ...
For what it's worth... Jun 7, 2005

I've worked on projects for Ford, Rover (RIP) and Daimler and they and the myriad of suppliers who feed them seemed to refer to themselves as the "automotive industry". "Automobile-whatever" never really seemed to sit comfortably on the English tongue, IMVHO. And whereas the US used to commonly refer to the horseless carriage as an "auto", the word "car" seems to have made much progress into their vocabulary in recent years.

BTW, is it "miriad" in US? (heehee).


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David Moore  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:29
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Automobiles are cars...(to me...) Jun 12, 2005

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

I've always used "automobile" for cars and "automotive" for cars + trucks (+ tractors!). I've never had any complaints so far. As most suppliers deliver to both types of vehicles, I generally use "automotive" unless the customer is only linked to the car industry.

[Edited at 2005-06-06 12:40]


As a UK ENS, I go along with Gillian 100%.


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gad
United States
Local time: 12:29
Member
French to English
Great thread Jun 21, 2005

I've been doing quite a bit of translation in this field, so thank you for starting this thread, and thank you to all who have responded - very interesting and informative.

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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:29
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
automotive vs. automobile Aug 5, 2005

Rebecca Holmes-Löffler wrote:
I used "automotive industry" in a text (German to English) and just had a question from the customer asking if this was really correct. He said as far as he knew "automotive industry" referred to automotive part suppliers and "automobile industry" referred to car makers. Is this correct?


It all depends on who is using the term. I've given several conference talks in the field to both manufacturers and suppliers, sponsored by the SAE, and the title of the conference was automotive industry:

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 2004. Presentation in the Panel entitled "Localizing Technical Support and Managing Multilingual Warranty Claims". Automotive Track. Localization World Bonn conference, held 30 June - 1 July 2004, Bonn, Germany.

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 2001. Optimizing the Multilingual Documentation Matrix. Invited talk at the 3rd annual Multilingual Documentation for the Automotive Industry SAE TopTec. Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) & ALPNET. Held 18-19 October 2001 in Paris, France.

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 2000. Several case studies on the implementation of Controlled Language, Machine Translation, and/or Translation Memory in Industrial and Corporate Sectors. Invited talk at the 2nd Multilingual Documentation for the Automotive Industry TOPTEC Symposium. Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), held 12-13 October 2000 in Dearborn, Michigan, USA.

ALLEN, Jeffrey. 1999. Implementing Controlled Language and Machine Translation in the automotive industry. Invited talk at the 1st Multilingual Documentation for the Automotive Industry TOPTEC Symposium. Co-sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Localisation Industry Standards Association (LISA), and ALPNET held 21-22 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

This is not necessarilyy an issue of one term being right or wrong, but that variants exist and people can partially or fully use them interchangeably. It sounds like there is a need to create a glossary with the range of terms (automotive industry, automotive engineer, automobile manufacturer, etc) and indicate those which are definitely not used (possibly example of automotive manufacturer), and those which are used less than others.
I've briefly described a technique in doing this in one of my articles on speech and language technologies:
http://www.multilingual.com/allen63.htm

Jeff
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


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