Rendering an English adjective in German which relates to two or more nouns of different gender
Thread poster: satranslations

satranslations
Local time: 11:07
English to German
Jan 29, 2009

Hi

In my translations from English into German I often come across the following problem: there is one English adjective relating to two or more nouns that follow which have a different gender. I best explain this in an example:

English: "xy is a sophisticated approach and model"

German: Is it

a) ein ausgeklügelter Ansatz und Modell (this somehow does not sound correct)
b) ein ausgeklügelter Ansatz und ein ausgeklügeltes Modell (grammatically correct but too long winded and bad style)
c) ein Ansatz und Modell, das ausgeklügelt ist (somehow I am not happy with this either and could be seen as if "ausgeklügelt" only refers to the "Modell")
d) ein ausgeklügelter Ansatz und ein hochentwickeltes Modell (so replacing using two synonymous adjectives)?

I usually choose the latter option but this can become tricky if there is not really an appropriate synonym or if there are more than two nouns. For example, if the English is "a sophisticated approach, model and structure", then finding three different German words for "sophisticated" (as here all three nouns would have a different gender in German) can be tough and would render the whole thing quite long too.

How do you go about it? Please note that the above example is really just made up to illustrate the grammar issue and does not reflect how I might actually translate or choose my words.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:07
German to English
+ ...
KudoZ Jan 30, 2009

Why not post this as an Eng-Ger KudoZ question, using your made-up example as the term you need to translate?

That might show you how others tackle the problem.

Just a thought,
C


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:07
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
some thoughts Jan 31, 2009

Yes, this problem is indeed occurring frequently. Some thoughts about your suggestions:

a) doesn't only somehow sound incorrect, it actually absolutely is
b) indeed correct, and true, it is long, but it in some cases I use this solution
c) really sounds awkward, as you're using the verb in its singular form, while trying to refer to two things. By omitting the article of "Modell", it sounds like "Ansatz und Modell" form an entity, which could be referred to with a singular verb form, but it still sounds strange.
d) this is how I often tackle the problem as well

Most of the time, I take a different approach, though:

Often, you can get away with slight changes in the sentence structure, e.g. "mit ausgeklügeltem Ansatz und Modell", "Ansatz und Modell sind ausgeklügelt", the latter being especially helpful when you have a lot of nouns to take care of.

HTH,
Erik


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:07
French to English
Start with something simple? Jan 31, 2009

satranslations wrote:

In my translations from English into German I often come across the following problem: there is one English adjective relating to two or more nouns that follow which have a different gender. I best explain this in an example:

English: "xy is a sophisticated approach and model"


I should say that I don't speak German, at all, but French presents a similar problem, so I know what you mean, although I don't translate into French.

However, I wondered whether it would help to think of a similar, simpler (in terms of vocabulary) and perhaps not even unusual problem, and see if you can work out the rule from there.
For example, if a child said "I am wearing a blue hat, gloves, coat and shoes", how would you deal with "blue".
Or if the plural makes it complicated, what about blue (or torn, or second-hand, or Italian) hat, shirt, tie, scarf and belt (I hope they are not all the same gender! - if so, make your own example up). Perhaps looking at a simple case will help determine the rule....?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:07
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
no rule Jan 31, 2009

Perhaps looking at a simple case will help determine the rule....?


I don't think there is a rule here. You need some creativity in order to make it sound natural.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:07
German to English
+ ...
Ask a teacher Jan 31, 2009

You were presumably taught German by a teacher who was paid through your parents' taxes. I think that teacher was not doing their job if they did not teach you that point. I am such a teacher and I would say it should be "ein ausgeklügelter Ansatz und (auch) ein ausgeklügeltes Modell". There is not the same taboo against repetition in German as there is in English.

If I'm wrong, it looks like taxpayers' money spent on my 4-year university degree In French and German and subsequent teacher-training course on Secondary French and German were a waste of taxpayers' money, as I was not properly trained myself!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:07
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
only one possibility Jan 31, 2009

Robin Salmon wrote:

I would say it should be "ein ausgeklügelter Ansatz und (auch) ein ausgeklügeltes Modell".


Well, that is indeed one possibility, but certainly not always the best one.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:07
English to German
I agree Feb 1, 2009

that you sometimes must use this structure, when there is no other possibility. However, I think it sounds very awkward in German, perhaps it depends on the actual words themselves?

When I have to deal with such a problem, I prefer to do it as in d) or use another sentence structure as in c).

I don't know what is gramatically the best solution here, but I think that is, how it is mostly done.

Good luck!

Annett


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Rendering an English adjective in German which relates to two or more nouns of different gender

Advanced search







Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



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