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To space or not to space
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:52
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Jul 9, 2004

This is a minor issue, but I would like to get someones opinion.

Nowadays I often recieve texts, where the exclamation mark has a leading space:

Always observe the security instructions !

Till now I always wrote my translations without this space, but am I too fussy? Sure the additional space serves its purpose, especially with some fonts. Should I start using it?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never seen it Jul 9, 2004

I have never seen it, but to me it seems incorrect to leave a space there.

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:52
Dutch to English
+ ...
Spaces before exclamation marks Jul 9, 2004

Dear Heinrich,

No, in English there should not be a space. Certain languages, however, do put a space before the marks (France?). I receive documents from Belgium that have them (in front of "!" and ":"). I always remove them.

Good luck!
Marijke





[Edited at 2004-07-09 06:39]


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:52
English to French
+ ...
In French, yes! Jul 9, 2004

And to be exact, in France-French

In French-Canada, where I'm from, we do not put a space before the exclamation mark or the colon, to name a few.

As for Belgian or Swiss-French rules, I would think they are the same as the one for France.



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Pee Eff
Germany
Local time: 16:52
English to German
+ ...
I see it too Jul 9, 2004

Hi,

I've seen this too and it's true that this is normal in French. In written French the exclamation mark, question mark, colon and sometimes even the quotation marks are separated by a space. I don't either know if this is a general rule in French.

When I see these things in English texts, sometimes this may be an indication that the text was translated by a French native speaker (or by an English native speaker who has spend a lot of time in a French speaking environment, okay...)

Patrick


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:52
German to English
+ ...
In English I'd leave out the space Jul 9, 2004

I've often seen extra spaces in German - within brackets (at the beginning and end of the bracket) and before colons. When translating the text into English, I always take out the spaces.

Good luck!

Sarah


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Joanne Parker  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:52
German to English
+ ...
Never in correct English! Jul 9, 2004

You never have a space before an exclamation mark, or question mark for that matter, in English. You are perfectly correct not to insert a space between the word and the exclamation mark!

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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:52
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
No spaces in German Jul 9, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:
I've often seen extra spaces in German - within brackets (at the beginning and end of the bracket) and before colons. When translating the text into English, I always take out the spaces.
Sarah


You can take them out in German as well if you'd like to spoil your client


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:52
German to English
+ ...
No Spaces in German ... Jul 9, 2004

Hi Klaus,

I always found that the extra spaces in German looked rather strange, but assumed it was some kind of grammatical rule, as they were so specifically placed. I don't actually translate into German as it isn't my native language, but thanks for the info - you learn something new every day:-)

ATB,

Sarah


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Maurice Thibaux  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:52
English to French
+ ...
The problem is due to the adaptation of typographical rules to computers. Jul 9, 2004

In traditional typography, there should be a 'hair space' before :,:? and !, as well as inside quotes, but, for some reason, computer fonts don't allow you to do that. In some languages - French for instance - a full space is inserted instead before those symbols, but in English it is not. The trouble is that if you did, the line breaks and spellcheck would be affected, and therefore you cannot do it, even if it looks better. In French, I insert a 'non-breaking' space (Ctrl+Shift+Space in Word) to prevent these symbols from being separated and end up orphaned at the start of a line.

In typography, the rule, or the art, is that the spacing should be as even as possible - visually. If you have an eye for style, you might want to select fonts that do not jam the punctuation marks against the letters.


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Selçuk Budak  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
English to Turkish
+ ...
Sometimes, it serves a purpose Jul 9, 2004

Some operators use space before every punctuation mark ( . , ; :, etc.) not because it is a rule, but because they think that there is such a rule.

and sometimes, some "smart" translators (and I have personal experience, believe me!) use it intentionally!

Because such marks are counted as words in MS Word. For example "Behold!" is counted as 1 word in MS Word. But "Behold !" is counted as 2 words.

Try and see ! !


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:52
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Funny! Jul 9, 2004

As I usually get paid by character this does not make much difference, but I didn't expect wordcount would be effected.
Somehow this habit seems to spread, these isolated exclamation mark come to me from different customers (in technical manuals) in German and English.
I cannot think of any other reason than clarity, especially when using Arial-like fonts.
But I'll stick to my habit of removing the spaces.

Thank you all for your postings!

Heinrich

[Edited at 2004-07-09 11:11]


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dear Heinrich, Jul 9, 2004

Definitely no spaces in English. I see it too and always remove them. As a matter of fact, you are right, I often do see them in technical translations. I did not know though that there are spaces in French and have learned something this morning.

Happy translating!
Lucinda


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 11:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
French habit and rule Jul 9, 2004

Hello

I'm guilty! I used to put a space before my marks in French, Spanish and English until somebody told me that it showed that I wasn't native in Spanish if I did that. That was a harsh lesson, I started immediately correcting, but when you have the habit it's hard.

It's true that some spelling softwares will put that space automatically, but they also should recognize the language and put it only in French.

I'm surprised by Marie-Claude's comments because I study in a Canadian University and this rule is also followed there.

Claudia


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:52
Spaces also used in Canadian French Jul 9, 2004

Claudia Iglesias wrote:

I'm surprised by Marie-Claude's comments because I study in a Canadian University and this rule is also followed there.

Claudia



Claudia, you just took the word off my mouth. I was going to point out exactly the same thing (I studied at the Universite de Montreal).


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