Schildkröte

English translation: chelonian

12:18 Oct 27, 2004
German to English translations [PRO]
Science - Zoology / US usage
German term or phrase: Schildkröte
I am currently translating specifications for specialty pet outlets in US English and would like to ask for advice on a problem I am having.

In UK English, "Schildkröte" can mean two things: a turtle is "Seeschildkröte" and a tortoise is "Landschildkröte". However, I have heard that the usage is more interchangeable in US English and internet research has suggested the same. My question is: (a) is this true and (b) is it normal US usage simply to call them all "turtles"?

Any input appreciated!

Thanks


Ian
IanW (X)
Local time: 12:21
English translation:chelonian
Explanation:
"Chelonian" appears to be the "Überbegriff" for turtles and tortoises. I admit, it's a little fancy, but your texts seem to be oriented towards experts (worried about amoeba-carriers and the like) and what you could do is introduce the word at the beginning of your text, something like "Chelonians, the collective term for turtles and tortoises, are blahblah..." I do think they are talking about *both* in the sentence you mentioned. Some use "chelonia" for the plural.

http://www.herper.com/reptiles/turtles.html
Snakes - Lizards - Chelonians - Crocodilians - Amphisbaenids - Tuataras
[then a list of various turtles & tortoises)

http://www.vetnet.co.uk/chelonia.html
[with an interesting description of UK/US differences]
Selected response from:

Michele Johnson
Germany
Local time: 12:21
Grading comment
In the end, I took Michele's advice and wrote "chelonians - i.e. tortoises and turtles - ..." for the first usage in each section. Many thanks to Michele and everyone else who contributed.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +3turtle
vhz
3 +3see answer
msherms
3 +2turtle/tortoise
gangels
3chelonian
Michele Johnson


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Schildkröte
turtle


Explanation:
According to Webster:
any reptile of the order Chelonia, comprising aquatic and terrestrial species having the trunk enclosed in a shell consisting of a dorsal carapace and a ventral plastron.

vhz
Local time: 12:21

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Searlait: see for example Sting : the dream of the blue Turtle
9 mins

agree  John Speese: Yes, just turtle, it's all-inclusive, and most of the turtles sold as pets in the USA were pond turtles such as chrysemmys, chlemmys, etc. (sliders, painted and spotted turtles, etc.)
21 hrs

agree  Erik Macki: Yes. Taxonomically, tortoises (family Testitudinae) are actually a *kind* of turtle (order Testudines). In other words, "turtle" is the general term; tortoise is a more specific term. I'm not sure U.K. English is different on this point.
1 day 5 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Schildkröte
see answer


Explanation:
I am American..

Usage is rather interchangeable and you are right that sometimes turtle is just used. Tortoise refers more to land or freshwater animals and turtle to sea-turtles. However, in general everday usage, we are not very exact in distinquishing. I think that in US English you can safely think of them as synonyms
Below you will find an excerpt from www.dictionary.com


\Tor"toise\, n. [OE. tortuce, fr. OF. tortis crooked, fr. L. tortus isted, crooked, contorted, p. p. of torquere, tortum, to wind; cf. F. tortue tortoise, LL. tortuca, tartuca, Pr. tortesa crookedness, tortis crooked. so called in allusion to its crooked feet. See Torture.] 1. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of reptiles of the order Testudinata.

Note: The term is applied especially to the land and fresh-water species, while the marine species are generally called turtles, but the terms tortoise and turtle are used synonymously by many writers. see Testudinata, Terrapin, and Turtle.

2. (Rom. Antiq.) Same as Testudo, 2.

Box tortoise, Land tortoise, etc. See under Box, Land, etc.

Painted tortoise. (Zo["o]l.) See Painted turtle, under Painted.

Soft-shell tortoise. (Zo["o]l.) See Trionyx.

Spotted tortoise. (Zo["o]l.) A small American fresh-water tortoise (Chelopus, or Nanemys, quttatus) having a blackish carapace on which are scattered round yellow spots.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 mins (2004-10-27 12:32:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definition/english...

Here is an extensive link on the definition (American) of turtle. Tortoise is listed as a synonym

msherms
Local time: 12:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Michele Johnson: Ian, I think you are definitely going to have to differentiate (even for us 'mericans). A 12-year old may not know the difference, but pet stores certainly do. Google for instance Petsmart and turtle.
29 mins
  -> thanks

agree  lindaellen
38 mins
  -> thanks

agree  Hilary Davies Shelby: with Michele,although I have only heard "turtle" in common usage in the US (mind you, I have to admit to not having very many conversations about tortoises!), I think the differentiation is important in this context
4 hrs
  -> In Maryland (where I come from) I have heard tortoise often....
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
turtle/tortoise


Explanation:
I am not a zoologist and your definition is correct, of course. In the US, turtle is the common word, like a child in a zoo would exclaim 'look at that turtle', regardless. Probably because turtle is easier to pronounce than is tortoise.

A totally unscientific notion, on the other hand, is of a turtle being small, a tortoise being large.


gangels
Local time: 04:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  cologne
46 mins

agree  davidgreen: I'm American and would have continued to think turtles are small and tortoises are the ones in the ocean if my british girlfriend hadn't set me straight.
1 hr
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 day 21 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Schildkröte
chelonian


Explanation:
"Chelonian" appears to be the "Überbegriff" for turtles and tortoises. I admit, it's a little fancy, but your texts seem to be oriented towards experts (worried about amoeba-carriers and the like) and what you could do is introduce the word at the beginning of your text, something like "Chelonians, the collective term for turtles and tortoises, are blahblah..." I do think they are talking about *both* in the sentence you mentioned. Some use "chelonia" for the plural.

http://www.herper.com/reptiles/turtles.html
Snakes - Lizards - Chelonians - Crocodilians - Amphisbaenids - Tuataras
[then a list of various turtles & tortoises)

http://www.vetnet.co.uk/chelonia.html
[with an interesting description of UK/US differences]

Michele Johnson
Germany
Local time: 12:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
In the end, I took Michele's advice and wrote "chelonians - i.e. tortoises and turtles - ..." for the first usage in each section. Many thanks to Michele and everyone else who contributed.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



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.

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:

Your current localization setting

English

Select a language

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