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sein Beruf

English translation: their profession

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:sein Beruf
English translation:their profession
Entered by: Kim Metzger
Options:
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- Include in personal glossary

08:20 Aug 28, 2001
German to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial
German term or phrase: sein Beruf
This is a style question. I'm doing a translation of a human resources document and can see it coming that I'll be faced with dozens of he/she must ..., his/her profession, etc. I'm terribly old-fashioned in this regard. I hate to destroy good prose with this kind of thing. I would like to propose to the client that we add a footnote to the effect that he, his, etc. always refers to both sexes. Can someone recommend standard phrasing to this effect?
Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 02:26
some additional possibilities
Explanation:
As mentioned above they/their/theirs is a good solution, supposedly even in combination with singular pronouns like "anyone" i.e. "If anyone can tell me the answer to this question they will win $100". I am so old that I don't like such sentences but they avoid the problem you mention and have come into general acceptance.

Another possibility to mix into your translation are the words "one" and "one's".

And a third is the use of general terms like "the worker/the worker's", "a clerk/a clerk's", "an employee/an employee's", etc.

Although there is not much that can be done with "her/him" or "hers/his", "she/he" can often also be shortened to "s/he" (over 400,000 Google hits) nowadays, especially in HR documents, which can rarely be classified as "good prose".

The last point is, as Mats probably meant, is that one has to be careful with "profession", "job" and "occupation" as translations for "Beruf". Roughly 90% of German "Berufe" are "occupations", "trades" or "vocations" in English, maybe 10% are "professions" and none are "jobs".

HTH

Dan
Selected response from:

Dan McCrosky
Local time: 09:26
Grading comment
Everybody agreed that the plural pronoun, etc. is the solution, and I guess I'll just have to go with the flow. Thanks Dan for the other suggestions to get around the problem. The customer must be satisfied!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
na +3their jobs
Gillian Searl
na +2'their profession'shaun samson
nathey/their/theirs
Roland Grefer
nasome additional possibilitiesDan McCrosky
nahere are two websites that support the 'they/their' choiceshaun samson
natheir profession
Codrut Tudor


  

Answers


12 mins peer agreement (net): +3
their jobs


Explanation:
a common solution is to make it plural - therefore avoiding all references to male/female.

Gillian Searl
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 126

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Rebekka Groß
0 min

agree  Alexander Schleber: The easiest solution
10 mins

agree  Astrid Elke Witte
4 hrs
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14 mins peer agreement (net): +2
'their profession'


Explanation:
You might want to state all he/she references in the plural. This avoids the irritating 'he/she' construction and this technique was standard practice in writing mechanics at Columbia University, where I went to college.

shaun samson
Germany
Local time: 09:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 7

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mats Wiman: Better: 'Beruf'=profession
17 mins

agree  AngieD
31 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

17 mins
here are two websites that support the 'they/their' choice


Explanation:
hope this helps a bit


    Reference: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/they.html
    Reference: http://www.lineone.net/dictionaryof/englishusage/d0082186.ht...
shaun samson
Germany
Local time: 09:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 7
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

20 mins
their profession


Explanation:
It is an academic solution in order to avoid the cumbersome constructions such as he/she, etc. Although the meaning seems to be plural, the real menaing is singular, as implied by the context. If your context is masculine(as it is the case, as "sein" is a masculine determinant)then the gender will be taken as masculine, it it is feminine it will be taken as feminine.


    Quirk, R, Leech, G, -A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Longman, UK, 1987
Codrut Tudor
Romania
Local time: 10:26
Native speaker of: Native in RomanianRomanian
PRO pts in pair: 4
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr
some additional possibilities


Explanation:
As mentioned above they/their/theirs is a good solution, supposedly even in combination with singular pronouns like "anyone" i.e. "If anyone can tell me the answer to this question they will win $100". I am so old that I don't like such sentences but they avoid the problem you mention and have come into general acceptance.

Another possibility to mix into your translation are the words "one" and "one's".

And a third is the use of general terms like "the worker/the worker's", "a clerk/a clerk's", "an employee/an employee's", etc.

Although there is not much that can be done with "her/him" or "hers/his", "she/he" can often also be shortened to "s/he" (over 400,000 Google hits) nowadays, especially in HR documents, which can rarely be classified as "good prose".

The last point is, as Mats probably meant, is that one has to be careful with "profession", "job" and "occupation" as translations for "Beruf". Roughly 90% of German "Berufe" are "occupations", "trades" or "vocations" in English, maybe 10% are "professions" and none are "jobs".

HTH

Dan


Dan McCrosky
Local time: 09:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1541
Grading comment
Everybody agreed that the plural pronoun, etc. is the solution, and I guess I'll just have to go with the flow. Thanks Dan for the other suggestions to get around the problem. The customer must be satisfied!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

12 hrs
they/their/theirs


Explanation:
It appears that the above has become an acceptable "politically correct" alternative.

Roland Grefer
Local time: 03:26
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 231
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