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Dr.

English translation: leave it out

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17:43 Dec 23, 2010
German to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Law (general) / Education, specifically titles used in law
German term or phrase: Dr.
I have a problem with titles and am not quite sure how to resolve it.

The CEO of a large (German-speaking) auditing firm is Dr. X and he has his degree in law. Apparently there have been several comments (with reference to their previous annual reports and other documents in English) that in the English-speaking world, only people in the medical profession use the title Dr., not lawyers. I had never really thought about this before and looked it up, it seems that there may be some truth to that. The problem is what alternative do we have?

For quick reference I looked at Wikipedia and found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_law#United_States
There are so many different possibilities, I really couldn't even begin to look for an equivalent not knowing what his exact qualifications are - plus we generally try not to mess with academic titles, right?

I'm working on the firm's annual report and need to come up with a reasonable alternative or explanation in the next week.

Could a kind lawyer or somebody closely familiar with the field help me out here?

Thanks!
Jennifer Gruendler
Local time: 20:08
English translation:leave it out
Explanation:
German is a lot more punctilious about titles than English, and I would leave it out as they're not a doctor of medicine. The Guardian style guide, which makes a very good bible, says:

"[Use] at first mention for medical and scientific doctors and doctors of divinity (not, for example, a politician who happens to have a PhD in history); thereafter, just use surname except in leading articles."

For similar reasons, I always leave out the Dr in "Prof. Dr" - the professorship outranks the doctorate.


Selected response from:

philgoddard
United States
Grading comment
Thanks - I think I will send the firm a recommendation to clear this with Dr. X but that it should probably be left out. I will also include Heart's proposal of X, Doctor of Law, as an alternative if he still wants his degree recognized. Thanks for the great discussion, everybody! It was really quite enlightening.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +3leave it outphilgoddard
5 +2Dr. X, Doctor of Law or X, Doctor of Law
Heart
5Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)
Rosa Paredes
4Mr. X, doctor juris
Carl Stoll
4 -1Mr. X, a lawyer
Carl Stoll
Summary of reference entries provided
Debretts Guide to Doctors
James Heppe-Smith

Discussion entries: 10





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
leave it out


Explanation:
German is a lot more punctilious about titles than English, and I would leave it out as they're not a doctor of medicine. The Guardian style guide, which makes a very good bible, says:

"[Use] at first mention for medical and scientific doctors and doctors of divinity (not, for example, a politician who happens to have a PhD in history); thereafter, just use surname except in leading articles."

For similar reasons, I always leave out the Dr in "Prof. Dr" - the professorship outranks the doctorate.




Example sentence(s):
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/styleguide/d
philgoddard
United States
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 155
Grading comment
Thanks - I think I will send the firm a recommendation to clear this with Dr. X but that it should probably be left out. I will also include Heart's proposal of X, Doctor of Law, as an alternative if he still wants his degree recognized. Thanks for the great discussion, everybody! It was really quite enlightening.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  James Heppe-Smith: Although the Professor is an appointment and not a degree... I would be tempted to leave it in as he is a German and would probably have a small MI if it was left out. They find Doctor titles most important here. Edit to add: :)
9 mins
  -> Thanks for your comment, but I disagree. German also has long sentences with verbs at the end, but that doesn't mean we should keep them in our translations out of respect :)

agree  Michele Fauble
2 hrs

agree  Lancashireman: And if the client still wants his title included, then preferably without the intrusive black dot.
2 hrs

agree  AllegroTrans
6 hrs

disagree  Thomas Roberts: If someone calls themself Dr in Germany it's because they have a PhD. At least in the UK, whoever chooses to use the title in public is commonly referred to as Dr (e.g. Dr John Reid, politician), though some people to not (e.g. Gordon Brown, politician).
15 hrs

agree  Harald Moelzer (medical-translator)
18 hrs
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23 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Dr. X
Mr. X, a lawyer


Explanation:
This is understood by any English speaker, but doesn't sound pompous enough.

Carl Stoll
Costa Rica
Local time: 13:08
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  British Diana: Surely there are lawyers who don't have doctorates= this doesn't tell one anything
15 hrs

disagree  Rosa Paredes: No. This is no doctor and the correct ay to mention the law degree would be : Mr. X Attorney-at -law
2 days 34 mins
  -> Nonsense! "Attorney" means "lawyer" only in the US. In GB "attorney" means "agent".
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44 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Dr. X, Doctor of Law or X, Doctor of Law


Explanation:
I would never leave out a doctor title, no matter what the subject area for all the reasons stated in the discussion.
In the US and other countries, there is the J.D. degree = Juris Doctor in Latin or doctor of Jurisprudence. However, in documents of this sort, it is hard to tell what country the person actually got their degree and in some cases, speakers of the target language might not even know what the abbreviation stands for some titles. So I would write it out to be certain it is understood.
I also would not put a J.D. after his name because the degree he has may not technically be a J.D., it may be the Swiss equivalent which may have another abbreviation - or he may be from some other country that confers doctor of law degrees but uses a different abbreviation.
And yes, it IS important to know that the CEO in an annual report has a doctorate in law - this is the company's face to the world and they need to put their best foot forward and show the caliber of people working with them.

Heart
United States
Local time: 13:08
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks! I'll be adding this as an alternative!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  James Heppe-Smith: I tend to agree with you in this Heart. Although there is some (probably valid) argument for leaving it out.
7 mins

agree  Gabriella Bertelmann: agree
4 hrs

neutral  Thomas Roberts: isn't JD in the states the equivalent of an LLB (i.e. not a PhD)?
14 hrs

neutral  Lancashireman: Sorry, but if 'a certain peer' says 'agree' and nothing else, that's a clear indicator that the asker needs to look elsewhere.
1 day 2 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Mr. X, doctor juris


Explanation:
That might swing it. That's what Swiss lawyers call themselves anyway. Otherwise, howzabout "Monsignor"? That's due for a revival.

Carl Stoll
Costa Rica
Local time: 13:08
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Thomas Roberts: isn't JD in the states the equivalent of an LLB (i.e. not a PhD)?
11 hrs
  -> It beateth me.
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2 days 59 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD)


Explanation:
http://www.law.ubc.ca/graduate/p-programs-PHD.html
The PhD in Law provides rigorous and advanced training for outstanding graduate students ....

Rosa Paredes
Canada
Local time: 11:08
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 16
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Reference comments


50 mins peer agreement (net): -1
Reference: Debretts Guide to Doctors

Reference information:
This may assist.

As it says though, the more senior medical doctors tend to be Misters, go figure!


    Reference: http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/professions/academi...
James Heppe-Smith
Germany
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
disagree  Textklick: N.B. "...the more senior medical doctors tend to be Misters": (?) Qualified doctors/physicians style themselves 'Dr', qualified surgeons style themselves 'Mr'. Simple fact. (unless I have misread your reference).
3 days 18 hrs
  -> No, we completely agree with each other. However, not relevant for the OP's question which is about a lawyer with a doctorate. I always find it "quirky" that surgeons (and indeed most consultants) call themselves Mr, that was all I was saying.
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