the Translation Inquirer
although not to Cynthia Calder. She tells us that syntekhnies are not the cozy arrangements the workers make, but the workers themselves. The word refers to people of the same craft or occupation working together. The interpretation of the word as "feather-bedding" may arise from contexts where the workers at syntekhnies unite to obtain better working conditions or arrangements for themselves. Secondly, she tells us that we should indeed drop the ending of Greek words when combining them with "-ism" or "-ist" in English. She has had that confirmed to her by an expert in Venizelism (from Eleutherios Venizelos). Thus we should speak of "Papandreism," "Karamanlite" and "Avrianism," which, she tells us in a final triumphant grand slam, would have originated at 37 Dimitrios Street, Tavros, and would therefore be a synonym for Tavros itself.
And from Greece to the Netherlands or The Netherlands. The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, Thomas Jedele tells us, has this to say on the subject:
"To achieve greater distinction or to adhere to the authorized form, the word 'the' (or its equivalent in a foreign language) used as a part of an official name or title is capitalized. When such a name or title is used adjectivally, 'the' is not capitalized." Thus: "The Hague," but "the Hague Court," "the Second Hague Conference." And "The Netherlands," "The Gambia," but "the Congo," "the Sudan."
And sudanly (Ty, go to your room!), summer is almost over and it's nearly time to start dusting off the engine block heaters. Yet more people spotted that the mythical "clock heater" was just a typo, including Dan Agar, Pedro Regina, Diana Rhudick and Jean Schleich, who makes the point that the problem here is not simply that there was an error, but that the word mistyped turned into another ostensibly plausible one. As Lola Granola relatedly points out: "If the text in English says 'heights,' how is the poor translator supposed to know that what the author meant was 'weights'?"
Or this lovely one submitted by A. Correspondent: "The context was various types of commercial establishments on streets somewhere in the Orient, including those with pigeons verts. We puzzled over that one for ages: green pigeons, green parrots, lovebirds, parakeets? It turned out to be a typo for pignons ouverts—'open store-fronts!’"
Which brings us neatly to the concept of "traceability." (You can't see the logical connection between those two paragraphs? You haven't been paying attention.) Arturo Roberts tells us that the Spanish for this is rastreabilidad, from rastrear—"to follow someone or something by means of the traces left."
While we are in Spanish, Dolores de la Cabeza would like to hear from any experts in the computer field who can tell her the standardized and accepted translation, if any, for "default" in a computer sense. "Default value," "default setting," "to default to ..." and so on.
Same subject field, Françoise Thomas wants to know whether a "relational database program" really is a logiciel de données de base relationnel? And what are the correct French terms for "record field" and "field of interest?" As in: "Enter 'checkplus' in the record field and 'blank' in the field of interest." Would a "feature" be a protocole, as in (Paradox being the name of the program): "Paradox 3.5 ask feature." And what about "script," as in "Paradox scripts written to streamline the procedure appear in the Appendix." And how does this differ from "form," as in "Run the Query form." And lastly, is a work file simply a fichier de travail, and what is it anyway?
Coincidentally, Lola Granola is looking for the Spanish for "work file," too.
And in general, who has suggestions for good English-French dictionaries on computers? I like the Dictionnaire d'informatique, bureautique, télématique, Michel Guinguay, Masson, Paris, but who has others to offer?
Computer dictionaries French, computer dictionaries German. Ulrike Lieder recommends Wörterbuch der Daten- and Kommunikationstechnik, Brinkmann, Brandstetter, 4th ed., EG and GE in one volume. She goes on: "Also quite useful are the following (all monolingual in German, but with the ever-increasing use of English in German computer language, these references can often be used like dictionaries): Informatik-Duden, Dudenverlag; Das große Computerlexikon, Kaltenbach, Recta, Woerlein, Fischer Taschenbuchverlag; and rororo Computerlexikon, Schulz, Rowohlt.
In return for everyone's help with her problems, Françoise Thomas offers her suggestion for Wendy Ebersberger's "Publish or perish" (while suggesting that there may not be a true equivalent for the notion that an academic must get into print or doom himself or herself to obscurity, since the French academic system is very different.) Nevertheless, how about "Produire ou périr," or, slightly more enigmatically, "Paraître ou disparaître."
Back to our questions. Letthe Catin wonders who can explain abhängige Variable and unabhängige Variable, in a general business sense. Also Schätzklausur, which seems to be something you do at the beginning of a project to estimate its costs. And, in the specific context of the sort of graphs or diagrams you can draw to represent the relationships and dependencies in a complex project: Vorgangspfeilnetz, Ereignisknotennetz, Vorgangsknotennetz, and Ereignispfeilnetz.
Erika Matt wants to know what is meant by a Vorfluter, an Erschließungsstraße and an Erschließungsanlage. No context, I'm afraid, and this one has come in so close to my deadline that I don't have time to ask for any. Just let the mind float, uncontextually, then.
Lots of German this month. Leon McMorrow wonders what a good Anglophone would see in the German terms cumulusgrün and pinoweiß. They are the current "in" colors, he tells me, in countertops—who's got a dramatic English equivalent, suitable for use in a sales pitch?
Now for some French, and one for you truffle-eaters: what is a rabassier? And moving from the woods to the stream, who can explain moine as used for some type of water control mechanism in an earthen dam?
Dam, damn, damn and blast, I nearly forgot the dB! Fortunately, Françoise Fairfield didn't. On the basis of many other forms of "dB," she would assume that Henry McQuiston's "dBn" means "decibels referred to 'n’," and wonders if "n" isn't defined somewhere else in the text. And what are these other forms of the noisy little critters? Sources, The Radio Shack Dictionary of Electronics, and Dictionary of Electronics, G.G. King, Elsevier.
dBa: decibels adjusted. (decibels corrigés).
dBj: a unit used to express relative rf signal levels.
dBk: decibels referred to 1 kilowatt.
dBm: 1. decibels above (or below) 1 milliwatt. A quantity of power expressed in terms of its ratio to 1 mW
2. A term used to denote power level: 0 dBm is equal to 1 mW across a 50-ohm circuit.
dBRAP: decibels above reference acoustical power.
dBRN: decibels above reference noise.
dBV: the increase or decrease in voltage independent of impedance levels.
dBW: decibels referred to 1 watt.
dBx: decibels above the reference coupling.
dB0: decibels referred to level zero.
There's more! If you need this sort of decibellious information, drop me a line and I'll send you everything that Françoise Fairfield put together for us. She also offers mécanicien du dimanche for "shade-tree mechanic," on the assumption that the phrase means someone who is interested in things mechanical as an amateur.
Looking at the rest of the Russian inquiries on the stack, Dennis Wester informs us that KSSV stands for "spin-spin coupling constant," or, in transliterated Cyrillic, konstanta spin-spinovoivzaimosvyazi.
And he has a question of his own: what does the abbreviation "NPO" stand for, when used in reference to an author's affiliation? Who knows?
As to kepstral'nogo, Catherine Cauvin-Higgins wonders if it relates to spektral'nogo. Michael Levin, our Capstralian Emeritus, confirms: "it is derived from 'cepstrum,' which is 'spectrum' shuffled around to make a new term, also glossed as 'pseudovariance.' One dictionary's definition, (in Russian) is "energy spectrum of the logarithm of a signal's energy spectrum.' (And it doesn't sound any better in the original!)"
Paul Gallagher and Victor Shevelyov concur, and provide the definition from McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of Physics and Mathematics for "cepstrum," namely "the Fourier transform of the logarithm of a speech power spectrum; used to separate vocal tract information from pitch excitation in voiced speech." As Viktor Shevelyov then goes on to say: "Of course, no unit of measure other than dBn—decibels above (reference) noise—could be used here without rousing the reader's indignation."
dsov? Puzzling, says the Capstralian Emeritus, but he does point out that subscript abbreviations are commonly created ad hoc (or had oc, as a boss of mine used to say!) to refer to something discussed earlier. He suggests looking back at the preceding paragraph.
KSSV? Relates to KCB: "SWR, standing-wave ratio", he tells us.
KSSY? Koeffitsientsilysveta—"luminous intensity factor/coefficient" says Dov Lederman.
With regard to dBn, Paul Gallagher guesses that the "n" is from napryazheniye, but cautions us that it is only a guess.
We were asked for the French for "LBO": Frederick Fucci to the rescue with RES, standing for rachat d’entreprise par les salariés. He offers it tentatively, since the level of people involved in an LBO is usually more senior than would seem to be suggested by the word salariés, but a French lawyer assures him it's right.
On the various other French commercial terms from the past few months, here is a whole collection of equivalents from Florence Mitchell, who warns us that some of her answers may refer to British rather than American usage: société civile: ordinary (trading) partnership, private company, informal partnership, corporation set up by physical persons; société civile professionnelle: professional partnership, (e.g. of notaries, lawyers, architects), = & Co.; société de personnel: partnership, private individual partnership; société en nom collectif: general partnership, unlimited partnership; société civile immobilière: partnership established for the purpose of owning property.
For Eckwert, Terry Hill says that the term can best be translated as "reference value." He goes on: "Legal, scientific and technical writers in German love this term and of course statisticians and economists beat the poor term to death. German politicians trying to explain why the budget this year requires a tax increase love to throw around the word Eckwert, since it saves them quoting specific figures!" Dov Lederman renders the term "upper and lower limits" or "boundaries."
New question: Robin the Hood, in an electrical engineering context, is baffled by doigt de gant.
Well, there should be something for everybody there. Or if not there, then in the other puzzles for which we don’t yet have an answer.
We don't have Zweiachsmuldensattelkippanhänger in French. We don't have suggestions for an English-German dictionary on finance and accounting, nor—same languages—for one on dentistry or on medicine with a good handling of dentistry. We don't have "Publish or perish" in any languages other than French. We don't have an explanation for the "German" terms Pull-Promotion and Push-Promotion. We don't have anything genuinely French for "greenmail."
And finally, here's a matter of really grave import. But this one, you don't send to The Translation Inquirer; instead, you have to find me at the Conference and tell me the answer in person. Get it right, I'll buy you a drink. Get it wrong, you buy me a drink.
Ready? Who can tell me a word of fifteen letters, beginning and ending with "n," and meaning "constipation"?
See you in the bar!