Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A Common Terminology Problem

I just finished doing a very tough patent.

One thing that I find often comes up in patents is the term "分别 fenbie = seperate" in Chinese.

Image you have a document which wants to get across the idea: "pin 1 goes through hole 1, pin 2 goes through hole 2 and pin 3 goes through hole 3"

Now in English we would probably write something like "pin 1, 2, and 3 go through holes 1, 2, and 3 respectively"

In Chinese however, they will use the word "seperate". So literally translated it would say "pin 1, 2, and 3 separately go through holes 1, 2 and 3"

It's very common to read people using the term "separately" in English, but it's absolutely wrong! In English both the word and the word-order are different.

David

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