039 Dissolving noun clusters

In all but the most formal, academic and technical of styles it is often best to avoid clusters of nouns, at least until the reader is familiar with the combination of ideas involved.  Instead, use prepositions to link the nouns. The prepositions add clarity to the phrase—they show more fully how the nouns relate to one another—and the meaning of your words becomes more readily apparent. 

The problem with noun clusters is that they can often be rather ambiguous . Add an adjective to the mix and they can be quite impenetrable. Brevity and clarity are not always compatible, and clarity is normally preferable.
Sometimes called noun stacksnoun strings, or noun compounds, noun clusters can shut down your comprehension even if you understand each word.

For example, „aged dog meat samples“ could mean samples of aged meat fed to dogs, samples of aged meat from the bodies of dogs, aged samples of meat from the bodies of dogs, aged samples of meat fed to dogs or samples of meat from the bodies of aged dogs…

Little words like ‚how‘ and ‚way‘ can sometimes be used to make Czech noun clusters sound more natural in English. See also Reseni

V závěru pak navrhuje pojmovou i věcnou typologii organizace vydávání samizdatové literatury v 70. a 80. letech.

The conclusion proposes a conceptual and objective typology of the ways in which samizdat literature publication was organized in the 1970s and 1980s.

Studie provádí rekonstrukci geneze Povídek malostranských. Zohledňuje přitom zejména fenomén volby konkrétního periodika pro prvotní otištění jednotlivých čísel budoucího knižního souboru.

This study reconstructs the origins of Povídky malostranské, reflecting in particular the way specific periodicals were selected for the initial publication of individual issues of the future book collection.

Some strategies:

Rearrange the words
Convert some nouns to verbs                                                                                             Remove some redundant lead-in words                                                                           Pluralize or singularize when necessary
Add hyphens and other punctuation                                                                                           Add prepositions                                                                                                                          Add little words like ‚way‘ and ‚how‘ 

  • batch high performance computing facility 

  • service level agreement achievement percentage

  • business computing solution areas

  • security policy orchestration software

  • business process improvement methodologies

  • cloud service orchestration workflows

  • online real time cloud data landscape view

  • network services provisioning process

  • remote encryption passphrase reset

Check out these alternatives to some of the above examples.

  • a high-performance, batch-computing facility

  • the percentage of service-level agreements achieved

  • areas [types?] of business-computing solution

  • software that orchestrates security policies

  • methodologies that improve business processes

  • workflows that orchestrate cloud services
  • a landscape view of real-time online data in the cloud
  • the process of provisioning  services on the network
  • resetting the encryption of the remote passphrase

Some of these required a little guesswork, but you get the idea.

More examples:

A system necessitated automated motor starting circuitA 4 month secretory cell produced mucosal accumulation historyThe negative penicillin skin test result groupBlue absorbing pigment spectral curveClimate controlled gene cluster phenotype variation

Two dimensional real time ultrasonographic blood flow detection techniques

A calibrated transit time ultrasonic blood flow probe cable end

An automated motor-starting circuit required by the systemA 4-month history of accumulation of mucosa produced by secretory cellsThe group with negative results on the penicillin skin testSpectral curve for blue-absorbing pigmentClimatically controlled variation in gene-cluster phenotype

Ultrasonography techniques that detect blood flow in two-dimensional real time

The cable end from an ultrasonic blood-flow probe calibrated to measure transit time ultrasonically

 

038 Řešení

One of those slippery words that often seem to elude classic dictionary translations (resolution, solution, design, project, answer, way ahead, way forward). Words of this kind occasionally need to be broken down into simple common-frequency words:

Vážený zákazniku,
Děkujeme Vám za e-mail zaslaný na adresu x a potvrzujeme tímto jeho přijetí. O vyřešení nebo stavu řešení Vašeho požadavku Vás budeme informovat do 2 dnů.

Dear Customer,
Thank you for the e-mail that you sent to x, receipt of which we hereby confirm. We will inform you of the way your request has been — or is being — dealt with within two days.

Coming soon: Předmět, pracoviště

036 Participle replaced or omitted

Quite frequently, participle modifiers of this kind can be rendered more naturally by simple articles, demonstratives or possessive pronouns:

Měl vykyvné polonápravy obvykle konstrukce Tatra. Použitý motor Tatra 108 byl odvozen od známého dvanáctiválcového motoru Tatra 111.
It had the standard Tatra-design swinging half-axle, and its Tatra 108 engine was developed from the well-known twelve-cylinder Tatra 111.

nebylo totiž možné obratit se na soud, pokud jedna ze stran porušila uzavřenou smlouvu.
as it was not possible to refer to a court if one of the parties breached an agreement.

Vlevo titulní list druhého dílu básnické sbírky Josepha von Petrasch Gedichte eines Sclavoniers (Básně jednoho Slavonce) z roku 1768. Vpravo začátek jedné ze zde obsažených básní, nazvané Die Unsterblichkeit der Seele 
Left: title page of the second volume of a poetry collection by Joseph von Petrasch, Gedichte eines Sclavoniers (Poems by a Slavonian) from 1768. Right: opening of one of these poems, entitled Die Unsterblichkeit der Seele 

 

Other cases
Soubor bezpečnostních (kontrolních) činností, vykonávaných Vykonávatelem prostřednictvím jeho zaměstnanců či zaměstnanců jeho subdodavatelů, vedouci k ostraze budov a k zajištění priorit Objednatele vyplývajících z této Smlouvy.
A set of security (inspection) activities performed by the Provider through his employees or subcontractors‘ employees to guard the buildings and to secure the Client’s priorities as detailed in this Agreement.

This principle is also noted in Odborná angličtina by Irena Kovačičinová:

Dalším příkladem jsou např. slovní spojení získané výsledky, které je třeba v angličtině přeložit jako the / our results, ne jako the obtained results (zpravidla se ve vědecko-výzkumné práci
nezmiňujeme o výsledcích, které jsme nezískali).
Sigler (2004).

And indeed in Psání odborných článků v angličtině by Karel Sigler:

studované jevy … the phenomena – NE the studied phenomena (… a o jevech,
které se nestudovaly!)

získané výsledky … the (our) results – NE the obtained results (.. nebo
o výsledcích, které jsme nezískali!)

dosud získané údaje … current data – NE the data obtained so far (dosud získané
údaje jsou ty, které jsou nyní k dispozici), a VŮBEC NE „the heretofore obtained data“

See also Participle phrases replaced by simple prepositions 

 

035 Vliv

Special treatment is occasionally required when „mit vliv na“ seems to come close to expressing „result in“.

Mandatář je povinen informovat mandanta o zařizování záležitosti a oznámit mu všechny okolnosti, které se dozvěděl nebo zjistil při výkonu své činnosti a jež mohou mít vliv na změnu pokynů mandanta.

The mandatary shall keep the mandator informed on the way the matter has been handled and notify him of all circumstances of which he has been apprised or which he has ascertained regarding the performance of his activities, which may result in an amendment to the instructions of the mandator.

Z důvodu rozšírení výroby došlo k více než dvojnásobnému navýšení poctu zamestnancu za období posledních čtyř let (ze 400 až na 900 lidí), které melo pozitivní vliv na snížení regionální nezaměstnanosti mezi osobami zejména s nízkou kvalifikací.
In order to increase production, the number of employees has more than doubled over the last four years (from 400 to 900), which has had a positive effect on regional unemployment, particularly among those with low qualifications.


And in Slovak:
malo vplyv na mierne znizenie ziskovosti tukov
resulted in a slight reduction in the profitability of fats

034 Czech negative conditional –> English negative indicative

There is a strong tendency in Czech to use the conditional to detail an inexistent situation introduced in a subordinate clause, whereas English often does this with the indicative.


Naše zkušebny nejsou zpochybnovany, ani nejsou signály, ze by naše vyrobky neodpovidaly normám, nebo že by u nich byla shoda prohlašena nepravdivě.                                                           No aspersions are being cast on Czech laboratories, nor are there any indications that our products fail to comply with standards, or that they are incorrectly being declared compliant.
(‘might’ could also be used here)

Není žádný zákon, který by autoru zakazoval pořídit si pracovní kopii svého dílo.
 There is no law prohibiting an author from making a working copy of his work.

Nevím o nikom, kdo by zhotoval a do oběhu uváděl fotograficky množené texty systematicky nebo ve větším nákladu.                                                                                                                                               I do not know of anybody who has ever compiled photocopied texts and put them into circulation in a systematic manner or a substantial print run.

Prostor vymezený této kapitole neumožňuje věnovat každé edici takovou pozornost, jakou by zasloužila.                                                                                                                                                                        The limited space of this chapter does not allow us to pay as much attention to each series as it deserves.

Avšak publikace, která by odborné i laické veřejnosti poskytla ucelenou sumu základních informací, dosud chybí.                                                                                                                                      However, we have previously lacked a publication providing the specialist and lay public with a comprehensive summary of key information on this topic.

033 Recasting prepositional clauses

A Czech prepositional clause in initial position (or sometimes elsewhere) can often sound more natural and less fussy in English when it is recast to indicate that an agent performs a direct action. This issue frequently arises in the pattern: „V [document] podmět/autor [verb]“, which can often be reduced to: „[document] [verb]“.

V uvodních kapitolách poukazuje autor na předcházející vyvojové tendence, jimiž procházela řecká společnost.
The introductory chapters refer back to previous development trends in Greek society.

V první kapitole jsou vyloženy principy, s nimiž kvantová teorie stojí a padá, v dalších je ilustrovana realizace těchto principů.
The first chapter sets out the principles on which quantum theory stands or falls, while subsequent chapters describe the application of these principles.

Na plakátu byl Švejk znázorněn v britské uniformě – khaki šortkách a košili,                               The poster showed Švejk in a British uniform – khaki shorts and shirt, 

V odborných periodikách pro oblasti strojirenství, stavebnictví a elektrotechniky jsou pravidelně uveřejnovany informace o novinkách v technické normalizaci.
Professional engineering, building and electrical engineering publications regularly bring out latest information on technical standards.
Outside initial position
Milada Paulová díky svému uzkému přátelskému vztahu k Přemyslu Šamalovi odkryvá ve svých dopisech nejruznějši souvislosti tykající se života a působení představitelů vědeckého i politického života.
Thanks to her close, friendly relations with Přemysl Šamal, Milada Paulova’s letters reveal the various circumstances surrounding the life and work of representatives of scholarly and political life.

In other cases an alternative standpoint can sometimes be imposed:
Z haly v prizemi se vchazí na internetové pracoviště.

The hall provides access to the internet centre.

Z podlinkovych aktivit jsou vyuzivane:
Our below-the-line activities include:

K jednotlivým titulům býval většinou přípojen úvod či doslov editora pro české čtenáře a poznámka o autorovi.
The individual titles usually came together with an editor‚s introduction or afterword for Czech readers and a note on the author.  

Libuše Dušková suggests some more examples of this in On Some Semantic and FSP Aspects of the Subject in Czech and in English, Studies in the English Language, Part 2, p. 264

V této knize/článku/studií se pojednává o/popisuje/vykládá…                                                            This book/article/study deals with/describes/discusses…

 

 

032 Headings and titles

There is often a difference between English and Czech usage in the way titles and headings are dealt with in business, academic and other formal domains. For example, Czech diagram or graph titles will often include a ‚lead-in word‘ like ‚popis‘, ‚graf‘ or some other description of basic function, which would normally be taken as implicitly understood by an Anglophone and which thus might sound rather plodding in literal translation. „Streamline“ where possible.
Struktura ruské výroby autobusů Russian bus production
Přehled znaků užitých v synoptických tabulkáchSymbols used in synoptic tables
Vymezení cílů výzkumného záměruResearch Plan objectives

Other examples of streamlining in titles:
Časový harmonogram řešení výzkumného záměruResearch Plan schedule
Personální zabezpečení Personnel

And see this Czechlist thread.

Another aspect of academic headings and titles is dealt with in Jazyk a text II. – Vybor z lingvistickeho dila Frantiska Danese – Universita Karlova v Praze Filozoficka fakulta:

The modern English heading, in the great majority of cases, has
a nominal form whereas Czech authors often use noun phrases with modifying prepositions “o“ or “k“ indicating a particular result the author is trying to achieve, or “a
contribution to“. This practice corresponds, in principle, with the German usage of the prepositions “uber“ and “zu“ and the Russian usage of “o(b)“ and especially “k“. The hedging effect of these prepositional phrases is obvious.

 

 

031 Insertion of idioms

In Paragraphs on Translation Peter Newmark says, „the English language […] makes more use of idioms than some other languages do“. On the strength of this greater frequency of idioms in English he defends such translations as a poco distanza – a stone’s throw or il suo costo altissimo – its staggering cost.
Native Czech translators have pointed out to me that if they translated every English idiom with an equivalent form, the resulting Czech text might appear unduly conversational and trivial, so they will sometimes render an idiom with a more neutral expression. Conversely then, I feel there is sometimes a good argument for touching up long deadpan passages with a mildly idiomatic turn of phrase or two just to allay that „seeping oddness“ feeling in a text :

Připravujeme další projekty
Further projects are in the pipeline
Celá oblast informačních technologii má vysokou akceleraci
IT as a whole is rapidly gaining ground

030 And/or

„And“ sometimes needs to be inserted before the final item in some lists:

Cena instalačního materiálu (kabely, vodiče, pomocný materiál)
Price of installation material (cables, conductors and auxiliary material)

„And“ needs to replace „or“ in some lists. Treat all conjunctions with suspicion on a case-by-case basis.

Jiří Pechar (1986, p. 11) reports that the Czech “a” cannot be used to equate things
not directly comparable. As in the English sentence: “He was thin and tentative as he slid his birthcertificate from Puerto Rico across the desk.” where “and tentative” would have to be translated with a subordinate clause.