Tautologous doublures

In an effort to make a text sound richer and wordier, and perhaps more educated, Dutch authors sometimes include both the Dutch and English (or an English-based word) in the same phrase.

I once had to translate a website for an IT company that offered services, diensten en servicediensten. I suppose I should count myself lucky they didn’t offer dienstenservices as well…

  • services en diensten is the big favourite in this category
  • and variants on it such as an SLA of een dienstenniveauovereenkomst
  • patenten en octrooien (thanks to Lizzie Kean for reminding me of that one)
  • contact opnemen met je zorgverlener of careprovider
  • IT is a good source of these: de meeste screens en schermen, door ons eigen team in-house ontworpen, programma’s en andere executables

Unless you know what distinction they’re trying to make (if any), the net result is virtually untranslatable and the reduplication has to be ignored. Cue the cry “But you haven’t translated (xyz)…!”

Prevalence: low. Not associated with any specific kind of text.
Frequency: low. It’s just an occasional annoyance.
Native: no. Purely to do with the source style, obviously.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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