Support

A perfectly good word, but hugely less common than its Dutch equivalent. So Dutch authors overuse it horrendously. Aim to get rid of about 90% of occurrences and you’ll be about right!

Particularly egregious because the noun (ondersteuning) and verb (ondersteunen) come out the same in English. Looking for alternatives really will help your text sound less clunky.

  • For plans and ideas, try backing or advocacy or endorsement.
  • For sorting awkward situations out, try help or assistance (in fact, “help” is perhaps the change I most frequently make for “support” during editing).
  • Financially, it can be sponsorship or funding or backing (again).
  • For something structural, it can be reinforcement or a prop.
  • And there are good verbs and verb-derived forms too: beefing up, aiding, giving a helping hand…
  • The thesaurus is your friend. But don’t just pick a word at random – look for some examples and confirm the right meaning.

I haven’t been posting for a week or so – sorry! The real world and actual work have a habit of getting in the way. One field of translation work that’s busier then ever during the coronavirus pandemic (not surprisingly) is online education courses. Been doing a lot of that lately…

Prevalence: endemic. A businesslike or scientific document written by someone Dutch that doesn’t use the word “support” would be a rarity.
Frequency: very high. It’s just an automatism: ondersteunen = support.
Native: no. We use the word, of course. We just don’t overuse it.

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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