Security and safety

Dutch authors in general can be a bit woolly about when to use ‘security’ and when to use ‘safety’, or may blur the lines between the two, given that both tend to be veiligheid in Dutch..

There’s a big overlap between the two, of course.

  • By and large, security is more about protection against threats…
  • …whereas safety is more about eliminating risks and hazards.
  • You want to be safe from the tiger; you want its cage to be secure.
  • The security services help keep the country’s people safe.

This issue tends in fact to get most awkward when people are talking in very general terms about areas where both aspects play a role. The police may be involved in both, for example, or even a simple lock may serve both purposes.

Prevalence: high, because veiligheid is a common word that turns up in everything from IT to legal to technical to care for the elderly.
Frequency: moderate. Most authors are at least half aware of this one and use the right variant for their specific domain.
Native: no. Again, these are two distinct (albeit related) concepts for us.

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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