In the few years I worked as a proofreader on various publications for the US automotive industry, we were told that in technical texts only, we should adhere to a no-hyphen policy.
We were never to use any hyphens for any reason unless there could be a catastrophic misunderstanding without them (which was never), or if the hyphen was part of a trademark, for example.
The rationale was that technical English has so many compound terms that if we didn't follow such a no-hyphen policy, half the text would be hyphens that contributed nothing to comprehension.
Therefore we would write "exhaust gas recirculation" and NOT "exhaust-gas recirculation" and DEFINITELY NOT "exhaust-gas-recirculation valve".
This week I'm editing a test translation of an automotive text (not reviewing, but editing before an agency sends it to the potential client), and the translator is a Brit who is a good translator but has probably not worked in the kind of intense automotive environment I was in.
So, I'd be interested in people's opinions about that hyphenation. The translator is trying to follow standard English hyphenation rules. Should I do so also, or should I follow what the technical writers and editors working for the car companies told me to do in days of yore? The agency and their client have not expressed an opinion.
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