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[Czechlist] Hyphens or not?

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  • James Kirchner
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 19, 2013
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      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.

      Jamie


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