Assemble in Reverse Order

English: Assemble in the reverse order of disassembly.
German: Der Zusammenbau erfolgt in umgekehrter Reihenfolge.

This is a common phrase in technical manuals. The convention in English is a verbal instruction, in German the description of the process is passive and nominal.
Both are standing phrases in the respective language.

If this instruction were translated literally from English to German, a member of the target group would have to do the effort of translating the sentence into his/her context. A waste of time and an example of how bad translations make the user’s life unnecessarily harder.

A native English speaker would probably be equally troubled by the literal translation of the German “Der Zusammenbau…” It would read something like this ‘The assembly happens in reverse order’. It will be understood, of course. But again, the reader would have to do the translation into his/her reality. An effort that is actually part of the translator’s job.

Translation aligns conventions and patterns of speech across two languages, never words alone.


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