FALSE FRIENDS, GOOD AND BAD TRANSLATION
Technikraum auf Englisch
Heute wieder ein Beitrag von Ben Davidson, der inzwischen Teilnehmer an unserem recht anspruchsvollen Traineeprogramm ist!
We get some pretty fun jobs from clients in real estate. They often ask us to translate brochures describing their latest high-tech green building or cool new downtown development. But there are tricky little things waiting to catch you out. This example is from a table of facts and figures:
Mietfläche gesamt xx.xxx m2davon Büro xx.xxx m2davon Technik x.xxx m2
The problem here lies in the “Technik”. It is not clear what it actually refers to. Cue a call to the customer. Here’s the gist of what they said, “Technik refers to Technikraum, a room dedicated to the boring stuff that lets the building function: air conditioning units, boilers, electrical equipment, etc.”
Fortunately, the client has an employee who is a native speaker of English. They suggested “plant room.” Now, we are a friendly bunch here at Crellin Towers, but we always like to make sure we get the right term, so I hit the net to do some research.
I googled “plant room” with building, the search engine came up with 289,000 hits, not all relevant – some were rooted in horticulture. But Google Images confirmed that “plant room” was a valid term, with lots of pictures of rooms filled with pipes and other heavy duty equipment.
Interestingly, the Wikipedia page for plant room doesn’t actually mention “plant room”. Instead, it offers “mechanical room” and “boiler room.” They rattle up 300,000 and 1.2m hits respectively, and both are credible terms for future use. The only thing to note is that boiler room is pretty specific. A Technikraum may contain more than just a boiler (or no boiler at all).
For rooms filled with electrical equipment you can use – wait for it – “electrical rooms,” but again, that may be too specific to use as a general term.
So, if you’re looking for a more cover-all name for “Technikraum,” the best options are “plant room” or “mechanical room.” “Plant room” is more widespread in the UK, whereas “mechanical room” is the dominant term in the US. On this occasion we opted for “plant room,” but don’t be afraid to branch out and use the other possibilities if need be.
Reading "plant room" in the context of a building description, the term would have made perfect sense to me – but I must admit I would have never come up with it on my own, if I had to translate Technikraum.
Wieder was dazu gelernt – danke!