Three little words in English often become two (little bigger) words in Danish. Thankfully, “I love you” is still “Jeg elsker dig”.

A wonderful thing about Danish language is how we make two words that belong together into one word. Some times we don’t even hesitate to smoosh three of them together.

That means that three-word constructions which can seem ambigous in English, are not at all ambigous in Danish – assuming, that is, that it’s the correct two words that are paired together! 🙂

So, for example, a “Mobile Snow Plow” should become the equivalent of “Mobile SnowPlow” in Danish. Obviously, a “MobileSnow Plow” is the incorrect and quirky cousin of that.

Here are some of such wrongful two-out-of-three word-pairings that came across my desk in recent weeks:

Recurring Payment Profile ==> was translated as if the “Recurring” was referring to the “Profile” and not the “Payment”. I corrected in Danish to “Profile for Recurring Payments”. So: (wrong) Tibagevendende betalingsprofil ==> (correct) Profil for tilbagevendende betalinger, or (also correct, but clunky) Tilbagevendendebetalingsprofil.

“Pending Payment Balance ” was translated as if Pending was referring to Balance and not Payment: (wrong) Afventende betalingssaldo ==> (correct) Saldo for afventende betalinger.

“Mobile Shopping Cart Payment Received” was translated as if the Payment was the one being mobile and not the Shopping Cart: (wrong) Mobil indkøbskurvsbetaling modtaget ==> (correct) Mobil-indkøbskurvsbetaling modtaget, or (better) Betaling for mobil indkøbskurv er modtaget.

“Redemption Code Reversal” was mistranslated as if Redemption was synonymous with Reversal: (wrong) Tilbageførsel af tilbagekøbskode ==> (correct) Tilbageførsel af indløsningskode.

“Canceled Sales Report” was translated as if the Report was cancelled, rather than as “a report about canceled sales”: (wrong) Annuleret salgsrapport ==> (correct) Rapport over annulerede salg.

Did I mention that Google Translate gets many of these 3-word puzzles wrong?

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