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ton - Tonne  
von Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2016-06-24, 11:18  like dislike  Spam?
Translating ton with Tonne is like translating inch with Zentimeter. It's not a million miles off, but it's certainly not the same unit. To leave this entry with not even a warning that these are different weights is highly misleading at best.
I have been trying to sort this out for a long time. I started a previous debate on this forum and now I am in the process of getting outvoted to retain this entry in its original form because apparently the dict is no encyclopaedia, so we're not bothered with niceties like whether our entries would lead to problems like the translation talking about a completely different weight from the original.
Please comment on whether you agree that this is an appropriate entry or not. I have suggested how it should be changed to allow people to understand what "ton" actually means, although I'm also happy to delete the ton - Tonne entry. Should I just give this up and leave the entry as it is? Is the dict somewhere where we should take all translations of weights and measures with a pinch of salt because it's more important that they sound similar than that they refer to the same weight (I don't think my clients would be happy with me using a similar sounding but incorrect weight)? I am quite happy to replace the entry for "ton" with a word that refers to the same weight in German. My problem was that I was unable to find one. If anyone knows of one that would be great.
metric ton  #847098
von migmag (DE), 2016-06-24, 11:23  like dislike  Spam?  
Long ton
short ton
Dry Metric Ton Unit  DMTU

and so on

Have look: Wikipedia(DE): Tonne_(Einheit)
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-24, 12:02  like dislike  Spam?  
Hi, migmag, that's right. Have a look here if you'd like it sorted out for translation purposes:
But what I'm really interested in is the weight of opinion. "ton", whether referring to a long ton or a short ton is a different unit of weight from Tonne. Do you think the ton - Tonne entry should be left as it is in the dict because they sound like they're the same unit of weight even though they weigh different amounts and there is no German word for either (long) ton or (short) ton? My belief of that this entry is incorrect, but others seem to disagree with me.
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-24, 12:06  like dislike  Spam?  
Or were you suggesting it should be changed to metric ton [Am.]? That entry's already in the dict. metric ton
The [Am.] is because British English uses the word "tonne" for 1000 kg (=Tonne), which I've also added but very few people have actually voted for, because I guess they're unaware that Britain went metric a while back so our current unit of measurement in that area is tonne, which the Americans call a metric ton and which German calls a Tonne.
I agree with Windfall that the entry is misleading.  #847110
von Lllama (GB/AT), 2016-06-24, 13:13  like dislike  Spam?  
There are times when translating ton with Tonne would be ok, for example if you want to give a rough quantity, but it wouldn't be ok if you want to give an exact weight.
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-24, 13:26  like dislike  Spam?  
We could label it with [fig.] if you can use "Tonne" figuratively like you can "ton", e.g. "he weighs a ton", but then we have to remove the classification of "unit" from it and the abbreviations, because you can't use the abbreviations figuratively.
In case the "Tonne" has a <unit> indicator  #847113
von migmag (DE), 2016-06-24, 13:33  like dislike  Spam?  
it should be translated with metric ton. If I liked to use the US or UK ton in German I would have to say "Amerikanische Tonne" or "Britische Tonne" or which ton ever.

Vice versa: if I'd have to translate an English text which only reads "10 tons" I could nothing do but guessing. For a German a ton are 1000 kg as long as the ton is not specified any further.

Therefore it is easy to translate "Tonne" into English (metric ton) but it is not that easy to translate "ton" into German.
Exactly.  #847118
von Lllama (GB/AT), 2016-06-24, 13:49  like dislike  Spam?  
So a description in square brackets would be better. Perhaps britisches oder amerikanisches Gewichtseinheit, ungefähr eine Tonne or similar.
The problem with giving an exact equivalent is the previously mentioned multiplicity of tons.
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-24, 14:36  like dislike  Spam?  
It's becoming increasingly clear to me that most people simply use "ton" and "Tonne" to mean "a very heavy weight" and most people have no idea what weight they refer to unless they work in an industry where this is important, which is why getting clarity on this is so difficult, why most people don't care at all and why Tonne, long ton and short ton are considered close enough by non-specialists. But, if you're ever in a situation where weight is important (e.g. the maximum weight a bridge can hold or the maximum weight permissible without a fine) then the precise differences are important.
Please read my previous forum thread. It's more complicated than we've got to on this thread.
A "britische Tonne" has been 1000 kg since 1972 when we went metric, so although a long ton was previously the British ton, Britain now no longer uses this and if you call this a "britische Tonne" you might convince people that our road signs using the abbreviation "t" actually refer to long tons, whereas I think it is highly probable that they refer to tonnes (what Americans know as "metric tons" and what Germans call "Tonnen", i.e. 1000 kg) - although given the fact we still use miles not km after metrification, that's also something worth checking if it matters to you.
I think you could probably get away with "amerikanische Tonne" for ton meaning "short ton".
Please don't try and remove the "Am."  from the existing entry for metric ton, although that phrase is understood in Britain, we actually use "tonne" for this weight.
What happens if two countries use different units, but think they're using the same  #847146
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-24, 15:14  like dislike  Spam?  
Yes, a famous case.  #847195
von Lllama (GB/AT), 2016-06-24, 18:58  like dislike  Spam?  
abbreviation  #847271
von HoldenCaulfield (DE), 2016-06-25, 09:51  like dislike  Spam?  
we can leave the abbreviation, but we should add the explanation in brackets 'Massemaß' as there is another figurative meaning in German e.g. "in die Tonne kloppen" or "das ist für die Tonne" which doesn't means a 'Massemaß' but something like a rubbish bin
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-25, 10:18  like dislike  Spam?  
4;HoldenCaulfield, I think the disambiguation should actually be [a very heavy weight] and whatever that is in German. Figuratively this is specifically not a specific unit of weight. I'm getting a bit fed up with this, as you might imagine. Anyway, for one last time, here are the definitions:
ton [long ton] = the British unit of weight used before metrication in 1972 and to a certain extent before excluded from trade by law in 1985 = 2240 lb = 1016.05 kg Wikipedia(EN): Long_ton
tonne = the British unit of weight currently in use = 1000 kg
metric ton = what Americans call the unit of weight that is 1000 kg (the British call it a tonne)
Tonne = a German unit of weight = 1000 kg = equivalent to a British tonne or an American metric ton = a different weight from a long ton (the weight known as a "ton" in Britian, but not currently in usage, only used in pre-1985 texts) and also different from a short ton (the weight known as a "ton" in America), and if you translate "1 ton" as "1 Tonne", then you are giving a false weight in your translation. If, however, you translate the "ton" "How much does it weigh? I don't know, several tons" with "Tonne", your translation is appropriate.
ton [short ton] = what Americans call a ton = 2000 lb = 907.18474 kg

If you find "ton" in an American text (unless they are specifying "metric ton" or "long ton") it means 2000 lb and is a different weight from a "Tonne". It would not be unreasonable to call this an "amerikanische Tonne", but it would be unreasonable to call it a "Tonne" unless the word is being used figuratively to mean simply "a very heavy weight", e.g. what have you got in this bag? It weighs a ton.
If you find "ton" in a British text it means either simply "a very heavy weight", e.g. what have you got in this bag? It weighs a ton, or if a precise figure is listed (e.g. 3 tons) it either refers to the long ton (especially if the text was written before 1985) or is an error.
If you find "metric ton" in an American text it means 1000 kg.
If you find "tonne" in an American text it is an error.
If you find "tonne" in a British text it means 1000 kg
If you find "metric ton" in a British text it is either an error or a decision to use American English and refers to 1000 kg.
Given how difficult people seem to find it to understand that "Tonne" is NOT the same weight as "ton", anything that gives the impression that these might be the same unit should be avoided.
von HoldenCaulfield (DE), 2016-06-25, 11:03  like dislike  Spam?  
4;windfall, I can totally understand that you are fed up with this discussion. My aim was to be of assistence to cease the discussion and find a good solution. But in German the term "Tonne" isn't often used for something like "a very heavy weight". We use the adjectiv "tonnenschwer" in this meaning, but not as a noun.
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-25, 17:30  like dislike  Spam?  
Then write [ein sehr schweres Gewicht] or whatever feels like an appropriate disambiguation in German to show it is referring to something very heavy, but not the specifically the unit of measurement 1000 kg on the German side. I generally avoid writing disambiguations for the German side as I think it is better if these are written by native German speakers. The important thing is, it needs to be very clear that it is wrong to translate ton as Tonne or Tonne as ton when speaking about precise quantities or units of measure, as most people seem not to understand that a "ton" isn't the same weight as a "Tonne", so it needs to be very clear that this is not what we mean, and that we are just using it to refer to very heavy weights, not actual tons or tonnes here.
a very heavy weight  #847310
von HoldenCaulfield (DE), 2016-06-25, 20:42  like dislike  Spam?  
As a native speaker I don't know a useful German term in this meaning. To qualifying of "Tonne" as figurative seems to me enough information to distinguish the term from the measurement "Tonne". So I would leave it like suggested.
von Windfall (GB), 2016-06-25, 20:50  like dislike  Spam?  

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