Geoffrey Perrin article on copies/ Artikel zu Abdruck, Ablichtung, Abschrift, Ausfertigung usw.

Following earlier entries on March 8th and March 24th, here is another article by Geoffrey Perrin uploaded as a PDF file.

This first appeared in German Teaching in June 1989, but the terms are still encountered constantly by translators.

Download file

The terms discussed are Abdruck, Ablichtung, Abschrift, Abzug, Ausdruck, Ausfertigung, Auszug, Doppel, Durchschrift/Durchschlag, Exemplar, Mehrfertigung, Reinschrift and Überstück (Kopie and Fotokopie are mentioned as the colloquial terms for Ablichtung, but I saw recently the term was unfamiliar to one of the German commenters at law blog).

Perrin concludes that there is no overall term for copy. Wiedergabe is rather papierdeutsch, and Kopie has not quite assumed the role.

One thing that seems to be missing is a mention of the legal use of Ausfertigung, which I would translate as office copy, the term I’ve encountered most often myself, or official copy, and which is a second original. And of course, fewer people were using computers in 1989 so carbon copies were more common, and probably no-one had dreamt of such a thing as a blind carbon copy.

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