Translation is as simple as A = B, isn’t it? But what if A could mean B, C, D, F or G? Sometimes, it’s just not that clear cut. And often, there is more than one right answer.
So if there are multiple terms out there, how do you pick the best one? Context is king. And Mahnverfahren is a case in point.
I come across it in a text on factoring. Now Mahnungen have cropped up in our translations before. But reminders are only part of the Mahnverfahren story. Yes, I’m sure Mahnverfahren does involve sending a fair few reminders. But that’s not all. Mahnverfahren describes the whole caboodle, including court proceedings: in short, everything required to get the cash off the customer and into your account.
My initial research produces some interesting findings. I discover that factoring companies chase slow payments. That they collect the cash. Demanding payment seems to be another popular expression (with over 100,000 Google hits from reputable sources). But would my newly learnt terms work in the context of our translation?
Well chasing and collecting payments certainly wouldn’t be wrong. And neither would demanding payment. In an informal context, that is. But our text is a fairly in-depth and technical description of how factoring works. And we don’t want to be too casual about it. Surely there’s a less colloquial term out there?
Indeed there is: dunning – more professional, more formal, and more appropriate for our context. And used in both UK and US English. You can even talk about the dunning process, if you wish. Now that’s more like it.