The Dutch have a reputation for being ‘zuinig’. If you’re kindly disposed to them, you will translate this ‘thrifty’. If not, you will just say ‘mean’. I belong to the first group. To me, Dutch people are generous to a fault with their friendship, their food and buying a round of drinks. The ‘zuinig’ in them comes out when they feel they’re being taken advantage of. They don’t like paying more for something than is a) necessary or b) more than someone else is paying for the same thing. Fair enough. It’s a Dutch thing.

Another Dutch thing is embedded parentheses. What’s that, you say? It’s when that preference for paying less spills over into a preference for using fewer words.

Inter(national) means national and international.

Online(seminars) means seminars both on and offline.

(Netto)prijzen means… well, prices actually.

In Dutch, embedded parentheses are used for both optional (so either-or) and collective (so both-and). The thing is, we don’t use parentheses like this in English. But I keep coming across it in translations I’m revising. Apart from the fact that it’s detrimental to readability (in Dutch too, actually) it’s just not English (as she is spoke!).

So don’t be ‘zuinig’, use two words where one with embedded parentheses won’t do.

Thank you.