- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 07/01/2010
Translators seem to have a huge problem with the word “flow”, which is important in fire protection, and I find myself correcting it over and over again. The problem is distinguishing between flow as a phenomenon and rate of flow, which is a vector with a magnitude. English normally uses the term “flow” for both meanings, which can be very confusing. So in German it’s Fluss vs. Durchfluss, which is easy enough. Spanish has flujo vs. caudal, French flux vs. débit, etc. I’ve seen “flow rate” translated as “tasa de flujo” (ouch), and in both sorts of Portuguese I’ve had to coach the translators (Portugal has “débito” like the French, Brazil has “vazão”, which is quite different). Oh, and Italian has flusso vs portata. Curious that “flow” should be the same cognate in all of them but “flow rate” not shared at all (except for Portugal).