Translation_Tips

Beware of the False Range!

Many of our customers fall into a trap that befalls even experienced journalists. What’s more, many readers won’t even notice the error I’m talking about. What is this error? The false range.

Understandably, our customers love to highlight the broad nature of the work they do and the products they manufacture. To highlight this, they therefore often use the phrase ranging from… to, but incorrectly.

A range requires “a set of objects, persons, topics or attributes within a limited set.” Yet what is often written is a group of products or activities to which the only identifiable connector is the company in question.

This is an example similar to what we’ve edited before:

Over the past five years, our product line has increased twofold. Our product portfolio ranges from chocolate biscuits to cooking ingredients, from vegetable oils to kitchen utensils.

What is the range on which any of the above sit? It’s not types of biscuits, it’s not types of oils. What comes in between vegetable oils and dried fruits? Who knows!

The only connecting feature is that they are produced by the same company.

Alternatives

Instead of creating a false range, try saying as diverse as or or including.  

Over the past five years, our product line has increased twofold. Our portfolio includes products as diverse as chocolate biscuits, vegetable oils, cooking ingredients and kitchen utensils.

Following is a proper way of using the word “range”:

 

Source: US Department of Interior
From Maine to California: a real range

 

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