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Is it better to use the German word "Energiewende", when referring to changes to the whole energy market or should one rather translate it into the proper English translation 'energy transition'. If I would stick to German, should I put it into single/double quotes or none. I don't know if the audience of the presentation makes a difference, it most probably will be a majority of German natives.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rand al'Thor, choster, NVZ, MetaEd Aug 29 '16 at 18:14

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    Use Energiewende if you are specifically talking about the efforts in Germany. Otherwise translate it. – Helmar Aug 29 '16 at 11:53
  • Thanks, yes I am only talking about the changes in Germany. Should I enclose it in quotation marks or just leave it as it is. – hannes101 Aug 29 '16 at 12:00
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    In written form, normally one would place such a foreign word in italics. The spelling of the word would make it obvious to most readers that it's a German word. But of course the meaning (and pronunciation) of the word would be unknown to most "normal" English readers, so you should at least give some contextual clues, if not a full definition. – Hot Licks Aug 29 '16 at 12:17
  • @hannes101 If you think the readers may not understand it, one would normally provide an explanation on first use, either in parenthesis, following, or by way of a footnote. You do not need to repeat this for subsequent uses in the same article. But it should be put in italics every time. – WS2 Aug 29 '16 at 12:26
  • Of course in an article I could offer more explanation and also did just that in my article, but I was not sure how to use it properly in a presentation. Although the context is quite clear by the topic of the presentation. – hannes101 Aug 29 '16 at 13:43
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You should use the German word if you are only talking about Germany. The phrase "energy transition" is used to refer to similar events in other regions of the world, as a quick search indicates.

It's probably best to explain the term after you use it, since this can serve as a reminder to those who are familiar with it and define the term for those who aren't familiar.


According to The Chicago Manual of Style:

Italics are used for isolated words and phrases in a foreign language if they are likely to be unfamiliar to readers. If a foreign word becomes familiar through repeated use throughout a work, it need be italicized only on its first occurrence. If it appears only rarely, however, italics may be retained.

I'm not sure that applies to your situation, however. You should look to follow whatever style guide you have, and, failing that, check to see what similar publications are doing.

Here are examples I found.

The Energiewende - Germany's gamble:

Germany has set itself a huge challenge in trying to move away from fossil fuels and abandon nuclear power, while remaining a major industrial power. This challenge to create an Energiewende – an energy turnaround or transformation – has ambitious targets.

Lobbying the ‘Energiewende’. Assessing the effectiveness of strategies to promote the renewable energy business in Germany:

Achieving the so called ‘Energiewende’ is a major issue in political decision-making and public discourse.

The Revolution Continues: Energiewende 2.0:

You say you want a revolution: The “Energiewende”, the change in energy regimes in Germany, is presently not effective. The lack of integration of renewable and conventional power generation is seen as the critical factor. Chemistry and catalysis play a decisive role in solving this systemic challenge.

The Costs of Power Interruptions in Germany - an Assessment in the Light of the Energiewende:

The German Energiewende’s potential effects on the reliability of electricity supply as well as the corresponding economic consequences have recently entered both the political and scientific debate. However, empirical evidence of power outage costs in Germany is rather scarce.


Looking at other academic publications, there's really no consensus that I can see here. Literally all of the options you were considering (and italics, as suggested in the comments) are used in scholarly publications when the term is used.

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