I work in translation and need to find the most appropriate translation for a word that would be directly translated into English as a thing to be photographed.

An example of how I would use the word is as follows:

The device corrects the original image and generates a refocused image in which the photographed [subject/object] is in focus.

I've been looking online and there doesn't seem to be much difference between these two words. See here, for example.

The only slight difference I've noticed is that subject seems to refer more to a living thing, but I would like some opinions.

Which sounds more natural to you? Do you think they have the same meaning?

  • Please write an example sentence where the phrase would be used. It will help you get a better answer. Good luck. – user140086 Nov 4 '16 at 8:02
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    An object in a photograph is some thing that appears in the photograph. The subject of a photograph is an object in the photograph that determines the theme of the photograph. For instance, in a portrait of the king, the king is the subject. His crown would be an object in the photograph. – deadrat Nov 4 '16 at 8:22
  • @deadrat subtle choice of theme-determiner. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 4 '16 at 8:31

The "subject" of a photograph can be anything; a person, animal, landscape, building, small object, large object, star, planet and so on. It is quite possible to photograph an "object" but that is to specify the subject matter in the same way as talking about landscape photography, portrait photography, photo microsopy or astronomical photography.

There is a possible bit of confusion as the business end of an optical device is often referred to as the "object lens" but this is using "object" in a way analagous to the object of a verb, not implying that there are specific lenses designed for photographing inanimate objects and nothing else.

You should use the most general term, which is "subject", particularly if the quotation comes from a patent document, which it looks as though it might do.

  • I am translating a patent document! I agree that subject is the more general term and is what I would use when speaking casually, but I've seen both words used in patents so wasn't sure which one to go with. I'd also never thought about the difference between the two terms, which is why I wanted some other opinions. Thank you for your response! – Subjectobject Nov 7 '16 at 0:48

The word centrepiece

an item, issue, etc. intended to be a focus of attention.

The phrase focal point

the centre of interest or activity.

Alternatively, and also borrowing your words, these phrase(s):

object / subject / point of interest

The word foreground

make (something) the most prominent or important feature.

It goes without saying that you may need to reword your original sentence if you decide to choose particular word / phrase choices.

If your sample sentence is part of your work and not just an example then I would look into using something other than the word "corrects", based on my understanding of the context provided. The image is merely enhanced / calibrated for a particular purpose, at best.

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