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Suppose I have a German document that has been translated to produce an English document.

It seems that there are two sensible ways to interpret the following request:

"Give me the translated document."

I have empirically confirmed this ambiguity (small sample size), where some people argue that the requested document is the German one and others argue that it is the English one.

Question: Is the phrase grammatically ambiguous or is there a correct way to interpret "translated" (a participle acting as an adjective) here?

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  • Needless to say, this specific example can be disambiguated by using different words, i.e., "the original document" or otherwise.
    – jII
    Jul 3 '20 at 21:08
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    Put me down as someone who considers the request ambiguous. How large was that group in your survey? Jul 3 '20 at 21:29
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    Put me down with the other two who think it means the Translation of the German document, meaning the English one.
    – Elliot
    Jul 4 '20 at 4:10
  • I think it's ambiguous. If you wanted to eliminate the ambiguity, you could distinguish the two by using the terms original document (German version) and translation (English version). Jul 5 '20 at 9:38

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