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I am not a native English speaker, so I have a quick question. I have to translate my thesis' title into English.

This is the German sentence:

Analyse und Anomalieerkennung elektrischer Verbraucher durch Neuronale Netzwerke

My wordly English translation would be as follows:

Analysis and anomaly detection of electrical consumers electical devices through neural networks

I am not quite sure about the word "through" in this context. I would rather use the word "with" or maybe "by" (but I do not quite like this).

Analysis and anomaly detection of electrical consumers electical devices with neural networks.

EDIT: By "electrical consumers" I was referring to a device using electrical energy, to avoid further confusion I would use "electrical devices" instead.

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  • 12
    Maybe “using Neural Networks”?
    – Xanne
    Oct 18, 2022 at 23:31
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    A verb would help the sentence. Oct 18, 2022 at 23:46
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    @YosefBaskin The German original isn't a sentence, so I don't think the English translation needs to be one. Just delete the period at the end. Oct 19, 2022 at 0:29
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    The term "electrical consumers" is confusing. Does it mean people who consume electricity (given that "consumer" is most commonly used to refer to a person or business), or are you referring to devices that use electricity?
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 19, 2022 at 2:02
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    Context matters. In common parlance, a "consumer" is an end user of a product or service. So in casual conversation, if you said "electrical consumers" I might think you meant customers who pay for electrical service. In a technical context it might be different, but still ambiguous enough.
    – barbecue
    Oct 19, 2022 at 13:39

3 Answers 3

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Durch also has the English senses through, via and with.

The word by could also be used in the example in English, and by means of would fit too.

Wiktionary by means of
Preposition
by means of
by using (an object or an approach).

(See wordreference.com durch
durch Präp (mithilfe, mittels) (via)
through prep
via prep
with prep

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  • Yes, "by means of" is less ambiguous than"through" or "with'.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 19, 2022 at 2:00
  • "Durch also has the English senses through, via and with." I know that, but there is often a slightly different semantics behind the words. And there is also the stile to be considered. What is a good stile? I liked the idea posted in a comment to use the word "using". But I am not a native speaker, so I can't really be sure if this is legit and whether it's a good stile.
    – Skobo Do
    Oct 19, 2022 at 9:04
  • Agree that "through" could be confusing, as it can carry a physical connotation. They electrical consumers through neural networks could be misunderstood by a non-expert to mean - electrical consumer moving through or scattered through a neural network. "By means of" is less ambiguous but a bit wordy. "With" or "via" seem like the optimal choice if you are looking to balance legibility with brevity. Oct 19, 2022 at 14:44
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    @BenjaminPopper The audience for a thesis is readers familiar with the subject area, so you don't really need to worry about misunderstandings by lay people. You should emulate terminology common in the field.
    – Barmar
    Oct 19, 2022 at 14:56
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In the context of a thesis title, I don't think "through" is out of place here at all, in fact I'd expect it. I've seen many thesis titles that use the word "through" in exactly the same sense.

It is a little formal sounding - if you said it in casual conversation it might raise eyebrows - but nobody would think that you're talking about the electrical consumers literally physically going through a neural network.

However, I would second (or third) the notion that using "electrical consumers" here is too ambiguous for English speakers. If you mean devices that consume electricity, use "electrical devices" or "electrical appliances". If you mean power grid consumers (i.e. people) use "electrical service consumers".

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Analyse und Anomalieerkennung elektrischer Verbraucher durch Neuronale Netzwerke

The use of neural networks in the analysis of, and anomaly detection in, the consumption of electricity.

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  • I concur. Sometimes for clear translations the word order is changed, viz. my above comment using the example of Freud’s Das Unbehagen in der Kultur — translated as Civilisation and Its Discontents.
    – Raven
    Dec 29, 2022 at 18:43

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