Relationship problems? Het Engelse woord ‘relations’
One of the words we often have to correct in English texts written by Dutch authors is the word ‘relation’. It is often assumed, erroneously, that the Dutch word relatie can be translated into English using the word relation. As we shall see, this is not usually the case.
In fact the English word relation is a better match with the Dutch word betrekking (insofar as there is a one-on-one translation).
in relation to this issue
met betrekking tot deze kwestie
And the best translation for the Dutch word relatie (in the sense of verhouding, verband) is usuallyrelationship.
There is a clear relationship between these two factors.
Er is een duidelijke relatie tussen deze twee factoren.
They’ve been having a secret relationship for six months.
Ze hebben al zes maanden een geheime relatie.
In a scientific and/or statistical context, the word correlation is often appropriate.
There is ample evidence of a positive correlation between regular physical exercise and increased stamina.
Er is ruim voldoende bewijs van een positieve relatie tussen regelmatige lichamelijke inspanning en een verhoogd uithoudingsvermogen.
The Dutch word relatie in the sense of a person with whom one regularly does business, on the other hand, is best translated as a business contact or business associate. A relatiegeschenk is a business gift.
Meanwhile, the English word relation does have other, more unexpected meanings. Your friends and relations, for example, are your vrienden en verwanten. In other words, relation is a synonym for relative or family member (including distant second cousins or great aunts whom one rarely sees!).
She has relations who live on a farm.
Zij heeft familie die op een boerderij woont.