without disturbance(s)

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without disturbance(s)

Post by dante » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:44 am

Translating a document from Serbian to English I was stuck for the right word, and used "without disturbances", the only phrase that seemed to match the meaning in Serbian, in the following sentence:

"The political dialogue between the two countries has been developing without disturbances, and in an atmosphere of mutual trust."

Now I don't like "without disturbances" much, and I'm wondering if it sounds awkward in this sentence and whether I should have used "without interference" or "without hindrance" or what other phrase there is with a similar meaning. I'm also unsure if "has been developing" was better replaced with "has been progressing", and whether there is a difference in the meaning between the two in the sentence I gave.
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Re: without disturbance(s)

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:24 pm

If the perceived risk to the dialogue is from internal sources:
"The political dialogue between the two countries has been developing {without hindrance / unhindered / unimpeded / smoothly} and in an atmosphere of mutual trust."
If the perceived risk to the dialogue is external to these two countries:
"The political dialogue between the two countries has been developing without {interference / intervention} and in an atmosphere of mutual trust."
In my view, 'has been developing' and 'has been progressing' both sound fine. They have equivalent meanings in this context.

The plural form 'without disturbances' suggests 'without street demonstrations or violence'.

'Without disturbance' does not carry this connotation, but still sounds incorrect to me in this context. It's hard for me to put my finger on why this should be so, but it occurs to me that 'developing without disturbance' seems more suitable for describing a process that affects a single entity rather than a relationship between two or more entities.

Other people may have a different perception -- if so, I hope they'll say so.
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Re: without disturbance(s)

Post by dante » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:35 pm

Thank you for the elaborate explanation Erik, I thought something was wrong with "without disturbances" in this context. The meaning I was looking for had to express the fact that there weren't any administrative or political impediments in the process of negotiating.
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Re: without disturbance(s)

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:03 am

Yes, Erik picks up on the different 'feel' plural and singular nouns following without give. Macmillan is happy with both the following:

The operation proceeded without any major problems.

... an attack that came without any warning.

And I'm sure most people would opt for these versions rather than (either of) the alternatives.
Without warning, without permission, without word and without hesitation are collocations (Free Online Collocations Dictionary) where count nouns (permission admittedly fairly unusually) are treated more as non-count nouns - perhaps mimicking without thinking, without saying, without help and without knowing - non-count in these usages; the singular forms are preferred.
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Re: without disturbance(s)

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:38 am

dante wrote:I'm also unsure if "has been developing" was better replaced with "has been progressing", and whether there is a difference in the meaning between the two in the sentence I gave.
.. dante, unlike Erik, I feel there is a temporal difference between the two phrases ..

"has been developing" >> to me this implies, and I would read it as such, that the negotiations are in the formative stages .. just starting .. not yet completely organised .. the roadwork and power is in but the houses are not being built ..

"has been progressing" >> to me this implies, and I would read it as such, that the negotiations are in place, have been ongoing and are now building on previous work .. the roadwork and power is in and the houses are being built and people are beginning to buy the houses ..

WoZ sitting on the hill watching
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Re: without disturbance(s)

Post by dante » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:21 am

Thank you very much guys.
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