I find the following phrasing in software I receive from German authors. There will often be an installation instruction to place a line into a file in a certain location. For example:
Where there is a list of programs like this:
ProgramA ProgramB ProgramC
The instruction is:
"Place MyProgram behind ProgramB"
I find that 'behind' is ambiguous. Should I treat it as "after/below ProgramB" or "before/above ProgramB"?
I have found this phrasing in texts from numerous native-German speakers when they write instructions in their usually perfect English, so I conclude there is some extra meaning in the German words they have in their head when they translate to "behind".
Thanks for you inputs. I am a native English speaker who has studied some German in the distant past.
Digging into the etymology of 'behind' shows its shared root with 'hinter' through the Old English 'hinder'. This perhaps explains the preference to use it, with the nuances 'hinter' has in German that are uncommon in English.
'Behind' is typical used when the context has meanings of depth, and as such becomes ambiguous when used in a flat list. Checking in Merriam-Webster the preposition usage of "following in order" with the context "marched behind the band" is certainly closest. This does not feel to be the common usage in abstract contexts, but I have not researched this.
In English, if the end result is intended as:
ProgramA ProgramB MyProgram ProgramC
Then the native phrasing would almost certainly be:
"Place MyProgram after ProgramB"
"Place MyProgram before ProgramC"
'After'/'before' contain meanings of ordering which are unambiguous (to my ears, at least).
@Haunt_House's answer shows the ambiguity beautifully - 'behind' could easily mean this if you did not know the context that each program must be on its own line.
@Carsten states the answer clearly that, in translation, 'behind' is sometimes used where 'after' is preferable.
@Takkat - I do not know the original word, as noted this is a common phraseology I find in software written by German authors, which I'm afraid is commonly provided only with English documentation.