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Is "one in twenty" translated as "every twentieth" (ie, "Jeder zwanzigste"), as I saw in one text where I would have used the former?

If so, this would apply for any "one in N" correct? Do people use both?

If so, when would I use each?

  • I consider 5% even more common, x:y ratios are not so easy to grasp. – guidot Feb 15 '19 at 22:08
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If so, this would apply for any "one in N" correct? Do people use both?

Yes, both expressions are correct and commonly used:

  • Jeder zwanzigste

  • Einer von zwanzig

If so, when would I use each?

The expressions can be used interchangably.

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Here's a translator's vote to say that the standard translation of "one in twenty" is "jede/s/r zwanzigste".

"Eine(s/r) von zwanzig" is less frequent (in spite of many thoughtless literal translations on the net) and less intuitive for German readers than for Anglophones.

The main reason for that is that before the influence of the English phrase took a hold via literal translations, the German phrase used to mean not a percentage, but rather an absolute count: one element from a set of twenty elements. For instance:

Einer von zehn Millionen

einer von zwanzig

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    "the German phrase used to mean not a percentage, but rather an absolute count" - that's still the case; it can usually be determined from the context which one is meant. – O. R. Mapper Feb 16 '19 at 11:10
  • @O.R.Mapper – definitely, sorry if I wasn’t clear. – Endre Both Feb 16 '19 at 12:17

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