In my text I have a German term "Entscheidungsbaum" for which there is no common abbreviation. Much better known is the English term "Decision Tree" and its abbreviation "DT".

My first approach was to write the English term and the abbreviation in brackets behind it:

Ein Entscheidungsbaum (englisch: Decision Tree (DT)) ist ein binärer Baum...

... Der Einsatz von DTs ist für Klassifikations- und Regressionsprobleme geeignet.

Afterwards I would always use "DT" in the following text to refer to it.

Is this legitimate?

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    Ich würde nicht Klammern in Klammern benutzen, sondern „ (englisch: Decision Tree, DT)“ schreiben.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 9:57
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    Why not just use Entscheidungsbaum? It's only one word.
    – TonyK
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 21:09
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    @TonyK because very likely this 17-letter-word will be used several times in the text. It is very natural that one does not want to type such a long word more than two or three times in an article, on the other hand, frequent use of copy-paste would interrupt one's typing-flow. Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 0:54
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    So wie Du die engl. Abkürzung selbst einführst kannst Du auch eine dt. Abk. einführen: "Ein Entscheidungsbaum (i.F.: EB, englisch: Decision Tree) ist ein binärer Baum... - i.F. steht für im Folgenden. Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 3:45
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    @VolkerLandgraf It may have been "natural" in the times of mechanical typewriters to try to use abbreviations for repeating lengthy words. I do not see a need in the times of word processors. Abbreviations, especially custom ones (i.e. to which the reader is not accustomed), are likely to be a nuisance for the reader. Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


Is this legitimate?

Specifically for techincal / scientific documentation it's legitimate, yes.
Especially if the technical / scientific fields main or major language is English.

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    When you have to introduce an abbrevation not known to the reader (here: DT), you would better introduce an abbrevation in the language of your text. For Entscheidungsbaum, why not use EB (after spelling the word fully at its first occurrance)? Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 16:35

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