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Attempting to translate:

United States Robots guaranteed their passing the test of actual performance on an asteroid.

Die Vereinigte-Staaten-Roboter hat garantiert, dass sie die Prüfung in der eigentlichen Leistung auf einem Asteroiden bestehen würden.

but was corrected to:

Die Vereinigte-Staaten-Roboter hat garantiert, dass sie die Prüfung der eigentlichen Leistung auf einem Asteroiden bestehen würden.

While the majority of examples in DWDS agree with the correction, I did find this counterexample:

Archiv der Gegenwart, Bd. 51, 01.01.1981, S. 24123 [ff.]. Zit. n. CD-ROM-Ausgabe 2001. Die polnischen und die sowjetischen Soldaten haben in den gemeinsamen Manövern die Prüfung in der Beherrschung der Kampftechnik bestanden.

Does valid usage vary or is there a rationale for one usage or the other?

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  • Heißt die Firma nicht US Robotics? Firmennamen werden nicht übersetzt. Meine Übersetzung wäre "US Robotics garantiert, dass sie die eigentliche Leistungsprüfung auf einem Asteroiden bestehen würden" Commented May 17, 2023 at 22:23

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It depends.

Prüfung in is used with e.g. school subjects or other areas of competence:

Morgen haben wir eine Prüfung in Mathe.

Prüfung + <genitive> is used when something specific is actually tested:

Die Prüfung der Feuermelder wurde anstandslos abgeschlossen.

The example with the combat technique is borderline, I think both would be valid. You could either consider "Beherrschung der Kampftechnik" a subject area or the actual thing that is being evaluated.

DWDS does not explicitly mention this distinction, but you can see Prüfung + <genitive> examples under meaning "1. Das Prüfen" and one Prüfung in [Russisch] under meaning "2. Verfahren, bei dem jmds. Kenntnisse [...] festgestellt werden sollen".

It appears that "test" in English works similarly.

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  • Based upon these criteria, I would have to say then, that the original correction was incorrect, because it is with regard to performance on asteroids in general, not the particular performance on a particular asteroid. Would you agree? Seems to me there can be many instances subject to interpretation.
    – user44591
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 17:37
  • I'm missing the larger context, what kind of test, what kind of performance etc. But it appears to me that it is the performance itself that is being assessed, so I would agree with the correction. Commented May 17, 2023 at 19:31
  • That's the problem. The English provides no further context. It is the performance. But isn't a test in mathematics also a test of performance in mathematics or performance of work done in mathematics? And similarly for any academic subject matter? So isn't a test of performance of work on an asteroid also a test of work done on an asteroid? I do not see how one can say that one is specific and the other not.
    – user44591
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 20:03
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    Just like in English, the way you just used it: "Test in mathematics." "Test of performance in mathematics." is the same as "Prüfung in Mathe." and "Prüfung der Mathefähigkeiten." (der is plural genitive here). Commented May 18, 2023 at 13:33
  • That is clear. I appreciate the thoroughness of your response.
    – user44591
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 14:35

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