Light athletics vs. track and field

English: Track and field

A company that produces running track surfaces should know the name of the sport it is used for. (Photo credit: Elaron)

A couple of years ago, I attended a company presentation as part of a job market session at a big physics conference in Germany. Two high-potential employees, with doctoral degrees from famous universities and way too much self-confidence, discussed the different markets their company is engaged in. Of course there was the usual talk about how the company only hires the best people, etc. However, the one slide I remember best had the term light athletics on it. It was the result of translating the German word Leichtathletik into English without even considering the possibility that the correct answer could be something else (of course you know that it is either athletics, track and field, or athletic sports). Specifically, the speaker pointed out that his company provided the surface for the running track of the 2009 World Championships in Athletics.  Hence, even if you have very good English skills, make sure you don’t make a fool of yourself. Use the dictionary!

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One thought on “Light athletics vs. track and field

  1. Ideal line is a false friend – painfulenglish

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