Category Archives: spelling and orthography

Months in Finnish (and how to write the date)

The months in Finnish are the following (English names in brackets):

  • tammikuu (January)
  • helmikuu (February)
  • maaliskuu (March)
  • huhtikuu (April)
  • toukokuu (May)
  • kesäkuu (June)
  • heinäkuu (July)
  • elokuu (August)
  • syyskuu (September)
  • lokakuu (October)
  • marraskuu (November)
  • joulukuu (December).

The date is normally expressed in the following ways:

  • 6.12.2015 = 6. joulukuuta 2015
  • 29.11.1962 = 29. marraskuuta 1962
  • 15.6.2016 = 15. kesäkuuta 2016

Please note that in the date expression where the month name is written out, there is a full stop after the number indicating the day,  and the ending ‘- ta’ must be added to the month name.

Shortening of the month names is done by dropping  the “kuu” part out of the word (kuu =month):  tammi, helmi, maalis etc.

In Finnish texts, dates are commonly written with numbers only:  3.1.2015. In more solemn texts, month names are used: 3. tammikuuta 2015.

In the Finnish templates, e.g. QRD template version 10.1 , SPC sections 9 and 10 (see below),  the expression ‘PP kuukausi VVVV’ is not correct – the date must be expressed PP. kuukautta VVVV. 

  1. MYYNTILUVAN MYÖNTÄMISPÄIVÄMÄÄRÄ/UUDISTAMISPÄIVÄMÄÄRÄ

<Myyntiluvan myöntämisen päivämäärä: {PP kuukausi VVVV}>(My note: the spelling of the date is wrong)

<Viimeisimmän uudistamisen päivämäärä: {PP kuukausi VVVV}> (My note: the spelling of the date is wrong)

  1. TEKSTIN MUUTTAMISPÄIVÄMÄÄRÄ

{KK/VVVV}>

<{PP.KK.VVVV}>

<{PP kuukausi VVVV}> (My note: the spelling of the date is wrong)

———————————

Month names can have other endings, too (e.g. in July = heinäkuussa),  so if you have to insert a month name in Finnish in the text but you don’t know Finnish, it is wise to ask a person who knows Finnish to check your insertion.

 

Non-breaking spaces (sitovat välilyönnit)

When translating or editing product information, one is often asked to use non-breaking spaces(ctrl/shift/space). But where to use them? The answer (or perhaps rather the ‘minimum requirements’) can be found in the EMA document called “Compilation of QRD decisions on stylistic matters in product information“. The following guidance has been copied from it:

  • Degrees: There should be a non-breaking space (ctrl/shift/space) between the figure and the º symbol, and no space between the º symbol and the indicator of scale used; e.g. 10 ºC
  •  Numbers (figures) + unit/symbol: There should be a non-breaking space (ctrl/shift/space) between the figure and the unit or symbol, e.g. 100 ml, > 10, etc.
  • If a space is used between thousands. In Finnish both ways of writing are possible:   1 000,00* or 1000,00 (*non-breaking space (ctrl/shift/space)

Punctuation errors in EMA templates: spaces missing

In the Finnish EMA templates there are some mistakes in punctuation. At least the following:
– in the Appendix II (MedDRA frequency convention) no space has been inserted between the angle brackets and digits, although there should be a space: < 1/10 000 would be correct.
– in Appendix III: 25°C and similar expressions: there should be a space after the number and before the degree mark . The correct way of writing is thus 25 °C.

It is very annoying for the translator that such mistakes are present in the templates.  One has to choose: either one writes correctly (and perhaps adds a comment that the template is wrong) or writes according to the template, saves time (no need to write comments) but growls quietly!

Hyphen, en-dash or em-dash between digits?

Using spaces and different punctuation marks in Finnish is not easy. I think most Finns do not even know all the rules; I did not learn all the details at school, although I was good in writing.  Often I have to check a rule in a handbook of orthography.

When writing e.g. “ks. sivut 16–21” (“see pp. 16–21”), in Finnish one should use the en-dash without spaces. The em-dash is not recommended in Finnish.
However, if the en-dash cannot be used, then one can use the hyphen with spaces on both sides:  “ks. sivut 16 – 21“.

And it seems WordPress cannot make a difference in length between the hyphen and the en-dash…!

A hyphen is the shortest, an en-dash is the width of the letter n and an em-dash is the width of the letter m.

The hyphen can be created by Alt +45 on the numerical keyboard; the codes for en-dash and em-dash are Alt +0150 and Alt + 0151, respectively.

A good handbook for finding all the rules is Kielitoimiston oikeinkirjoitusopas.

“Tradenamex kovat kapselit” or “kovat Tradenamex-kapselit”?

“Tradenamex kovat kapselit” (Tradenamex hard capsules) – is this good Finnish?  In my opinion it isn’t – nor is this name type:

“Tradenamex Medium 500 mg poretabletti”  (Tradenamex Medium 200 mg effervescent tablet). (“Tradenamex” and “Tradenamex Medium” present trade names here).

I think the correct forms would be as follows:

“Kovat Tradenamex-kapselit”  and

“500 mg:n Tradenamex Medium -poretabletti” / “Tradenamex Medium 500 mg -poretabletit”.

I would like to hear what Finnish language specialists think about this name problem.

Another thing that regularly annoys me is the following. Here are some Standard Terms:

Capsule, hard = Kapseli, kova
Capsule, soft = Kapseli, pehmeä
Chewable capsule, soft = Purukapseli, pehmeä
However, when you use this kind of a Standard Term in an entire phrase, I m puzzled what to do with the adjective, that cannot be left in the basic form in Finnish:
 Blisters contain 14, 21 or 56 capsules, hard.
-> Läpipainopakkaukset sisältävät 14, 21 tai 56 kapselia, kovaa (or kovia?).
My question is which form I should use here?  The simplest solution would be to write “… 56 kovaa kapselia”, but that is not an option here, as the Standard Term has to be kept as it is…?  Any advice is welcome.

“CYP3A4:n estäjä” or “CYP3A4-estäjä”?

One sees both “CYP3A4-estäjä” and “CYP3A:n estäjä” as translations for “CYP3A4 inhibitor”. Which one is correct, or are they both correct? Which one should I use?

A Fimea article about translations from Dec 2, 2008 (which unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the Fimea website by now) prefers the form “CYP3A4:n estäjä”. The person who has written the article doesn’t  mention this specific term, but “CYP:n estäjä, ACE:n estäjä, COX:n estäjä are recommended instead of “CYP-estäjä”, ACE-estäjä, COX-estäjä”.