töiden jälkeen / työn päätyttyä


Senior Member
English, USA
Excerpts from a company's safety guidelines:

Kaasupullot on vietävä niille osoitettuun paikkaan töiden jälkeen ja varmistettava, etteivät ne pääse kaatumaan.

"The gas cylinders must be brought to their designated location [??], and steps must be taken to ensure that they will not fall over."

On tärkeää, että kaasupullot sijoitetaan aina työn päätyttyä niille varattuun paikkaan.

"It is important for the gas cylinders to be placed in their designated location [??]."

When a Finnish speaker reads these sentences, what will he/she understand the highlighted phrases to mean?

- After the whole work day is over?

- Or, after the specific job the workers were doing is over?
(I.e., the job in which they were using the gas cylinders.)

In English, I'd say that the phrases "after work" or "when work is over" will generally be understood to mean "when the work day is over". But if we add the definite article ("after the work ..."), it becomes more ambiguous, and could conceivably mean after a particular job.

Since Finnish doesn't have definite articles, it's harder to tell which of these is intended (if either).

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  • I would say "(aina) työn päätyttyä" means "after finishing a specific job", while "töiden jälkeen" would mean e.g. "after the work shift, before leaving the workplace". In Finnish, "töissä" (the plural inessive) is idiomatically used in expressions like "olla töissä" = being at work or even having a job (rather than being unemployed). Also, when you leave your work at 5 o'clock, you might say "lähden töistä".

    Having said that, the expression "töiden jälkeen" could also be translated along the lines "after the jobs/tasks/activities", so it is not 100 % clear what is meant in your excerpt number 1.
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    I got in touch with someone at the company that produced this text, and they said that according to their intentions, the highlighted phrases could potentially have either meaning, depending on the context.

    As a side note, I have to say that one of the consistent difficulties in Finnish -> English translation is that it's not always readily apparent whether työ should be rendered as "work" or as "job" (or equivalent synonyms).

    "job" is usually a countable noun, referring to a specific project/task or other instance of work, whereas "work" is often non-countable and tends to be vaguer/more indefinite in scope.
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