I'm reading a book about physics, Lisa Randall's "Kocking on Heaven's Door," together with its translation into German by Jürgen Schröder, "Die Vermessung des Universums." From Chapter Ten:
"Even though paradigms might shift dramatically at different ranges of scales, we rarely encounter such abrupt shifts in the data itself. Data that was already available sometimes precipitated changes in paradigms, such as when quantum mechanics ultimately explained known spectral lines. But often small deviations from predictions in active experiments are preludes to more dramatic evidence to come."
"Auch wenn die Paradigmen sich auf unterschiedlichen Skalen dramatisch verändern könnten, begegnen wir nur selten plötzlich einer solchen abrupten Veränderung in den Messdaten. Daten, die bereits vorlagen stießen manchmal einen Paradigmenwechsel an, wie z. B. als die Quantenmechanik schließlich die bekannten Spectrallinien erklärte. Aber häufig sind kleine Abweichungen von den Vorhersagen ein Vorspiel zu künftigen drastischeren Hinweisen."
I note that the English here (boldface) is written in the simple past. I myself would have chosen the present perfect. In other words, I would have written: "Data already available have sometimes precipitated changes in paradigms ... ." (I would also construe "data" as plural, but that is another story.)*
Now my question is: In the German, is the Präteritum really a better choice here than the Perfekt?
*It is sometimes said that American English uses the simple past in cases like this, whereas British English uses the present perfect. I think it's more accurate to say that, for whatever reason, many Americans are oblivious to the distinction, or more casual about observing it; but among those who care, Americans are just as likely as Brits to distinguish between the simple past and the present perfect.