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I see this sentence in this dictionary.

Other recommendations relate to the details of how such data is stored.

My question is if I can replace relate to with are related to/are relevant to in this sentence.

Other recommendations are related/relevant to the details of how such data is stored.

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relate

ult. from Lat. referre, 'to carry, bring, or drive back'

  • (usu. w/'to') to report, to give an account of

  • (legal, usu. w/'back') to have retroactive effect

  • (usu. w/'to') to reference, to refer to

  • (usu. w/'to') to have a connection with, to stand in relation to

  • (usu. w/'to' or 'with') to bring into relation with, to establish a relationship between

  • to connect, to link

  • (w/'back to') to derive from, to stand in relation to sth past

  • (w/'to') to feel empathy for, to feel a connection with

  • some obsolete senses

related

the past part. of Eng. relate, 'to have been or come into relation'

  • (also in compounds) [mutually] connected to, having [mutual] relation to

  • connected by blood, belonging to the same family

  • (biol.) sharing an ancestor

  • some obsolete senses, incl. noun use via Lat. relatum ('related [thing]')

relevant

ult. from Lat. relevans, 'lightening, easing, relieving'

  • (Scot. legal) legally sufficient or pertinent

  • pertinent, bearing on the subject at hand

  • appropriate, applicable

  • some obsolete senses


In other words, the first two are synonyms w/r/t connected concepts.

These recommendations relate to the details of our data storage proposal.

These recommendations are related to the details of our data storage proposal.

'These recommendations are relevant to the details of our data storage', on the other hand, implies they have an importance to your data storage but may not themselves directly discuss it. They just have some kind of significant effect upon it.

They're not synonyms w/r/t people.

I relate to her or I can relate to her. [I empathize with her experience, thoughts, and/or feelings.]

I am related to her. [She belongs to my family.]

I am relevant to her. [She values my opinion, although it's an odd sentence.]

They're not exact synonyms w/r/t narratives or accounts.

I related the report to him. [I told him about the report.]

I am related the report to him. [This is nonsense.]

The report was related to him. [Someone told him about the report.]

I am relevant the report to him. [This is nonsense.]

The report was relevant to him. [The report had some significance to him.]

They're not exact synonyms w/r/t to references to the past.

The report relates back to the incident in July. [There is a mention in the report about the July incident.]

The report is related to the incident in July. [*The report caused or is mainly concerned with the July incident.*]

The report is relevant to the incident in July. [The July incident should be understood at least in part based on an understanding of the report.]

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Grammatically, yes you can. Each one has a bit of a different nuance (what follows is nothing more than my intuition as a native speaker):

Other recommendations relate to the details of how such data is stored.

This sentence is the most neutral in nuance, and doesn't really have a specific focus. This is probably how you would find it written in a technical manual or something.

Other recommendations are related to the details of how such data is stored.

Using the state related to puts more emphasis on the relationship than either of the component parts. I would say something like this if I were talking about several different groups of recommendations, each one related to a different topic. I would tend to use this form when speaking to someone and explaining the difference.

Other recommendations are relevant to the details of how such data is stored.

While relevant to also implies related to, it has less of a direct one. It makes the two pieces feel more separated, and while one might help you understand the other may not be necessary to know one to understand the other.

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In your sentence, yes. The phrases can be interchanged without effectively changing the meaning. However, that may not always be the case.

I can relate to that.

This means that I can understand it.

I am related to her.

This means that she and I share some kind of family connection, either by blood or marriage.

The two concepts are related.

This means that the concepts have something in common—they are similar. Unlike people who are related, it's not a familial bond.

Without any context, and reading only the title of your question, I would assume that "relate to" means to "understand," and "be related to" means to be "part of the same family."

But within the context of the actual sentence you provided, the meaning of the two phrases is the same—that of "conceptual similarity."

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Other recommendations relate to the details

This implies the recommendations were created with the details in mind.

Other recommendations are related/relevant to the details

This implies we found the recommendations and learned they were related to the details.


Notes:

  • The first sentence makes it seem like you were paying more attention or more engaged with the recommendations.

  • The "family relationship" meaning of relate is always used in passive voice, and is typically used to talk about someone more than "1 step" away like cousins, aunts, uncles, e.g. "I am related to her, she is my aunt." X relates to Y when not talking about family typically identifies a transitive relationship (A shares characteristics with B = B shares those same characteristics with A).

  • Relate doesn't really have strong "hierarchical" meaning outside of this "family relationship" case (it's more of an "X and Y share something"). Therefore the "direction" of relate (is X relating to Y or is Y relating to X) is often immaterial and passive voice use changes the implication as described above more than the actual meaning.

  • Alternate meanings that aren't related: "X related to Y" can be synonymous with "X disclosed information to Y" or "X understands Y well". E.g. "I relate to my mom" means "My mom understands me well", and "I related to my wife that she was not to come to the house" means "I told her that she was not to come to the house", etc.

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