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Category Archives: Translations

Paper, paper everywhere …

How would you translate the German word “Zettelwirtschaft”? Piles of paperwork? Paper chaos? Bits of paper everywhere?

You don’t know the word? Deutsche Welle explains it nicely.

Small but tricky

Germans have that lovely little word bitte. But how on earth can it be translated? Darf ich bitte das Buch haben? May I have the book, please? While handing the book over to you, the person might say: Bitte schön. Or Bitte sehr. And you would reply: Thank you. In German, when you say Danke orContinue Reading

A tricky word to translate

People seem to find  kündigen a difficult word to translate. So here we go … If your employer decides that s/he doesn’t want to work with you anymore, s/he might choose to dismiss or to fire you. If you want to stop working with your employer (that means that you want to terminate the contract), youContinue Reading

A tricky translation

So you go to someone with an Anliegen. You could say that you have a request to make. But you could, quite simply, say that you have something important you’d like to talk about.

How would you translate this?

When I first came to Germany and was asked to translate a letter into English, I came across the German word beziehungsweise or the short form bzw. and had absolutely no idea how to translate it in an adequate way. So let’s form a sentence with the German word: Martin und Lisa sind seit 6 beziehungsweise 9Continue Reading

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome

Do you know the song from “Cabaret” with Liza Minnelli? It starts with Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome … In German, we say Willkommen in … In English, it’s always welcome to … Welcome to my party. Welcome to the meeting. Welcome to Cologne. Welcome to my blog.

Do you have knickknacks lying around the house?

Do you know the word “knickknacks”? They are all those small, worthless objects that we seem to gather over the years. As Deutsche Welle writes, you might find them “tucked away in the kitchen drawer, hiding in the closet, gathering dust on the shelf, or packed up in a box under the bed”. The word sounds veryContinue Reading

Do you know what a “Laibchen” is?

How would you translate “bread rolls” into German? I thought everybody called them “Brötchen”, but I’ve just read on the Deutsche Welle website that other names are used, too – including “Schrippe”, “Wecken” und “Semmel”. Read the text to find out what people call that crusty dry end of a loaf of bread. And findContinue Reading

Are you a fidget?

According to the Deutsche Welle, “Die Geschichte vom Zappelphilipp” (The Story of Fidgety Philip) was written in 1845 by the German psychiatrist and writer, Heinrich Hoffmann. It’s about a boy who just couldn’t sit still. I think that every German child knows the story. If someone calls a child a “Zappelphilipp”, whether a girl or aContinue Reading

A little bit of “Kummerspeck”?

“Kummerspeck” is one of those German words that is quite difficult or even impossible to translate. According to the Deutsche Welle, it refers to the extra weight you might put on after a bout of emotional eating. So one might say something like, “My sister has been worrying a great deal about her new job. This hasContinue Reading