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Category Archives: Translations

They are not your friends

Watch out for false friends. You think they’re easy to translate, but they’re not.

An example. You can’t use the word “handy” to mean the German word “Handy”. The word to use is “mobile phone” “or “cell phone”.

You’ll find ay long list here.

Translating a German menu

Translating the menu for a foreign visitor is always tricky. Have you seen my German-English Food Glossary?

German words we use in English

Look at these German words that have no direct English translation.

Another tricky word

Here’s a word that is often used wrongly because it looks very much like an English word. “Bekommen” means “to get” and not “to become” (which means “werden“). So how would you translate the following sentence? Wir bekommen jeden Tag viel Post.  I’d like to suggest: We get (or receive) a lot of post every day.Continue Reading

A tricky word

How would you translate the following German sentence? Wir müssen das heute nicht entscheiden. I’d like to suggest something like: We don’t have to decide today Watch out for “müssen nicht“. It doesn’t mean “must not” (that’s dürfen nicht). Just use “don’t have to“.

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