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Unspeakable translations of touchy terms in German

The German left-wing political discourse often uses English loanwords, although there are more or less fitting German equivalents. When you think about why, it can get scary. Loan words, like other catchy terms, can serve as a way to skip the thought process. 1. Empowerment As in “community empowerment,” which is often used in grant … Continue reading Unspeakable translations of touchy terms in German

Shop for a helper, end up with a second job – the X1 Carbon

Executive summary: Don’t buy Lenovo laptops! Their features are ok, their service is an insult. As an avid user of the old ThinkPad series, I was looking to upgrade my 2008 model for a newer one. As I travel a lot, I need a lightweight model with professional power, so I bought the Lenovo X1 … Continue reading Shop for a helper, end up with a second job – the X1 Carbon

Subject/agent splitting and personification in translation

One special case of the old rule to never use the passive voice is what I call “subject/agent splitting.” German loves not just passive clauses without agents, but also scattering the subject all over a sentence. It’s a bad writing habit few are aware of and occurs in many other languages. While as a rule … Continue reading Subject/agent splitting and personification in translation

Moral dilemma of translating bureaucratic euphemisms

If you ever had to deal with the German welfare system, you’ve probably heard the term “Bedarfsgemeinschaft” (BG). Wikipedia says the construct dates back to the 2005 Hartz IV reforms and refers to people with special personal or family relationships who live in the same household. It basically means (and I’m not a lawyer) if … Continue reading Moral dilemma of translating bureaucratic euphemisms

Politeness – please get lost in translation

Your multilingual ad copy sounds it swallowed a walking stick? By far the most common translation mistake is not losing things in translation but keeping them. Here are two stylistic devices that don’t work the same across languages. Talk to readers directly German and French organization still tend to speak of themselves and of their … Continue reading Politeness – please get lost in translation

Notary translator for property purchase contracts

Oh, so you’re buying in Friedrichshain? Well, before you can “be Berlin,” the German bureaucracy has some more of that welcome culture for you. One of our cherished traditions is having a notary read out the purchase contract to the buyer and the seller (or their real estate agent) in German. It might not make … Continue reading Notary translator for property purchase contracts

New EU regulation on official document translations from Feb 2019

EU Regulation 2016/1191 will take effect on 19 February 2019. The EU passed a regulation to simplify the circulation of certain public documents between EU member states in 2016. It will take effect on 16 February 2019. This regulation aims to reduce administrative overhead and promote free movement for EU citizens. It requires authorities of … Continue reading New EU regulation on official document translations from Feb 2019