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What You Have to Know When Adapting German Document Translation?

Posted by Ariel D. on July 28, 2022.

Many people might assume that German is like English since they have a common ancestor, owning many lexical and sentence structure parallels. But German document translation cannot be considered the same as English or any other source of languages. There are also grammatical, stylistic, and cultural distinctions to be cautious of.

This article would introduce some important notes about German document translation that every localization manager has to remember when entering Germany.

#1. The Noun Assumes such a Predominant Position in German Syntax

While most languages choose verbs as the major players in effectively communicating our information, Germans cherish their nouns.

Nouns are used as information carriers by the Germans since their semantically trained minds immediately scan and understand them. It might be argued that our semantic scanning mechanism favors sentences with one or more verbs while looking for explanations.

Therefore, if you encounter a German composition on the paper, you are required to choose which nouns, especially noun compounds, you may still use in the German document translation and which ones need more extensive transformational procedures.

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When more words are required to clarify the compound nouns, you should anticipate a 35% increase in the text length. And the best solution for it is utilizing desktop publishing services.

This process can alter the font or word size accurately, and maintain the translated document’s design as close as the original.


#2. Every Noun is Capitalized and All of Them Have Genders

You might be surprised to find lengthy sentences laced with capitalized, big phrases if you ever pick up a German newspaper. This is due to the fact that all nouns in German are capitalized; it is not a choice.

Moreover, German nouns come in three genders: masculine, feminine, and neutral. Despite the fact that it doesn’t always correspond with the gender of the thing it is designating, gender in German is entirely grammatical, in spite of the fact that at first look it doesn’t seem to make much sense. In the immortal words of Mark Twain, “In German, a young girl has no sex, but a turnip does.”

To have a German document translation without grammar errors, you should work with native German speakers because they can clearly understand this point and handle the nouns successfully.


#3. Punctuation Matters in German Document Translation

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Punctuation is a fantastic instrument. You can use a full stop to break up long and awkward phrases and paragraphs. However, you should also use full stops when the German language uses a colon followed by what is essentially a new notion or argument.

Similarly, Germans utilize hyphens more frequently. However, commas should generally be used with caution because of how important and strictly controlled their use is in German.

You should make sure that your linguists understand this style when handling German document translation.


#4. Choose The Right Dialects for Your German Document Translation

There are now 30 different dialects of German in use, and although they are not as widely used as they once were, it is nevertheless usual for people to speak dialect at home with their family.

The dialect culture is far more prevalent in some regions of the nation than in others, particularly in Bavaria and the Rhineland. The Standard German used in writing and public life is called Hochdeutsch, and it is used by all German speakers. Although Hochdeutsch serves a similar purpose to BBC English or Received Pronunciation, employing it does not make you a snob. Germans display their social position and level of education in numerous ways.

Since the dialect varies greatly depending on your location, before translating any German document, you might need to spend some time researching the right language to adapt.


#5. German Formerly Had its Own Fonts

Despite having the same alphabet, German and English did not share a common script for many centuries.

German printed texts are often written in the Fraktur Gothic style, which dates back to the 14th century. Fraktur lost its popularity after 1945 for a variety of reasons, including the ever-increasing level of collaboration across Europe.

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Antiqua is another simple type of font that is easy for everyone to read, meanwhile Blackletter is frequently utilized in signs and advertising to present a “traditional” atmosphere.

Then, you should wisely pick up the most appropriate font for your German document translation depending on your type of paper and the context of your content, then remember to add these details to your Translation Style Guide.


#6. German Document Translation Requires Specificity

With the complex grammar and many German words that have no equivalence, you need to be careful when translating any German paper. Here are 2 useful tips to get the correct result.

Proofread the German Document Translation Carefully

No translation of a text is finished unless it has been carefully reviewed several times. This implies that the finest translator will not only provide a high-quality translation but will also carefully read it at least twice to spot any faults that are simple to overlook. The German translation will then be given to another skilled native translator who will carefully review it in order to catch any remaining errors.

Do Not Translate Word by Word

Before beginning the translation, it’s critical for the translator to understand the main points of the source material. It is impossible to translate each word correctly by starting from the beginning. Such a translation may be made by a free internet translator, and the result might be a stream of words and sentences that seem random and don’t flow smoothly.

Some online word-for-word translations that are done for free provide muddled translations that are hard to understand.


To Sum Up

This article has revealed 6 typical points of German document translation that you must know before working on any localization project in this country. German translation might sound challenging but if you partner with a professional translation agency, achieving a high-quality result is not difficult.

GTE Localize, a translation and localization company, offers the best solution for your needs. With a team of native German translators having at least 5 years of experience, GTE can handle any type of German document translation smoothly and effectively.

Contact us immediately to get a reasonable quote from our dedicated consultants!

german document translation