Concise meets precise

Anyone translating from German into English or vice-versa will quickly realize that it involves more than just juggling two different languages , but also very different lengths of text. Wilhelm Weigert (51), philologist with over 25 years of professional experience in translation and localization, has a good example here: “The question ‘How to innovate an innovation averse industry?’ simply cannot be put this concisely in German. Instead the German wording would be roughly equivalent to: ‘How does one give impetus to an industry that is sluggish in its innovation?’”

German is usually 20% longer.

'On average an English translation will be 20% shorter than its German source,' says Dr Dr Rűdiger Marcus Flaig, sworn translator authorised by the Regional Court of Munich. This factor needs to be considered if the layout is defined or there is only limited space available for software translations.

Doch Die Textlänge Ist Natürli

Im Schnitt Verlängert Sich Ei
Vereidigte Übersetzer Dr Dr Rű

The challenge: cutting to the core of the English sentence

In many cases professional translators will mutate into text editors to prevent the German translation spilling over ; they will be familiar with tricks and techniques to pare down the German and to tease out the essence of the English sentence – without discarding essential content. This calls for experience, interpretation, linguistic dexterity and imagination. So sometimes “it will be necessary to do without a slavishly faithful translation” if space for the German text is limited. What counts is that the translation still communicates the underlying idea of the text”, says translator Weigert.

Für Viele Begriffe Gibt Es Kei

Zusätzlich Erschwert Wird Die

Güter Aller Branchen Müssen A
Fachübersetzer Darrel Knutson

“Not all valves are the same”

English can be a tricky business too: Some words for instance, such as ‘set’ or ‘slot’, have dozens of potential German translations . “This requires specific understanding, experience and knowledge of the relevant technical language”, says translator Flaig. His colleague Weigert concurs: “You need experience and relevant expertise to find the right term for each product in any industry. “Not all valves are the same.” Avoiding anglicisms when translating from English also requires a keen sense of language, Weigert explains: “This separates the wheat from the chaff : A good translator would never use ‘die Bedürfnisse Ihrer Kunden adressieren’ for ‘to address the needs of your customers’ or ‘für weitere Informationen sehen Sie’ as equivalent to ‘for further information please see’.”

English – German, German – English: a well-beaten track in the global economy

Die Übersetzer Sind Sich Ihrer

Darrel Knutson

Professioneller Übersetzer

Darrel Knutson was born and raised in the USA and today lives with his wife close to Hamburg. He has worked as a professional IT translator for English and German for around 20 years.

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