Interesting Challenges for German Translations

Interesting Challenges for German Translations

When undertaking a German translation it is not as simple as just learning the meanings of German words in your own language and the idioms, too. There are other things to consider. For example, in an English to German translation punctuation has to be used correctly. There are also abbreviations used in German that should be known and used appropriately.

It is important with any German translation that umlauts are used correctly and a good German translator will know when to use them even if he or she is not a first language speaker of German. Most translators will use a single keyboard which can be switched so that features like umlauts can be used on that keyboard. The German alphabet, while using Latin symbols does have its own letters such as ß in addition to the umlauted vowels.

The German language has its own set of abbreviations and it is important that they are used appropriately in all translations. When using abbreviations both the shortened form and the expanded form need to be known first, the translator decides what needs to be translated and if there is any accepted or official way of performing the translation. Not every German translator will be good at this type of translation so a good German translation services provider must be used to get the abbreviations correctly translated. There are a large number of authoritative sources that provide specific help for those looking for German abbreviations. “Die umfangreichste medizinische Abkürzungslexikon” for example is an excellent source of medical terms used in German.

Germany uses the metric system in common with other European nations. This is not usually an issue unless the translation is to or from a system that still uses Imperial units or North American units. It is surprising just how many countries still use non metric units, such as some South American and Caribbean countries that have had U.S. or British influence in the past.

Germany also uses the European system for numbering, using full stops instead of commas as a way of dividing large numbers up. For instance, 1,000,000 when written in English becomes 1.000.000 when used in the German context. Germany also uses a non English “billion”. A German billion is the same as an English 1000 million while the English billion is 1 million million! To be honest, these little yet important differences are not specific to German translation as they are typical of other languages as well, yet the German translator does need to be aware of all these differences in order to provide an accurate translation.