GERMAN TRANSLATION SERVICES

Auerbach International offers German translation services for your various needs.

In a 2019 study, German studies expert Ulrich Ammon even put the total number of people who have learned at least some German at 289 million. With regard to native speakers, German ranks 11th worldwide on the list of most spoken languages. In terms of vocabulary, German has many similarities with Swedish, Norwegian and Danish.

German shares a distant root with English. In fact, English descended from German many centuries ago. (For example, “Das haus ist braun” sounds like the English “The house is brown.”). To best understand the German translation services Auerbach offers, it is necessary to understand the differences and similarities between the two languages and culture to be able to translate accurately.

GERMAN NOUNS

Our German translation services knows English is one of the simplest languages because all nouns have the same articles (“the” and “a/an”), meaning that English nouns are gender-neutral, except for nouns that refer specifically to a living being. (A girl is a “she”, a boy is a “he”, a book is “it”, etc.).

German has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Sometimes, a noun gender directly relates to the gender of the object. Almost always, the gender is arbitrary, which means you need to memorize the words with the genders. For example, “the maiden” in German is neuter (das Mädchen) while an onion is feminine (die Zweibel).

The Auerbach International team understands this and offers their German translation services so the meaning of the documents can be accurately represented.

The German language doesn’t have silent letters. It can be tricky and when translating from German to English, this can be confusing since the English language doesn’t pronounce the e at the end of a word.

German letters also have limited sounds, compared to the English language where most letters have multiple sounds. English and German languages both like the use of compound words, but whereas English often combines multiple words separately (such as “police Oversight Board”), German often uses three to five words together to make one long compound word (“Polizeiaufsichtsbehörde”).

PUNCTUATION IN GERMAN

Another noticeable difference is capitalization. German capitalizes all nouns, without exception. To further complicate this, Germans do not capitalize pronouns.

GERMAN WORD ORDER

The word order of the two languages is different. English has a Subject-Object-Verb word order. German, on the other hand has three-word order features. In an independent clause, the primary verb should be the featured second, meaning the subject and the verb will have to be reversed. In an independent clause, the past participle should come in last. When it’s a dependent clause, the primary verb should be in the last position in the sentence. The two languages share a number of cognates. However, several cognates have very dissimilar meanings.

GERMAN CASES

If you know English, you know that pronouns change depending on their function in a sentence. Take the words “he,” “his” and “him” for example. They are very similar words, but we use them in different situations: “He threw the ball.” “The ball hit him in his face.” We use different words for the same person because in each sentence, the person has a different function (subject, possessive and object).

Let’s extend that idea of nouns being changed based on their function in the sentence and do it for all nouns, let’s also change the article it requires and add endings to adjectives based on the case of the word they describe. This is where German excels. That does sound like a lot, and it is. Cases are among the most difficult aspects to learn for students of the German language. There are four different cases. Nominativ (der Mann), Akkusativ (den Mann), Dativ (dem Mann), and Genitiv (des Mannes), all meaning “the man.” These correspond to a word’s use as a subject, direct object, indirect object and possessive. In English, the noun and the words “the” and “a / an” do not change except for the regular possessive endings ‘s (singular) and s’ (plural).

DIALECTS AND ACCENTS

As in almost every language, German sees an extreme variety in accents, but not only that: German dialects can be so vastly different that some German speakers are unable to understand each other. The Austrian and Swiss variations of German are so different that people from most parts of Germany can’t understand the context. Another interesting fact is that Austrian and Swiss German don’t have official grammar rules. The written official language for all three countries is called Hoch Deutsch or “High German.”

All these factors put multiple challenges before a professional translator and a part of our German translation services at Auerbach International.