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Translational issues

This category contains 96 posts

bestechlich ≠ bestechend

After devoting a lot of time recently to different language learning methods and approaches in the recent posts, I decided to go back to something more specific again today. Look at the German adjectives in the title of this post. They look suspiciously similar, don’t they? Beware, though! Consider following examples: Andreas Rickenbacher findet die […]

Daily deal of the… week?

I’ve already complained a lot before about the way the Germans let the English words pollute their language but I’m still amazed all over again at some really not very well thought of instances of this phenomenon. I constantly come across funny and/or unnecessary translations and weird Germglish mixtures. My favorite recently: der Daily Deal […]

Dust bunnies… mice, cats, dogs!?

Somehow I can’t leave the topic of bunnies (well last week it was a rabbit) behind. Researching a bit on the topic of animal idioms, I came across the term dust bunny and found it quite amusing because it turns out that this word some ‘animal touch’ in many languages. In German for example they […]

Ist alkoholfreies Bier auch jugendfrei?

These two adjectives: alkoholfrei and jugendfrei confuse me a little. alkoholfrei means without alcohol (free of alcohol, alcohol-free) so deducing logically I would think that jugendfrei mean without the young (people), so not allowed for them. It is, however, quite the contrary. jugendfrei means suitable for children and the youth, allowed for them, so in […]

Technology = Technologie?

According to my Duden Calendar (under the Title Trends) it becomes more and more common for Germans to use Technologie as a translation for technology in context where it should be Technik, Methode or Verfahren. Langenscheidt German dictionary explains the term die Technologie as follows: 1. die Lehre, wie naturwissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse in der Produktion genutzt […]


I love German word formation creativity! Urlaubsreif is another example from my log list of words that are somehow German-only i.e. usually cannot be translated into other languages with just one word. Urlaubsreif means in desperate need of a holiday and because I consider myself a person in such a state all the linguistic topics […]

Realisieren oder bemerken?

My flatmate has asked me recently if I knew that the Germans tend to use the verb realisieren in a wrong way as he was told (off) by a friend who’s (allegedly) into language matters. He claimed that in German it only has the meaning of verwirklichen and the Germans also use it to convey […]

Hide & Seek

German is a language famous for its compounds. It’s true that you can combine the words (preferably many, many nouns) until you arrive at something as illegible and incomprehensible as Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän. What I’ve been fascinated by recently are compound words that hide ‘something special’ in them, this week I took words with body parts hidden […]

When did Krieg der Sterne become Star Wars? Part 2

Hope you all had a nice Easter weekend! I did and I even went to the cinema on Saturday to see the new “Alice in Wonderland”. Which brings me back on track to my film titles topic. Well, not Alice herself (this title has been translated neatly) but the cinema. Looking at the titles of […]

When did Krieg der Sterne become Star Wars?

I’ve had this discussion a hundred times before but yesterday we were watching TV with my flatmate and we were getting annoyed by the TV commercials for films. Well, actually not the commercials themselves but the titles of the films or even more precisely their translations into German. Much has been said and written about […]


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