Lost in Translation – Translation and Transcription Services

By | November 22, 2018 Transcription City

An interesting area when you work in translation and transcription services is how languages are connected to each other. How different words for same thing may have the same origins, or the same original word, but then they change over time. Sometimes they stay the same with minor differences, but sometimes they develop into very different things. transcription and translation services

German Translation and Transcription Services

As a translator for English and German, I also have to keep up with ‘Denglisch’, meaning English words that have made it into the German language. You might think it is easy to just memorise the English equivalent to a German word, but unfortunate it is not as easy at all.

First of all there are many English words in the German language that are indeed English words, but well, they aren’t really correct ones. So a German, with limited knowledge of English, may think that he can use the English word when speaking to an English speaker, not realising that the other person has no idea what he is actually talking about. “Can you please phone my Handy?” would leave you bewildered, but the German word for mobile phone is literally ‘Handy’. With a capital letter. And as English is not only coming from across the Channel, but also across the big pond, you will come across English borrowed from both American and British English. That is not always easy either, I really stumble when I see take-away food in Germany being advertised as available “to go”.

But it works the other way too. We have all heard of the cab company ‘Uber’, a much-loved hip word having come from Germany and which is found in many different English contexts. It means simply ‘over’ or ‘above’, but the real problem is that in German it has an umlaut (another German word there!) and is therefore spelled ‘über’. Now you might think those two little dots are really not that important. But they are, because a ‘u’ is a completely separate letter from an ‘ü’ and there is no such word as ‘uber’ in German. And if a German hasn’t got an ‘ü’ on his keyboard to type, then the same word is spelled ‘ueber’. So really, there’s a lot missing in your ‘Uber’ cab.

But these are the finer little things that I come across in my job and it is quite funny at times, when you find even more absurd notions that simply don’t work that way. I will keep you posted! I love providing translation and transcription services.

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