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Working in translation brings along funny moments while working. Being bilingual means that you will often take words or phrases quite literally – and therefor they can add a little pinch of fun to your daily work. Let’s look at some German examples, shall we?

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German Translation Services – How to offend a liver sausage

So you wake up in the morning, a new day is dawning and if you had to imagine a scene that calls itself ‘Dawn’ then you would probably imagine a magical sunrise in a thousand different colours, right? Yes, me too. Not so in German. Now, this has only occurred to me quite recently and I was quite shocked as I had never, ever consciously noticed this before: the German word for ‘dawn’ is ‘Morgengrauen’. It translates into ‘Morning-greying’ which describes the black of the night changing into a grey at first, before the sky gets lighter. But hey, there is a catch, of course. ‘Grauen’ can also translate into ‘horror’ and ‘being scared’. So there you have it, from now on your German mornings are filled with horror and dread. Sorry.
But there are other funny phrases, just like every other language has them too. One of the most commonly used phrases to describe somebody who is sulking is to say that he or she is ‘playing the offended liver sausage’ (die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen). And before you ask, no, I have really no idea how this phrase came about, but it is hilarious. Apparently somebody traced this back to the fact that when butchers used to make sausage in the old days: other sausages would be taken from the pot earlier than liver sausage, which had to cook longer. Being angry at this fact, the liver sausage was sulking and literally burst. But who knows?
Staying with food, we are going from sulking to putting your foot in, to get embarrassed. Of course the Germans have their equivalent. There you are not just putting your foot in, but you are ‘putting your foot in the lard pot’ (‘ins Fettnäpfchen treten’), just to make a proper feast of it of course. Yeah!

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But as translators we love languages. Yes. And we notice that while in English people love a lot of things pretty quickly and with their full heart, the Germans classify into different kinds of love and the intensity of it. Yes, practical as they always are, they don’t want to be mistaken in the fact that they love their latest slowcooker recipe as deeply as their husband. Of course. So anything that you like a lot, you would classify as ‘having love for’ (‘lieb haben’). But with your other half, the one you actually truly love deeply, you would say ‘I love you’ to (‘Ich liebe Dich’). Love it.
And this is the end of this little exploration already. But don’t cry, please. Because as the Germans rightfully say: ‘Everything has got an end, only a sausage has two’ (‘Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei’). Yes, think about it.
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For further reading and some funny translations visit this useful website.

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Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant. View all posts by Samantha