German Language Translation Services
An Accent on Accuracy
The highest quality translations, brisk turnaround schedules, competitive rates, and sharing of our knowledge, are all requisites for ALT‘s success. The complete and accurate translation of your company’s communications is vital to your success. That’s why ALT is obsessed with providing the best translators for YOUR project. High-quality translations are the product of a highly talented and experienced translation team with expertise in your industry. ALT puts all the pieces together to make it happen.
Why choose us for English to German or German to English Translation?
Advanced Language Translation’s Professional German translation services utilize only native speakers to ensure quality and precision translations for your target audience. With German in particular, a deep understanding of German culture, as well as the language, is needed for translation to be successful. When doing business in German, professional, human translation is a must. Do not expect to close a business deal or impress your clients with spotty software translation. Only through human translation, edited and customized to your target audience, can your meaning be honestly conveyed and your audience not be offended.
We are proud of our excellent reputation for reliable and high quality German to English and English to German translation services. We have assembled teams of translators from around the world, with an array of skills and specialties and can custom fit the knowledge and strengths of our teams to your specific projects. To demonstrate our commitment to quality and our dedication to our clients, we offer free consultations and provide an industry leading 180-day warranty on translation!
We provide quick and easy custom quotes for your German translation and localization needs.
Need to get the “gist” of German?
Although professional translation is highly recommended for any business, legal or sincere correspondence in German, sometimes it may be ok to use machine translation (via software or the internet) to get the gist of an e-mail or web page. By no means is machine translation an acceptable substitute for professional translation—the technology is not there yet. But it is great for quickly getting the general idea of an article, e-mail, or web site.
Interesting Facts about the German Language
German is one of the leading languages in the world of business and marketing and plays a vital role in the European Union. It is also a one of the most important cultural languages; many important artists and scientists were German native speakers, for example Goethe, Mozart, Beethoven, Freud, Klimt and Einstein.
In Europe, Germany is leading in many scientific fields, such as environmental research. Many scientific articles are published in German; and almost half of all the pharmaceuticals used in the U.S. come from Germany or Switzerland.
There are many words with German origin that are commonly used in American English: kindergarten; pretzel; lager (beer); sauerkraut; hamburger; iceberg (‘Eisberg’), etc. At the same time, many American-English terms and phrases, such as t-shirt, meeting, cool, brunch, have become increasingly popular in German speaking countries as well; advertisements are often designed completely in English, and new English-sounding words are created for the German market, even if they don’t exist in English. For example, in Germany the official word for cell phone is ‘Handy’ – a term that doesn’t exist as a noun in English.
This incorporation and absorption of English terms and concepts into the German language lead to the creation of the term ‘Denglish’ (Deutsch + English).
History of the German Language
German, like English, belongs to the large group of Indo-Germanic languages.
There are a large number of dialects in German. It was not until the middle of the 16th century that a general, standardized version of German emerged from the various dialects thanks to Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into ‘standard’ German. This new standardized language in combination with Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press helped unite German society, linguistically blurring the lines between the lower and upper classes.
While this standardized version of German is still considered ‘official’ German today, German is still very rich in dialects. In most cases, a dialect can tell a careful listener where people are from. Most dialects are very distinctive; in fact, if, for example, a person from Bavaria (in southern Germany) and a person from Mecklenburg (in northern Germany) talked to each other solely in their specific dialects, they would most likely have great difficulties understanding each other.
One of the basic principals in the standardized and current proper German is that all nouns are capitalized to stress the importance of the word as a ‘specific’ person, location, or object.
German: Ich liebe Kaffee.
English: I love coffee.
The three major countries in which German is spoken (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) all have their own version of ‘proper’ German. However, people are able to easily communicate, since the differences are not too great. An exception would be the ‘Schwitzerdütsch’ (known as Swiss German) spoken in Switzerland, which almost sounds like a foreign language even to German and Austrian native speakers.
There are two important forms of modern German: Low German (Plattdeutsch), spoken in the Northern part of Germany, and High German (Hochdeutsch), spoken in the Southern part. The adjectives high and low in this case refer to the geographical locations of the language: while Northern Germany has relatively flat land, LOW-lands, hence Low German, Southern Germany is located HIGH in the mountains, hence High German.
1. Low German (Plattdeutsch): This dialect has more similarities with Dutch or English than with standard German. ‘Plattdeutsch’ is used in the northern regions of Germany, for example in cities like Flensburg, Düsseldorf, and the German capital of Berlin.
Examples of Low German (Plattdeutsch):
|Standard Modern High German:|
|to sit||to make||apple||water||ape|
Dutch: Dat weet ik.
English: I know that.
Low German: Det wet ik.
Modern German: Das weiß ich.
2. High German (Hochdeutsch): The term ‘Hochdeutsch’ comprises both the dialects spoken in the southern regions of Germany, such as Bayern (Bavaria), which often share characteristics with and have similarities to those of Northern Austria, and today’sStandard Modern High German.
Standard Modern High German is the version of German that is spoken, written, and taught throughout the world. Its creation was set off by Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible and it has since been revised by literary marvels, philosophers, leaders, intellectuals, and scholars.
Written German uses a number of special characters in addition to the 26 letters used in the English alphabet.
ä ö ü
Pronounced (in English): ae oe ue
These letters are referred to as Umlauts.
Examples: später (later), möchten (to want), Tür (door)
Pronounced (in English): ss (sharp s-sound)
This letter is referred to as an “eszet” (s-test) or “sharfes S” (a sharp s). The “eszet” is sometimes used in place of a “ss.”
Due to a language reform a few years ago, the ‘ß’ has been replaced with the ‘ss’ in almost all cases. The ‘ß’ is now used mostly to indicate a different meaning in words with otherwise the same spelling and pronunciation (homophones).
German Language Statistics
- German is the most widely spoken native language in the EU.
- Germany boasts a 99% literacy rate.
- German belongs to the three most learned languages in the world as well as the ten most widely spoken languages in the world.
- German is among the top five most widely used languages on the Internet.
- One fourth of the tourists in the U.S. are German speaking.
- Germany is the second most popular European destination for American tourists.
- German is the official language in seven countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, as well as parts of Italy and Belgium).
- German is spoken by over 130 million people world-wide. With 23.3 %, German-Americans represent the largest ethnic group in America today (according to the 1990 Census). Some prominent examples include Albert Einstein, Levi Strauss, Henry Kissinger, and Werner von Braun.
- The German publishing industry ranks #3 in the world.
Translation Issues with German
Advanced Language Translation Inc. has extensive experience with commercial and technical translations from English to German and from German into English. We have also amassed years of experience in typesetting German content. Here are some of the common issues with English to German translation that we have learned :
- German translation typically expands 15 – 25% in size from English (moreso if hyphenation is not addressed), so original document layouts will need to expand as well, to accommodate this additional text.
- Most current applications can accept German text directly, however fonts using non-standard encodings may not correctly display the umlauted characters (ä, ö, ü) and the “sharfes S” (ß)—although this is rare. However, be sure to test this with the fonts in which you want to typeset.
- Even though typesetting of German doesn’t pose any major technical obstacles, hyphenation may be an issue. Be sure your desktop publishing/word processing software has the ability to support German hyphenation dictionaries or consider using left-aligned text without hyphenation.
- Given the many long compound nouns, hyphenation is even more of an issue for documents that use narrow columns to layout the text.
- For projects requiring audio spoken in German, be sure to choose voiceover talent that uses the preferred dialect of your target audience. A heavy Bavarian accent may not be well received by your audience in Berlin. It’s best to choose broadcast-quality talent for most projects.
German Language Vital Information
Speaking Population: 120 Million
Where Spoken: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
Writing Systems: Latin script + ä, ö, ü, ß
28591 ISO 8859–1 Latin 1
1252 ANSI – Latin 1
10000 MAC – Roman
20924 IBM EBCDIC – Latin-1/Open System (1047 + Euro)
1141 IBM EBCDIC – Germany (20273 + Euro)
20106 IA5 German
20273 IBM EBCDIC – Germany
Unicode Supported: Yes
Common Phrases: (phonetic pronunciations in parentheses)
Hello: Hallo (ha-lo)
Good-bye: Auf Wiedersehen (owf veedersehn)
Please: Bitte (bitteh)
Thank you: Danke (donkeh)